Saint Patrick’s Day And The Interesting Green | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

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Here we are already approaching Saint Patrick’s Day!
Saint Patrick, in Latin Patricius, is the patron saint of Ireland. It is traditionally celebrated as a religious event in Ireland, America, Canada and Australia by Irish and non-Irish alike.
Up until the 1970s, Irish laws mandated that pubs be closed on March 17. Beginning in 1995, the Irish government began a national campaign to use St. Patrick’s Day as an opportunity to drive tourism and showcase Ireland to the rest of the world.

ShamrockA note of history: At age fourteen Patrick was captured from Britain by Irish raiders and taken as a slave to Ireland, where he lived for six years before escaping and returning to his family. After entering the Church, he returned to Ireland as an ordained bishop. One traditional icon of Saint Patrick’s day is the shamrock. An Irish tale tells how Patrick used the three-leafed shamrock to explain the Trinity. Shamrock represents the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit existing as separate elements of the same entity.
Today, people of all background celebrate the day with parades, wearing something green, drinking beer and eating traditional Irish food. Tradition says that people who don’t wear green will be “pinched”…. in an affectionate way.

One reason St. Patrick’s Day might have become so popular is that it takes place just a few days before the first day of spring. Spring is time to renew, refresh and upgrade any space in the home.
(Click on each photo to view it larger).

flickr-BenjaminMooreColors(Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/benjaminmoorecolors/5978084052/in/photostream)

I love surrounding myself with bold colors, but not everybody thinks that way. Calm, no need to paint an entire room in bold colors to brighten it up. Use bold and colorful accessories such as rugs, throw pillows, and window treatments to add punch to a room painted in a neutral shade. This way, bold colors can be contained in small areas, making it easy to change or eliminate if later you decide to go with something else, or go with the change of seasons.

Using a bold color in a small room, will add a feeling of coziness. Some people think it will shrink the room, I think it is only how you perceive your space and how you intend to make it work for you. With a bold color in a small room, it is a must to use a spectacular light effect to avoid that shrinking feeling.

EyeForDesign
(Source: Eye For Design)
Cottage Market

(Source: Cottage Market)

Depending on the mood you like to create, green combines well with purple and grey for a modern high tech hipster décor. Soft pink and green tones if you want to create a feminine environment, or yellow and golds if you like your home to have a summer feel all year round. Use cool green and turquoise hues for tranquility.

GreenGrayPalette
(Source: Color Palettes)

Pale Pink and Green

If you want to use a darker color in any size room, consider painting one accent wall in that color, then paint the remaining walls with a lighter tone of the same shade, or with a different neutral color to set off the bold color.
In the kitchen get creative with your backsplash in contrasting colors. Using a contrasting grout draws attention to the tile. In this example, a light-color grout lets the round green tiles pop.
(photo below: BH&G)

ColorContrast
In home décor all the different elements can co-exist in the same space to create rhythm and a dynamic space. Green often is the right color to repaint a repurposed piece of furniture that can be used for beauty and functionality.

Repurposed Table
(Found on: www.lizmarieblog.com)

I am always available to resolve any design challenges and yes, I am the colorist who brings happiness in any décor. Ciao,
Valentina
www.Valentinadesigns.com

Copyright © 2016 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

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Valentina Cirasola is an Italian Interior Designer working in the USA and Europe since 1990, specializing in kitchen, bath, wine cellar, and outdoor kitchen designs. Often people describe her as “the colorist” as she loves to color her clients’ world and loves to create the unusual. “Vogue” magazine and many prominent publications in California featured Valentina’s work. She also has made four appearances on T.V. Comcast Channel 15 and on RAI – Italian National TV. Author of three published books, the latest ©RED – A Voyage Into Colors is on the subject of colors.
Amazon: http://goo.gl/xUZfk0
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Furniture – A Movable Thought | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

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.

The word furniture comes from the 1570 French word “fournir” (furnish in English). Furniture was the prerogative of the higher levels of society and nobles who lived in castles while the less prosperous sat on benches, stools or on the floor, ate at whatever table available at their disposition and often slept on beds of straw. Furniture had a double purpose: to decorate a room as we intend it today and to be mobile. In fact in many European countries where romantic languages are spoken furniture was also called “mobilia” a Latin word which means mobile. The word is still in use today.

Vacation time of the rich and nobles was like a house moving of today, they took along chairs, tables, trunks and household stuff when they left their castle and went to visit their peers in their castles. Visiting people’s castle was a common custom as today we go on vacation and stay in hotels, except that our hotels are fully furnished and clothes is the only thing we carry around.

Furniture and adornments were meant to convey the wealth of its owner. Rich oak was the preferred wood for container such as trunks and credenza; upholstered chairs in velvet or expensive materials divided rooms elegantly in vignettes; turned legs accented and beautified any boxed furniture; elaborate window treatments kept the cold winter out and gilded and decorated walls lined with expensive art really told the story of how wealthy the family was.

 

The Dutch were the first to use Turkish rug as table coverings and not as floor covering. They believed furniture was to admire, to use and never to crowd a room, in that it would detract the light and the spirit within. However their reason might have been a more practical one. Dutch people scrubbed and cleaned their homes every day and when entering the house, took their shoes off on the unfurnished and very bare first floor, which was considered an extension of the street. With slippers on their feet, they entered the livable home on the second floor. However, the cleanliness of their homes did not reflect the cleanliness of their bodies. One would think that the same people who scrubbed, cleaned and shined their homes, would take an exceptional effort to keep up with personal care and hygiene as well, but that was not the case. Houses did not have a room for bathing and the multiple layers of clothing that kept them warm during the hard winter months, discouraged bathing and exposure to fresh air: “the bark stays better on the trunk”.

Strangely enough, not much as changed since then, except that furniture are less decorated, more functional, respects the rule of ergonomics, often is very technological with more than one function and we don’t take them on our vacations. In decorating, we like to reproduce past styles to feel a connection to history. The Dutch four-post bed is still in use today, as are alcoves and banquette seating under windows. Family portraits and various art pieces still line our decorated walls. Entering someone’s home it’s hard to remain indifferent one way or the other. Furniture will immediately communicate the status symbol or non-status of the owner and the style will speak about the owner’s personality.

As for cleanliness, I wonder often if people have learned anything or if technology has even helped. It’s not uncommon for me, being a designer, to go into a house for the first time and find a royal mess and stale air. The answer is to be found in the question: “what do people do with their time?”. Ciao,
Valentina

http://www.Valentinadesigns.com

Copyright © 2013 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

Val:FarfalleStampValentina Cirasola has been a lifetime designer in fashion and interiors. Her extensive knowledge of colors and materials led her in both directions successfully. She is well-known for designing custom furniture. She cares to make spacious and functional pieces, but she doesn’t forget to introduce the element of surprise, sinuous lines, attractive shapes and color in the style fit for each of her special clients.
She is the author of three books all available on
Amazon: http://goo.gl/xUZfk0
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w

 

Animal Attraction | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

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Year after year, I am fascinating with the “animalier” look, even when animal prints were not so much the vogue, I have always worn at least one item in those prints. I believe my attraction comes from the visual rhythm in the movement an animal pattern can imprint in my mind, more than the animal magnetism I might feel.

Animal prints can stir feelings of vulgarity, just as much as feelings of elegance. In the ‘50s the elevated elegance was to wear one or two strings of pearls around the neck and only one small garment in animal print, perhaps a bill box hat, a pair of gloves, or a pair of ballerina shoes and never all together.

Today, animal prints are over used and produced in all colors. Being aware of how to use or wear them will put us on the path of elegance. Animal prints when paired up with a sober look, will give an extra touch of highly seductive femininity. In fact, today the animalier prints are a symbol of high-class fashion, no longer for sexy bombshells that want to make a lasting impression. Ethno-chic and retro styles are the rage in this year 2011 fashion, just as much they have been in past collections.

Pop animal prints spotted in blue, green, or red (confess it, you have one of those too), are fun to wear, but bordering vulgarity is easy to do when the pop colored animal patterns are matched with sequins, bright shiny stuff, or with the wrong colors.

It is not good to mix or match all the prints together, just because they are the same theme or color.
One of model wearing Giambattista Valli’s collection has the right color shoes, picking up two of the colors in her animal print dress.

 

As an interior designer it happens often that I am attracted to animal prints in home décor.

It is good to provoke and create some strong emotions, when designing an interior. This zebra ottoman is not zebra skin, it is a printed leather and it looks so real!
(Photo found on catalog.sourcecollection.com https://www.pinterest.se/pin/196469602468482265)


In this interior, the client is a young woman with a super traditional taste. It took a lot of convincing to mix a racamier seat dressed in animal print (foreground in the photo) in her very traditional living room furnishing. I wanted to lift the heaviness of the rest of the room by adding a new dimension with one contemporary piece and a contemporary throw rug. An extravagant piece, as she called it was too scary for her, but it turned out her favorite piece in the entire décor. I am glad she saw what I saw.

Animalier prints have conquered thousand of women because it is young, transgressive, elegant or….less pretentious; it is a good fit for any age, or in any décor and above all it is fun for any occasion.

I am here to help if you need to lift the image of an area in your home with animal magnetism. Ciao.
Valentina

http://www.valentinadesigns.com

 

Copyright © 2011 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 fashion and interior well in any of her design work. She loves to remodel homes and turn unattractive spaces into castles. Fashion designing has been her 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

 

 

A Versatile Corner | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

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As featured on Avaliving, a site for designers directed to consumers. Thank you Avaliving for choosing my project among many others. Offering design consultations on-line any where in the world without leaving my office is a new addition to my business, resulting in a huge savings for the consumers.

The Story:
Any unused corner in the house is a good opportunity to turn it into a chatting, reading, or breakfast area. Sometimes is just enough to have a bistro table, a couple of wrought iron chairs and real flower on the table to create an inviting scene.

Photo ©Valentina Cirasola

Photo ©Valentina Cirasola

My Client had an empty corner in a large room she didn’t know what to do with it, especially because the room was a mismatch of eclectic furniture.
My goal was to create an “out of the ordinary” corner, a bit on the Bohemian French style and create vignettes in the rest of her large room that would communicate with each others while keeping each its own identity.

Each vignette would offer a certain activity: a game area, a reading area near a built-in bookshelf, a T.V. area with comfortable divans and club chairs and a conversation area.

I wanted the transformation of the space to be cohesive with these activities, I wanted to be comfortable for all the family members of all ages (family made of many women and a husband) and harmonious with all the shapes and colors.
The Client wanted to keep the majority of the mismatched furniture. That was my challenge! Some of them remained in the large room and some got relocated in other rooms. Floating furniture is something I do when I am engaged to stage a home for sale.

40 Winks Hotel London

40 Winks Hotel London

My inspiration for the breakfast corner came from a couple of pictures I have in my library, one of which, a 1940 Hotel, particularly struck my fancy.
(Photo left: 40 Winks Hotel – London)
The room came out a colorful one, a bit nostalgic and very Bohemian in the style of romantic French. The mood is a combination of comfortable, feminine, and quirky. To some of the painted furniture I added custom jewelry as door knobs.

DoorKnobJewel -Photo ©Valentina Cirasola

Photo ©Valentina Cirasola

Colors had to be vibrant! Plum, Chartreuse and golden beige, warm and cold palette always result in a playful role.

The unused corner turned out to be a versatile corner, breakfast in the morning, reading or music listening in the evening, extra seating when there is company. The unused corner is now very busy.

Do you have an unused corner in your home you don’t know what to do with it? Ask me, I have many solutions, even using the same furniture you already own, if they are in good condition. Repurposing something old becomes very new in a different space of the house and in a different light.
Leave your name in the box below and tell me how I can help you. Ciao,
Valentina

http://www.valentinadesigns.com

 

Copyright © 2011 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

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Valentina Cirasola is an Italian Interior Designer and former Fashion Designer, working in the USA and Europe since 1990. She blends well fashion with interior and colors the world of her clients. She has been described as “the colorist” and loves to create the unusual. She is a book author, find her on

Amazon: http://goo.gl/xUZfk0

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

The Kitsch Of Today | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

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DavideIn every era items of dubious taste appear on shelves of home décor stores and invariably we have a good laugh when we find them in people’s home.

The term kitsch refers to an item regarded as tasteless, sentimental, or ostentatious in style. Sometimes an item is so kitsch to turn irresistibly attractive, perhaps because it has an inner beauty, or an intrinsic collectible value, or better a memory of a romantic past. I love to hunt in flea markets, looking at some items often is a learning experience of the past, especially when I engage in conversation with senior exhibitors who know all the life story of an object and turn into instant story-tellers. I could spend hours and hours listening to people who have lived in different eras, I find it very fulfilling and educational. Today I want to talk about the funny aspect of a few kitsch items.

Take a look at this David statue, one of the most recognizable masterpiece of the world and an enduring symbol of Florence. To see the David in Piazza della Signoria in Florence is natural, it fits the historical environment, but to see him naked in a home would be a bit annoying.

Coat of Arms near the living room fireplace, or on top of the doorway will really tell your friends how highly blazoned you feel, unless for real you have royal blood, but in this case you wouldn’t display the coat of arms so visibly anyway.

The Folies Bergère stool is very kitschy and extremely whimsical, but I wouldn’t put it on display in the center of the most used room. It would feel appropriate in a boudoir, where you can sit to take your shoes off after a night of follies.

The Babette side table. Just the name alone of this table will tell the story. It might be useful to rest a drink on it, but its disheveled look, seamed stockings, red garters and strappy red heels demands attention!
A romp boisterous lad experiencing his first flat might like this piece as a way of entertaining his friends in funny conversation.

 

Ah, the guillotine was a classic in the ‘70s. I have seen it in some offices propped proudly on a boss’s desk used for cutting the tip of cigars. It was considered an unusual historic executive toy. It hurt just to see it and wondered what kind of pleasure there was to own such object.

Cleopatra Chaise, even though a little garish and excessively ornate, I can use it as an accent piece and let it claim a place of honor in my décor. After all, it is a reproduction of the famous ruler’s chair and it is fit-for-a-queen (me). By the way, my title of last published book is: Sins Of A Queen. You can find it here: https://valentinaexpressions.com/


(All photos from: Toscano Design)

Ok, I have been playing around today with outrageous things, I know, but not all kitsch items are ugly, extremely in your face, garish, or unpleasant. The idea behind choosing a kitsch object is to have fun and to create an attraction, just do not use many of these objects in one room, or many times over throughout the home décor.

Ultimately, if you like one piece, nobody can tell you what you should or should not have in your décor, just do it sensibly. Do not overlook flea market findings, they could be a treasure sometimes.

As a professional designer, I can stir the selection toward a more valuable choice and toward the choice that makes sense for the style of your home. I shall be here to help with any choice, selecting furniture and accessories is one of the specialty of my business. Leave your name in the box, I will answer you in 24 hours time. Ciao,
Valentina
http://www.valentinadesigns.com

 

Copyright © 2011 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. Author of three books available on
Amazon: http://goo.gl/xUZfk0
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w

 

Sawdust Or Stardust | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

 

Spring is almost at our door, it is time to refresh the look of interior spaces and to buy furniture. Those of you who have just finished a home remodeling, after such a big sacrifice and hardship, now is the moment to make the new areas shine, sit back, relax and enjoy the new spaces with comfortable furniture.

Before rushing to furniture stores with a renewed excitement (remember last time you bought furniture?) is important to know the shifts that have occurred in the market with supply and demand, the shift in consumer thinking or choices and to know about imported or locally produced furniture.

The annual world market furniture show at High Point in North Carolina will happen April 2-7, 2011. It is the world runway for home fashions and it happens one month after the New York’s Fashion Week. There you will find an enormous selection of furniture and accessories of all styles and historic periods. The show is overwhelming and super stuffed with beautiful furniture, but all of that will reach stores at some point during the year, so we can all enjoy and finally make a purchase.

This is basically what you need to keep in mind. Decide how much you want to spend and the quality you want in your home, then look at the product you are buying.
The most common furniture are made of melamine material, veneer, laminate, solid wood and a lot more. I will just talk about a few.

The majority of furniture are made of sawdust pushed together with various resins with the exterior surface made of plastic derivates printed and colored as wood. When the resins are not treated at a high temperature (this is an information never disclosed to consumers) they emanate a formaldehyde gas which is carcinogenic and irritating for the lungs. The odor is not pleasant and emission can last many years. To reduce the emission, these kind of furniture are covered with an exterior layer of melamine.

Furniture with veneer and honeycomb: the exterior face has a layer of about one millimeter thick of real wood, the interior is made with a honeycomb structure which doesn’t allow doors and drawers to bow with time. Furniture with veneer exterior are good lasting furniture and priced affordably.


(Photo Italian Trumeau Lombardo – http://www.labottegadegliartisti.it/catalogo2/cattrumeauuk.htm)

Real wood furniture are the stars of any interiors, they have all the characteristics of elegance, beauty, style, durability and they are pricey. Real wood furniture fall in the category of luxury, but knowing the right ebonist (artistic furniture maker) real wood furniture can be produced locally at a better price than the market.

Let me be your chosen designer who can put star…dust in your décor. I can help you with any style. Put your name in the box, leave a comment and I will answer you within 24 hours. Ciao
Valentina
www.valentinadesigns.com

Copyright © 2011 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. She also designes furniture and has been successful in producing them locally with local artists craftsmen. Check out her books on
Amazon: http://goo.gl/xUZfk0
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w

 

Give Me Space | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

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Buying furniture can be a difficult or easy task, depending on how you react to your need, prices, choices, or necessity. Particularly in the case of a couple getting married for the first time and the unknown factors of how large the family will grow, or even if the marriage will last in time. Then come the questions of how to choose colors, styles, sizes, functionality and how to fit everything intelligently in each space in order to maximise the available space in every small inch.

When buying good furniture allow yourself plenty time for searching and don’t stop at the first offer just because the price might be right for you. Evaluate material and price of the furniture and don’t fall in the trap of discounts. If you purchase furniture on the Internet to save 70-80% and then turn around and pay a high price for shipping that is not at all a good savings, therefore buy locally and really save! Some local stores will offer shipping free of charge just to gain your custom.

Furniture to me, as a designer and lover of practicality, must be beautiful, stylish and hold a double functionality. Not necessarily made for contemporary décor with straight and clean lines, furniture can be antiques, or classic, but they must always offer storage space solutions, in that space is a challenge in everybody’s home and a precious commodity.

A Tartan Credenza (left) in the living room can decorate a wall beautifully and serve as a storage for table cloths, napkins and silverware. A kitchen credenza (right)  can also hold office files on one side with a roll-down panel to hide the files when not in use.


If you are looking to add rhythm and dynamism to an office space or a kids’ room, the Code bookshelf made by Snaidero (left) is a good solution. Looking at my photo most people will think of kids’ room immediately. 
A bookshelf designed in colored squares is perfect for kids, that’s right, because it offers infinite playful compositions. But why not thinking of a dynamic office, filled with young minds, or young at heart people, innovative and productive, who want to keep up with evolving times? This type of free-form modular shelving multiplies in space vertically, horizontally and performs well all kinds of functions, even in the kitchen, or pantry.

Do you have a bare corner? A drop shaped vitrine (Photo right) with interior lighting made by Carpanelli is a good solution to hold a few collectibles and to light a corner. I like to add lights in corners, it gives the illusion of larger spaces. Ottomans and settees are also super solutions for storage and stylish furniture, which can be added anywhere in any décor.

When giving a particular attention to storage spaces and assign a dedicated space to each of your activities, life becomes simpler and pleasant. Well, now it is time to go shopping. I am here to help you finding the right furniture solution, or build some storage spaces for you, your home, your style and improve your life. Ciao,
Valentina

http://www.valentinadesigns.com

 

Copyright © 2011 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. She also designs furniture and has been successful in producing them locally with local artists craftsmen. Check out her books on
Amazon: http://goo.gl/xUZfk0
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w

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