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. 
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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
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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.
http://myatozchallenge.com/?s=Valentina+Cirasola+
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One of the fundamental human needs that must be satisfied is feeling good at home. History gave us plenty examples of how people found domestic well-being through comfortable, multifunctional furniture and decorations, but comfort and décor are not the same thing. 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 chairs falls into the classic style, but when fashion dictated to leave the straight legs behind for the curvy and more feminine chairs, was a fashion fad that was well received and lasted more than third years.

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 to design library rooms!
Smoking room and library rooms represented the comfort of a 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 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 hands 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 feeling of privacy, intimacy, 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 homes 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 doesn’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 take 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 an intense and tiring work, kitchens should have a minimal walking space between the stove and the rest of appliances with comfortable flooring.
Bathrooms are rooms for relaxation through experiencing a soothing bath with music, suffuse 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 of 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

Tempus Fugit | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

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(Ballard Designs photos)

Tempus fugit is a Latin expression first recorded by Roman poet Virgil. The translation from Latin says:
“Time flees irretrievably, while we wander around, prisoners of our love of detail”.

Tempus fugit inscription was first seen on a sundial, today is found often on clocks. Up until the Babylonian invented the sundial, later perfected by the Greeks, people measured time with the raising and fall of the sun; with the change of weather they could tell what season they were in.

The need to have a device that would measure time rose in the Middle Age, around the 1300s when people’s life started to revolve around the concept “time is money” and if they could measure time they would know in a precise way how to dedicate the best time of the day to a productive work, when to stop for eating, when to return to work and when the day was over. Before the advent of clocks these tasks were measured by feelings, if they felt hungry they ate and if they felt tired they stopped.

The first clocks, mostly made of iron and very heavy in weight ended up on church towers to mark the church functions, the monks’ performances at different hours and to call in the faithful to take part of the religious life. The mechanical clocks came about three centuries later along with the pendulum and grandfather clocks, which we still enjoy in home décor today.

Many European countries invented each their own style of clocks, some were incased in beautiful wood species, furniture, or metal, some hung on the wall, some were made as table clock or fireplace mantel clock, some were lantern clocks surmounted over a large bell and some were even portable. One example of a portable clock, the musk-ball watch, struck me in particular. It had the shape of a ball with many holes pierced to let out the scent of herbs contained inside. The belief was that carrying herbs on the body would fight infection and certainly some stench, I agree with the latter, but why attach it to women’s girdle and not on top of the dress? It would have been easier to hear and see the time when the musk-ball watch would strike the hour with a sound. Curious, spicy episodes fill history and I am curious to learn them all.

Going back to Tempus Fugit, our perception tells us time flies, but time is space doesn’t exist. Often people waste time with nothing in particular, importance or urgency at any given moment. We know that time wasted is not recyclable and we feel guilt when we do waste it. However, I think that to allow some “nothing” time it is beneficial for our well-being and mind health, but only if we know how to balance nothing time with working time and achievements of the day.

I read this fascinating article on “What is Time?” http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2010/02/what-is-time/
Physicist Sean Carroll in explaining his theory of what time is, talks about the idea of entropy, a measure of how disorderly things are in the Universe, which started 13.7 billion years ago in a state of a perfect order, in a very low entropy and now looks like a giant mess in a high state of entropy.
We record time by recording the past, that’s our memory of time, today is still in the making, thus time really doesn’t matter yet and tomorrow doesn’t exist.
As Deepak Chopra says: “Today is a gift that’s why is called Present”.

We cannot trap time even if we try to measure it with clocks that can only mark the passing of our days and our activities. We can only follow time and be happy to live it, hopefully in full.

If we ought to decorate with clocks, how would we use them? In my house I have clocks everywhere, not because I am worried about time passing, but because I like to collect them. Each marks a different time, that’s my way of fooling time, or fooling myself, either way works for me.

A large clock in a small entry will definitively make a statement; a clock in a studio room will remind you to get up from the desk every seventy-five minutes and do office stretches; a mud room space with a clock will send a message that it is time to neatly tidy it up; a bedroom with clocks hanging from the ceiling speaks playtime, but what I really like is to fill up a wall with all bunch of clocks without any rule, in a high entropy just like the state of the Universe today. This would be a composition of clocks that doesn’t really tell time, but it reminds you it is time to be playful and to keep up with what matters the most in life.

I thought you might enjoy the Clocks by Coldplay: http://youtu.be/XbI1FpLd4Vk

As the professional who is always ready, I shall be prompt and ready to help you with any of your holiday needs, whether it will decorating, designing, or remodeling. Let me know by leaving your name down below, in which area you would like me to help you. Ciao,
Valentina
www.Valentinadesigns.com

Copyright © 2011 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

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Valentina Cirasola, is the principal designer and owner of Valentina Interiors & Designs. She is a trained designer and has been in business since 1990. She works on consultation and produces design concepts for remodeling, upgrading, new homes, décor restyling and home fashion. “Vogue Italy” magazine and many prominent publications in California featured Valentina’s work.  She also has made four appearances on T.V. Comcast Channel 15.

She is the author of three books available on

Amazon: http://goo.gl/xUZfk0
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w

 

 

Elegance | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

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In a world of an exulted cult of the appearances, people tend to live in vanity, exaggerations and in the desire to impress others at all costs. Often people’s aim is to overdo and to over say, not only in fashion but in every expression of life.

Elegance is not showy. Elegance is style, awareness, and moderation.
Elegance is a balanced mix of good taste and precise choices. It translates in the right search for substance and attention to details. Elegance is sober and sobriety is elegant. Both are pleasing and comfortable, functional and beautiful.
Sobriety is not a sacrifice. I would describe it as the ability to choose only what is needed, especially when it comes to fashion as an interpretation of self, other than home fashion.

Some people think elegance is a gift and others think it is an innate talent. It could be somewhat true. There are people who know how to express and communicate with their look better than others. On the other hand, nobody is condemned to be vulgar, bulky and annoying, or just trust his/her own instinct. Elegance, sobriety, and simplicity are all things we can learn and cultivate and once we learn them, they can simplify our lives.

Einstein said: “To be simple, is to be brilliant” e someone else said: “Simplicity is the key of elegance”. Totally agree, in fact, I am the queen of simplicity.

Style and elegance are not easy to define. Style refers to forms, appearances, and character. Everyone has a style that can be beautiful or not pleasing at all, according to what our eyes project.
Let’s talk about home style, just to take an example. Baroque style is an elegant style, but ancient and not practical for the times we live in. If we mix Baroque style in the simplicity of contemporary furnishing, it can result in a dynamic décor and it will describe a person with a variegated and polyhedral character. But not everybody can make combinations of this sort, well thought out that looks good too.
(Photo Baroque chair below: http://foter.com/explore/baroque-living-room-furniture)

 

(Photo Piano Rug belongs to Amazed)

 

 

Elegance never goes out of style, that is if we don’t follow trends to the letter.
Another example can be the European fascination with the color black as a screaming trend in kitchen design. Come on! How would you like to eat tasty mussels (black shells) in a pasta specialty served on black plates, with a black drinking glass set, surrounded by black kitchen cabinetry?

As a designer, my goal is to accentuate the personality of the people living in the house I am contracted to design, making sure their spaces serve their needs and have an originality too. My spaces are not made with a cookie cutter. My spaces are timeless, they cannot be recognized as made in 2008 or 1998 and yet I am a person very much projected in the future, but I don’t feel I must follow trends dictated by any industry.
I take only the best part of the trends, the rest I invent it myself and that is “my trend”.

How can you, in a few simple words, explain this concept? Any home can be simply elegant and stylish, I am here just for that. My help is simply available to style your home in a livable elegance.
Please forward this article to someone you think might be interested in reading it, or in receiving the same tips. Comments are welcomed. Thank you.
Valentina

http://www.valentinadesigns.com

 

As seen on Affluent Living:

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Copyright © 2010 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

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Valentina Cirasola is an Italian Interior Designer since 1990 and a former Fashion Designer, working in the USA and Europe. She blends well fashion and interior in any of her design work. She loves to remodel homes and loves to turn unattractive spaces into castles. Fashion designing has been the first career choice that made her happy in her own fashion company for fifteen years before settling in the interior designing business. Find her books on
Amazon: http://goo.gl/xUZfk0
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w

 

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