Atrium Delight | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer



Lately I have gone back in history to find inspiration for home designs with a different feel and character, homes with pleasant lay-out flowing harmoniously from room to room, homes filled with natural light and homes where nature decorates the interiors just by itself. Modern shoebox homes don’t provide that inspiration anymore. In the market I see only houses with ceilings so high that even the soul can’t find a resting place and it escapes the body, or I find homes with rooms without any creative detail. (Click on each photo to view it larger).

Sometimes ago, I went to meet a new client in a new built home. She was so tiny, skinny, short and young, when she opened the large six feet doors I mistook her for one of her daughters. The ceiling was 20 feet high, she even admitted to have a feeling of cold emptiness when she was in the house. She purchased large furniture to fit the scale of her high ceilings, but she felt lost in them and I noticed her feet dangled when she sat in the sofa. The house was a huge shoebox built on a small lot and no yard. Is that a good living sticking people between four walls and not a stitch of garden or outdoor space?


House _Of_Golden_Cupid

In Italy I grew up in a round building, one storey high with a terrace up above where women hang their laundry, dried tomatoes for the winter on large wood planks and kids played together. The building had a central atrium, a common area to everybody, open to the sky. It was a playground for the adults, it felt just like an outdoor space but it was really enclosed between walls secured by a large iron door. The adults gathered in the atrium to play cards, to shoot the breeze, to enjoy a drink or two, sharing food together, or in case of needs someone was always ready to help.
Balconies on the first floor led to each apartment and overlooked into the atrium.

In Europe people live in building apartments. It is still very common to find buildings with an interior atrium closed with a door to the exterior. Life around the atrium becomes a public one, puts everyone in close proximity, basically we know everybody’s business.

Even in America at one point atriums were popular in buildings with apartments. In fact, in the 1954 Alfred Hitchcock’s film Rear Window with Grace Kelly and James Stewart we see how the life of people living there evolved around an atrium. In a single family home an atrium is a private affair. Basically the backyard shifts to the front of the entry and it becomes the playground for kids and adults, a BBQ and entertainment area. The exterior door to the street protects and encloses people between walls.



(Roman Homes photo source: Pompei – Past and Present – Guide to Reconstructions)

Patrician Romans built their homes in this fashion. In my picture the House Of The Faun (above), bedrooms opened up to the atrium, as well as dining areas for summer and winter. The layout of the house ran around the atrium. They situated bedrooms under a portico of Ionic columns, from where people and guests enjoyed the white noise of a fountain, bronze statues and the view of fragrant central garden. Kitchen, baths and servant quarters were located farther to keep the smells away. In the Roman atrium, musicians entertained with their music, men talked about politics and business, women occupied themselves with kids, gossip and women activities, the atrium was the area of the house for socializing, as we might use the living room today.

Centuries later my life as a kid evolved the same way in the round building with an atrium.

The four walls of a house are what they contain, they protect the dreamers. I dream of a natural living, surrounded by nature, colorful waters, positive vibes from a fluid architecture that exudes the earth’s energy, allows me to live mostly outdoor and shelters my friends and family as an oasis. Ciao, Valentina

Copyright © 2016 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

ValWorkingValentina Cirasola is an Italian Interior Designer with a passion for kitchens and cooking. She especially loves to design all those rooms with a “make me feel good” tag attached, such as kitchens and wine grottos, outdoor kitchens and outdoor rooms, great rooms and entertainment rooms. She is a public speaker and a mentor. She is also the author of two Italian regional cuisine books and an interior design book on the subject of colors, all-available here in this site on the Books page and on


Valentina Interiors And Designs Has Been Featured Again! | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer


Hello World,
It is so rewarding to come to work on Monday morning from a short Easter weekend holiday and finding my name published all over the Internet. Avaliving, a site for designers offering their services on line, today has published my interview with them.

As a designer, I have been part of Ava’s family since about three years ago. The scope of Avaliving’s site is to give a larger exposure to those designers participating in its programs.
My profession as a designer has really changed in the last eight/nine years. To be able to stay on the market and in a profitable business, I had to adapt to new ways of thinking and accept the new ways clients shop. It is not imaginable anymore to raise a sign outside the studio/office and think clients will come. Designers must have a presence in the local market made of referrals to sustain the business in a continuous flow and a larger presence on line, a new and most important way to sell services. It really doesn’t matter what kind of design business one might have, if a designer is in the service business, she/he is in the marketing business of selling designer services. This is the new twist, we can’t expect to be sitting behind a fashionable desk, in a well decorated office and expect clients to multiply.
I have transformed my business and my mindset with advices, solutions and strategies from expert marketers to achieve my dreams and help my clients in realizing their dreams.

I am an Italian expatriate by choice, not by necessity. I knew since I was a little girl my place was supposed to be in the World and not just in Bari, Italy, my home town where I was born, studied, worked and lived all my life. I made the decision to move when the time was right.

©Valentina Cirasola

I carry with me the educational baggage of an Italian with the beauty and style I have been used to caress and admire. I bring the same into people’s homes, give my clients the power to design with me and at the end I leave them with affordable, comfortable luxury.

I said in my interview with Avaliving that my life is a continuous evolvement of colorful events. That’s because I am a curious person and I get interested and involved in everything.

People who know me say I am a great cook. Food is fuel for my brain. I don’t care what kind of petrol I put in my car, but I care about what kind of food I put in my stomach. In fact, I love food so much, I have written my first designer cookbook and published it: ©Come Mia Nonna-A Return To Simplicity.
Robert T., a friend and business associate of says:
“Valentina – an International Professional Interior Designer is now giving you an opportunity to redesign your palate”.

Check out my first book, it is making people happy, I was told:




Life is simply good!

Please forward this article to anyone you think might be interested in reading it and let me know what you think by leaving a comment below. Thank you.
Designed regards,

Copyright © 2010 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

Valentina Cirasola is an Italian Interior Designer with a passion for kitchens and cooking. She operates in the USA and Europe. She loves to remodel homes and loves to turn unattractive spaces into castles, but especially loves to design kitchens and wine grottos.


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