In The Napa Style | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

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Napa17(Michael Kayne Design)

Ah, Napa Valley! The valley of Californian wines and the place where Bacchus is celebrated every day and every moment of the day is a good time to sip a glass of wine.

Napa is all about a lifestyle made of nature, naturally grown food, relaxation, spa treatments, exercise and living a healthy life with the vice of wines.
This is not a place for a crazy nightlife, late night dinners and dancing until the small hours of the day. It is about a simpler, earthy life, growing food, producing wines, making home-style bread, farming bees for honey and enjoy bucolic scenes.

However, there is nothing simple about the homes of this wine country. Homes in the valley might be modest and unpretentious, but driving up Napa Valley hills and getting lost among the tall vegetation and lush terrace vineyards, one can see fantastic villas, some of them revolving around the entire hill-top. These large homes, large almost as small castles are intended for entertaining large parties, dinner events and musical gathering.

One of the people in my circle, hosted an Opera Night for sixty people sitting around bistro tables, all gathered in the Italianate courtyard. This place will be featured in the filming of the T.V. show I am hosting entitled Dreaming California, which will air in Italy towards the end of the 2011. I selected it because it projects that feeling of the Italian courtyard life of my past, so very familiar to me. Growing up in the South of Italy, I spent my childhood playing in so many courts and courtyards of my family and friends while the adults canned food for the winter, or made wines. And the memory is sweet!

Let’s leave for a moment the huge homes of the high-profile people of Napa Valley.

Anyone can reproduce this earthy style with a few refined accents and with not much effort. Second hand stores are a wealth of inspiration and often old findings are real treasure. One thing to keep in mind is nature, which must be present in every space, then natural items from wood species to leather, from fabrics to glass and metals. Old and distressed fit the rusticity of the area. New furniture must look muted and not shiny.


Comfortable but massive seating is a must, possibly covered with the most natural eco-friendly fibers and directed towards the views to add to the comfort. Remember the rustic tables with straw seat chairs? Probably your grandmother had them all her life. They sit so well in any space, not just in the kitchen and if you want to substitute the straw chairs for long benches is even better to get that old farmhouse look.

Vintage wines or farming objects should be appearing every so often in the décor. Keep it rustic. Use recycled and salvaged items when possible, floor, windows and doors are easy to find at architectural salvage yard.

Stack the butler pantry with rustic dishes and drinking vessels. Add all the natural flavors of olive oils, vinegar, a variety of olives, sauces to spread over bruschetta like eggplant caponata and peperonata, natural salts, dry good like truffles and porcini, all the nuts, honey, marmalade and you will feel motivate to cook like a real gourmet chef.

Keep the cooking area modern enough with all the convenient amenities of the modern life, but the perception of the kitchen should be seasoned, reminiscent of simple time gone by.

(All Photos courtesy of Napa Style store)

A home decorated in the Napa style doesn’t have to be nested atop a narrow ridge and surrounded by its own lush vineyards. It is just as easy to reproduce it anywhere with patios, courtyards and verandahs decorated with the right elements for relaxation, as well as plants and flowers to enjoy the aromas of nature. Wine is the one and only element that should never be missed.

A man who was fond of wine was offered some grapes and dessert after dinner. ‘Much obliged,’ said he, pushing the dish away from him, ‘but I am not in the habit of taking my wine in pills.’ Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, French gastronome, (1755-1826), “The Physiology of Taste”.
I read this book so many times around. It should be part of a Napa style kitchen.

I am here to help you with any challenges you might have with your décor, or to advice you in the making of a particular style. Ciao,
Valentina

http://www.valentinadesigns.com

 

Copyright © 2011 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

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Valentina Cirasola is a trained Italian Interior Designer in business since 1990. Being Italian born and raised, Valentina’s design work has been influenced by Classicism and stylish, timeless designs. She will create your everyday living with a certain luxury without taking away your comfort. She loves to restore old homes, historic dwellings and she focuses on remodeling. She is the author of three books available on
Amazon: http://goo.gl/xUZfk0
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w

 

Floors To Trample and Knocks You Out With Warmth | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

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What do you think of the hardwood floor that looks like a chopping block? Do you like to see short wood planks in light and dark coloration laid-out in the chopping block fashion? I don’t. There is nothing elegant about it. The look of a kitchen should stay on the kitchen counter.
A few days ago, I was looking at an Italian fashion magazine, but I could not help noticing more the hardwood floor than the clothing. Yes, the clothing were attractive, but the floor they were casually thrown on was sexy, warm, inviting, onto which the fashion clothing seemed even more interesting in their casual lack of concern. The picture to me spoke about the hardwood floor, as if the wearer had trusted the beautiful hardwood floor to take a gentle care of her precious jewelry and the fancy garment.

Italian floors have been the most remarkable floors in history. Italian people like to trample on beauty because what is under their feet is as important as what they wear on their feet. Floors in Italian homes can be very decorated, or have an understated elegance, both ways will affect and determine the ambiance of a home. It is a common practice to blend and mix various wood species to create attractive pattern designs, which at times do not follow any direction and at times will take the eye in a state of ecstatic admiration.

Hardwood floor focus on the emotion it evokes and the dreams that surrounds the wood itself. Designed hardwood floors are for sitting on, for rolling while playing and to allow us to be enveloped by its natural warmth. Cushions, crackling fireplace, a glass of wine, scented candles, a good company with an elegant music and I have just created a relaxed glamour right on the hardwood floor.

Another common practice is to design a floor with marble or tiles inserted in the hardwood as accents, but the classic and long-lived solution remains the mixture of intricate designs of stones communicating beautifully with each other, both in contemporary and classic forms. Mosaics made of various stones and wood inlays are not only for churches and museums, but they are vastly appreciated in most homes in Italy.

Travertine and tumble marble cover the floor of my house in Italy. Although these are kind of warm stones, in super hot days this type of stones can provide an instant pleasurable refreshment and I love to roll on the floor. As a kid I loved to go down the stone stairs not with my feet walking down, but with my butt sitting and feeling the steps one by one until I reached the floor. I was a little rascal and…. still I am in so many ways.

The floor setters in Italy are artists of their own kind. Being exposed for centuries to beautiful floors they are a delight to work with, they are original and knowledgeable and they are the best people to ask for suggestions when clients have no idea of how to compose a floor. As a designer, I like to guide them around my design concept when I compose certain hard surfaces, but their expertise is of a superior quality that not much guidance is needed once the designs is laid out on paper.

(Floor left: Romeo Cuomo)

To create a composition of marble with various stones to me is a divertissement.
Any area of a home can do without area rugs and be defined with a stone design instead, as in photo. It will save on rug cleaning expenses and the room will be more hygienically breathable. Stones only need water and mild soap and they will be dressed again.

Find this beautiful hand painted tiles flooring shown here at Officina Ceramica in Italy: http://www.officinaceramica.com

Whether you are thinking of hardwood floor, or stone floor and whether it will be installed in a home on the Amalfi Coast, Côte d’Azur, California, or any urban flat in the world, I will suggest to employ any material intelligently, create the beauty even under your feet. Beauty and luxury have a vital role to play in the most intimate and important moment of a person’s life.
Originally designed hard surfaces will endure the test of time, will add value to your home and above all will continue your dream and legacy, as we still dream today when visiting historic homes and buildings around the world.

If you are ready to step onto dreamy flooring and if you ready to invest into long-term beauty, I am here to help you. Should anything like this strike your fancy, I would like to be the designer to provide you with these special solutions ready and available to me. Ciao,
Valentina

http://www.valentinadesigns.com

Copyright © 2010 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

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Valentina Cirasola has been in business as a designer since 1990. She has helped a variegated group of fun people realizing their dreams with homes, offices, interiors and exteriors. She is a designer well-known to bring originality to people’s homes. As an Italian designer and true to her origins, she provides only the best workmanship and design solutions. Check out her books on
Amazon: http://goo.gl/xUZfk0
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w


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