One Day In Napa | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Design

Moving away from the chaotic metropolitan area feels very good, I can already taste the pleasure of wines. Leaving behind the super crowded freeway and slipping down a country road feels even better. Nature starts to feel real and aromatic. The sound of the wine train that takes visitors from one vineyard to another reminds me very much of the local train in Puglia of many years ago with the beautiful round and imposing façade of an old smokey locomotive. The train greets us in the wine valley. Life here starts to appear slower and not marked by time, the only time that really needs to be marked is the harvest of the grapes.

(Click on each photo to view it larger).

Sattui Winery

 

Locomotive wine train

Locomotive wine train

It’s so nice to see long stretches of land planted with vineyards, everything is so lush and bucolic. I start to see the Mediterranean style homes the old Italian emigrants preferred, and old Victorian-style homes built before 1887, wrought iron on doors and gates, wine barrels everywhere as decorative items of stores and vineyards.

The air is sultry, of course, it’s a valley away from the sea breeze. Grapes don’t like winds or an abrupt change of weather, they like it hot and calm.

 

Napa View

Napa Vineyards

 

Middle-class people inhabit the outskirt of the wine valley, they are mostly workers of the vineyards, homes are down to earth and convenience stores serve them. The change in lifestyle is immediately noticeable when approaching the fancy vineyard establishments where people go for wine tasting and shopping for high-class or imported food. Here, days go by tasting wines, eating specialty food, and international variety of cheeses. I think that’s the reason people are so relaxed here. Life is easier when it is not stuck in the same groove.

Sultriness

Mid-Day Sultriness

 

 

Napa Historic Building

 

The views are beautiful, no matter what. St.Helena is very posh, art stores, tourist shops, boutiques, and decorating shops cater to sophisticated people. Prices and originality are very high, I love to discover them all, at least I get my eyes filled with creativity.
This Italian original wine press is from around the 1700s, I would love to have it for my garden, next to my Bacchus’s face hanging on the wall.

ItalianWinePress

ItalianWinePress

Home décor stores appeal to me more than anything else. In this store, the atmosphere is dark and minimalist. It displays home items generally a family with kids will not choose to have. The furniture here is theatrical and very playful.

 

Store Display

What do you do with a metal mannequin dressed in a cotton funky dress or with a rusted bucket and a thick rope spilling out? Nothing, they are nice details that make you wonder. The stone wall behind the bucket gives that natural character, in fact, stones, and metal are two elements found in nature. Between the 1950s-70s a lot of homes had stone interior walls as an accent, then builders got away from using stones and started to build homes without characters, resembling more like shoe boxes.

 

Ropes-Rusty-Vessel

This table is set for people who like to converse on intelligent topics, while they are sipping a lot of wine and eating small morsels of food, that’s the way I imagine it. It’s dark, minimalist, metal plates, golden tone flatware, glass top table, tall back wicker chairs, but I don’t think a lot of eating is happening here. This décor is suited for single people, high rollers, definitely not for a family with kids.

Table-Setting

Table-Setting

I love this swivel chair, it feels like a seed pod.

 

Flag Swivel Chair

Flag Swivel Chair

I was intrigued by these bergère chairs, they feel very baroque in style, except the legs are too short and the backs too high. They have been revisited in a modern key.

 

NapaStore

Napa Store

What I am trying to prove with this post is that an interior décor style must fit your lifestyle, otherwise, as beautiful or posh it might be, you will never feel comfortable in it. I will be happy to help you find your style. Ciao,
Valentina
http://www.valentinadesigns.com

 

Copyright © 2020 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

 

Valentina

Valentina Cirasola transforms and creates spaces realizing people’s dreams in homes, offices, interiors, and exteriors. She infuses your everyday living with a certain luxury without taking away a comfortable living. Valentina is well-known for bringing originality on any project and for thinking outside the box. Her interiors are not made with cookie cutters, they only follow the client’s inspiration, lifestyle, and personality. She offers online design consultations through Skype or Zoom and the traditional in-house consultations, helping people with their design challenge anywhere in the world.  She is the author of five books.

Amazon – Barnes&Noble

 

 

 

 

 

You Are the Glass | Valentina Cirasola | Designer and Author

“A pile of sand made you, strong but fragile, soft and malleable, sharp and smooth. You melt under the delicate touch of the forger. You face fire with courage as if nothing happens in that hot furnace, but something does happen. You become sensual, your curves are more sinuous than a curvy woman, you take on brilliant colors for the pleasure of your admirers’ eyes and you come out shaped into a masterpiece. We want to possess you. We want to caress and feel you, we want to shelter your fragility, we want your shapes to embellish our life. You are the GLASS”.

I wrote this thought one day at a client’s house. I was putting the final touches together, beautiful accessories, scented natural candles, shimmering crystals, skillfully decorated ceramic plates by French and Italian artists, colorful lamps and the glass peppers on the kitchen island. I fell in love with them. They looked juicy and appetizing in their glass form just as much as they do in real life. They vibrate healthy energy. It took a bit of an effort with this particular client to show her that colors exude positive energy and she needed so badly in her all-beige home. Now she is totally into colors and even when she gets dressed, she asks herself if Valentina would love the colors she is selecting. If the answer in her mind is NO, she will not put it on. I must have converted another person to colors.

Glass Red Pepper

Glass Red Pepper

As an Italian, I grew up appreciating the beauty of Murano glass. The art of Murano is unparallel, colorful, transparent like tissue paper, delicate and precious. It always fascinated me how a pile of sand can be transformed into something so mesmerizing. One moment seems the glass lays there lifeless and as soon as the light goes through, it picks up a totally different dimension, inside the glass every little nuance comes alive.

I was at an art and wine fair this weekend and I fell in love with tall glass flowers, glass teapots, and glass sculptures, I would have brought home everything I saw.

 

Giant Glass Flowers

Giant Glass Flowers

 

Glass Teapots

Glass Teapots

 

Glass Sculpture

Glass Sculpture

Picture one of these colorful pieces in each room of modern sleek décor, one of those style with very straight lines, black and grey color combination and very minimalist. Do you see it? One of these art pieces will add color and character to minimalist room décor.

So many artists, so many ideas, so many choices. Going to fairs and art shows is one of the many ways I help clients. I find items they might overlook, or have no access to it.
I hope one of these glass artists will want to appear on one of my TV shows, the invitation has been extended. Ciao,
Valentina
http://www.valentinadesigns.com 

Copyright © 2019 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

Valentina with short hairValentina Cirasola transforms and creates spaces realizing people’s dreams in homes, offices, interiors, and exteriors. She infuses your everyday living with a certain luxury without taking away a comfortable living. Valentina is well-known for bringing originality on any project and for thinking outside the box. Her interiors are not made with cookie cutters, only follow client’s inspiration, lifestyle, and personality. She offers online design consultations through Skype or Zoom, as well as the traditional in-house consultations, helping people with their design challenge anywhere in the world.  She is the author of five books. The two latest published books are ©The Road To Top Of The World – Amazon – https://tinyurl.com/y7tuyfh8 
and ©Naked Lemons – Amazon – https://amzn.to/33bVRyQ
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w

 

Horsefeathers | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

In Europe, I was used to leaving the house, stroll the streets filled with many shops of a different kind, sit at a cafe or do window licking if I didn’t have anything to buy. Go out to walk at leisure, it’s the way of life in Europe. Shopping over there happens when people really need things, discounts come at the end of seasons, not every day, thus window shopping is a pastime. I love the feel and relationship I could create with small shoppe’s owners. However, due to the massive online buying convenience, even the structure of European streets is slowly changing and small stores are capitulating to online giant merchant corporations. A few days ago, in a networking event, I was telling a group of business women that the life of a designer doesn’t stop at 5:00 pm. Designers are in the constant “mode of searching” for clients. Sometimes, not all the accessories and artwork are in place when we finish a major remodeling or decorating. Choosing artwork is a very personal thing, is like choosing perfumes. Usually, at the end of a project, clients want to take care of their artwork selection, but if something is left open, we will keep an eye open for those details left to complete.

I just remembered this episode. I was walking in a small American town, doing window shopping and spending the afternoon of leisure with myself. Horsefeathers, I exclaimed! I spotted a huge wooden horse through the store window display selling Italian ceramics. The horse was placed in a dining area as a suggestion, I couldn’t help noticing it. It would have been perfect for the dining room in a client’s home. She liked horses and was looking for a gigantic one for her dining room, a type of playful horse, very whimsical, an icebreaker and a conversational piece. Why putting a horse in a dining room? Why not? The store must have read my mind. I took a picture, sent it to the client, told her the price and voila’ she got her horse.

(Click on the photo to view it larger)

This is just to say feel free to have an ordinary house, it’s your space, but if you want to have an extravagant, unusual and tasteful décor, the sky is the limit and nothing stops you from showing some personality, or whimsy. Ciao,
Valentina
http://www.valentinadesigns.com

Copyright © 2018 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

It’s my hope that through my writing and my stories I am enriching your aesthetic sensibility towards design, style and inspiring you to live in beauty. I love to encourage my clients to show their personality through their home décor, or the clothes they wear. I have loved my profession as an interior-fashion designer since 1990. I am here ready to offer consultations on-line if you need. Check out my book on the subject of colors ©RED-A Voyage Into Colors, or my latest travel narrative: ©The Road To Top Of The World. 
Amazon: http://goo.gl/qNxXrB
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w

 

Curve | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

“If it doesn’t exist in the market, I will design and build it”. It has been my mantra and my way to resolve the challenge of filling up spaces with container furniture that are functional and beautiful as well. I will add some pleasant curves to increase the beauty. Built-ins today are very straight and boxy with a lot of opens shelves. If you ask me, I will tell you they are unattractive and whenever possible I will suggest to build your own. If you do have that opportunity, make it a masterpiece.
(Click on each photo to view it larger).

 

The inspiration for this curvy built-in media unit came from the conversation between my clients, a young couple in their 30s, a couple who is into DIY. The room was an addition to the house, an empty box waiting to be beautified.

Material Board
While I was designing the interior of this family room, I was designing also the landscape outside the window. The wife’s desire was to have an old world European room, with an antique flooring, droopy window treatment with a rich puddle and a faux finish on the wall. They had a very traditional taste, nothing I could not handle. I brought a Renaissance pattern to a tile maker and he reproduced it beautifully on the tiles that now surround the fireplace.

PomeleSapele

 

While all the workers looked busy bees, I was searching for the right furniture-accessories and overseeing all the workers. I love when everybody is working in unison and I hear the painter singing at the walls creating his faux finish (painters usually sing while they paint), tile setter creating the floor pattern, the fireplace was in construction mode and the man of the house followed my design to the teeth to produce the built-in with curves. That wood is Pommele Sapele, not extinct, only a precious species. It makes waves and ripples of water pattern, very pretty to look at. Three months later everyone reached the goal and the room came alive.

PomeleSapeleCurve
Curtains were the only thing not done. With the curvy landscape wrapping around the front of the house and framing the family room window so well, there was no need for the curtains anymore. Let the nature in. Ciao, Valentina
http://www.valentinadesigns.com

Copyright © 2016 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

ValHatCelesteStampAs a designer in business since 1990, I am interested in helping people designing their interior and exterior spaces with an overall feeling of peace, relaxation and harmony that will draw them home eagerly. I am always looking to add that special touch with original findings to the spaces I design. Featured on Vogue Italia magazine, Gentry and many prominent magazines in California, appeared on RAI, National Italian T.V., my stories continues. Find copies of my three books on
Amazon: http://goo.gl/xUZfk0
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w

Detox Yourself and Your Home After Holidays | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

My holiday decorations are gone, everything went to sleep until next Christmas. Do you feel as if your home has lost its spark? All the shimmering lights are turned off, colorful decorations are gone, the glitters are not shining and everything looks opaque. Well it’s January, in most parts of the world is cold and white, why not enjoy the cold season and cooler colors of this month?

Unknown
(photo: https://holawallpaper.com/wallpaper/hot-chocolate-17186-17186.html)

Let’s start with a cup of hot cocoa in our hands. Ideas come easier with something brown, silky and sweet. We need to fill that space where the Christmas tree was. I suggest a lamp in that corner, something we can borrow from other rooms for the time being, or a rope light disguised into a pot, a glass vase or behind furniture.

 

Let’s play with all white color range. Between the cream colors, light beige, warm whites, antique whites and crystals accessories we can edit some rooms with real winter style to make it warm and cozy. Take out the fuzzy throw blanket and the ecologic fur pillows to feel in the mood for a crackling fireplace and a good book for companion.
To balance the white colors bring in some fragrant and colorful plants such as white paper lilies, a bright red Amaryllis, hyacinth, or a winter star plant. It will be like calling spring to hurry to show up.

Clean the interior of kitchen cupboards, get rid of some chipped dishes and bring to the front some glasses or dishes you haven’t use in a while. Add a sachet of dry rosemary, sage, thyme, and orange peel to give your cupboard a fresh smell. Clean the interior of bathroom cabinets and get rid of expired cosmetics, dust off clothes, shoes, and handbags, they also need a renewed energy after the holidays. You want to make everything sparkling again the natural way.

How about you, your person, how will you detox from the holidays?

I started with staying a couple of weeks away from the computer electromagnetism.
I got rid of all the sweets leftovers from the holidays, except chocolate, I need that. It seems as if I am ungrateful and throwing food away, but no, I am saving my body and being good to myself. The leftover good food is already in the freezer.
I am eating a lot of fruit, vegetables, high fiber food, drinking a lot more water and reduced my food portions. Exercising at least 30 minutes a day should help my detox and this is all, nothing strenuous, nothing difficult, everything doable I can do for many months.

I don’t particularly like winter, however, I celebrate it just the same with the things, food, and activities that make these few cold months so worth waiting for the spring. Ciao,

Valentina
http://www.valentinadesigns.com

 

Copyright © 2015 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

 

Val Admiring World As a designer in business since 1990, I am interested in helping people designing their interior and exterior spaces with an overall feeling of peace, relaxation and harmony that will draw them home eagerly. Find copies of my three books on
Amazon: http://goo.gl/xUZfk0
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w

Home Couture | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

CouturedHome

(Find all these pieces at Joss and Main)

Does it make you feel like a million dollar when you can come home to a stylish place, clean, uncluttered and coutured to your need? I think it does.

Decide the type of person you are: traditional, modern, eclectic, country, the list could be very long.

This will give you the idea of the furniture to buy, or to take from different rooms. Rotating furniture pieces from one room to another will change the energy around the house, just like rotating the tires of the car will not wear them on one side only.

Select the colors to reflect your spirit and consider the light exposure. Color contrast sharpens everything and puts in focus one piece at a time. If a few pieces of furniture are superb in style and character, all pieces will go automatically together and give the room harmony of form and coordination. Don’t be afraid to be imaginative! Ciao,
Valentina
http://www.valentinadesigns.com

Copyright © 2014 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved
Val:FarfalleStampAs a designer in business since 1990, I am interested in helping people designing their interior and exterior spaces to add that feeling of peace and relaxation everywhere. Find copies of my three books on
Amazon: http://goo.gl/xUZfk0
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w

 

Décor and Comfort | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

http://myatozchallenge.com/2012/02/20/welcome-to-my-a-to-z-challenge-2/Welcome to my personal A to Z Challenge on the subject of Home. The goal, in a year time, is to elaborate and dissect topics regarding the Home not as containers of stuff, but as a cocoon for the soul, mind, and heart.
I will touch on decorations, style, trends, history of home and sometimes technical information.

**********

One of the fundamental human needs that must be satisfied is feeling good at home. History gave us plenty of examples of how people found domestic well-being through comfortable, multifunctional furniture and decorations, but comfort and décor are not the same things. Décor is the result of what fashion dictates from one year to another or from decade to decade. We are still using Queen Ann style chairs with cabriolet legs because this style chair falls into the classic style, but when fashion dictated to leave the straight legs behind for the curvy and more feminine chairs, it was a fashion fad that was well received and though to last for only a few years, in reality, it has lasted more than a century.

A smoking room is no longer in fashion because it’s not a good custom to smoke in people’s face or fill the rooms with smoke smell, therefore there are no smoking rooms in today’s homes. The same is for library rooms, people still read today but they read on-line and mostly with reading devices, thus there is no more need to keep shelves full of books, or design a reading room around books, magical lights, and comfortable seats. I really miss designing library rooms!
Smoking room and library rooms represented the comfort of behavior in a particular era, the content of these rooms, colors, and style of a décor followed the fashion of the time.

In architecture or in-home décor, often we see the return of a style that we call revival, such as Tudor revival, Neo Classic revival or Gothic revival, just to name a few. Revival style is pretentious and artificial. It is only limited to the style of architectural details or the style of furniture. It has nothing to do with the behavior that characterized those historic periods. Every era has seen modern improvement in domesticity comfort with the technology available at any given moment.
We went from candlelight to electric light, from sleeping the entire family in one room with no privacy and often sleeping in one large bed, to kids’ rooms and parents’ rooms each with its own bathroom. Once the comfort of a home has been improved with modern technologies it is no possible to go back in time to sit on hard chairs without padding, washing clothes by hand or sleeping all in one room.

The reason for reviving a style perhaps is the lack of traditions and the desire to experience a nostalgic time. I like the Belle Époque style, but I would not like to live in that time when women swept the streets with their long dresses and horse & carriage was the only transportation for those who could afford it, the rest of the people went on foot. We cannot copy the past and transfer it to our life of today, we can only appreciate it by surrounding ourselves with a few traditional ornaments as an acceptable alternative.

Domestic comfort is found in the feeling of privacy, intimacy, an atmosphere of coziness and accommodating furniture. What we have adopted from the past is the concept of privacy when rooms were small, appropriately sized windows, built-in-furniture, and natural material. In early 1900 with the advent of industrialization, the incorporation of home appliances and modern devices made life more convenient without sacrificing a beautiful décor. This practice goes on today with more advanced sophisticated electronics hidden in strategic places. Most homes of today don’t look industrialized at all and we feel very comfortable using a remote control to lower curtains, turn lights off and get the movie started all with one click.

However, the comfort and coziness of a home don’t come from today’s fashion of making oversize spaces, open floor plans, and super high ceilings. The human soul gets lost in these impersonal spaces. To coordinate all the activities of a family to work in harmony in large spaces is a real challenge and it takes a lot more energy to keep large spaces warm. Kitchen and bath counters should be made in different heights to accommodate the average height of people living in the house and laundry machines should not be placed in the bathroom.
Cooking is intense and tiring work, kitchens should have a minimal walking space between the stove and the rest of the appliances with comfortable flooring.
Bathrooms are rooms for relaxation through experiencing a soothing bath with music, suffused lights, scents, and books without seen dirty clothes and clutter in plain view. Undressing room, once called boudoir serves the purpose of taking off clothes, eliminating the need for a large bathroom floor plan and while one person is bathing, the other person can do small ablutions in the undressing room without waiting.
These are some examples that will provide personal comfort.

Comfort is a very subjective thought. It really involves human physiology and how we perceive our comfort. Ergonomic chairs, versus artistic chairs, bright light versus ambient light, natural material versus man-made inexpensive and easy to care material, oversize furniture versus human-size furniture, the list can go on forever. Comfort doesn’t mean the same thing for all the people. Once we have abolished the feeling of discomfort, then we have achieved Comfort and only a person who knows his/her needs will know how to produce real comfort, not following the style of today that dictates to decorate our home in a certain way.

Should you need a technical eye to pull together a comfortable décor, I am here to help. Ciao.
Valentina
http://www.valentinadesigns.com

Copyright © 2013 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

ValentinaBlueStampValentina Cirasola is a trained Italian Interior Designer in business since 1990. Being Italian born and raised, Classicism, stylish and timeless designs have influenced Valentina’s design work. 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. Author of three books, all available on
Amazon: http://goo.gl/xUZfk0
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w

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