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

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Monochromatic Appeal | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

Working with a monochromatic color scheme seems easy for those who know how to do it. In decorating with one color only it is important not to keep it boring, to put the accent on details and to play with light effects in a large way.
The house showing in my photos dates 1987.

The interior of every room was made entirely out of oak wood inside and out, wall panels, windows and shutters, floor, kitchen and bath cabinets, interior doors and beams. It was a very dingy, dark and not practical home for today’s needs. The only firm demand was to turn it into a very bright, airy, contemporary and functional home. The Clients liked subtle colors such as golden beige and were open to other color suggestions as long as they were not bold. After studying various tints and tones of subtle colors, this was the last scheme chosen. Clients envisioned a very white home, but this color scheme for the interiors and exteriors really got them excited.

Inte-Ext Colors copy

All the walls in every room, including kitchen and baths cabinets have been faux finished with an elegant metallic effect that is only noticeable by getting closer to the walls.

 

Earlier, I talked about putting the accent on details when working with monochromatic colors. The existing beams overhead were overwhelming and felt like a heavy lid. I put LED lights inside of them and the ceiling came alive when illuminated at night or grey days. Each pillar of this home had a brass band at the bottom. I left it there and with the new cream color those bands created an elegant accent. It looks done on purpose to break the verticality of the pillars.

Getting rid of all the oak obstacles and details, making each space open and livable was a real pleasure for the clients and me.
What really made this large space was the floor. I selected a large planks chestnut hardwood floor to run continuously all over the house. The very dark brown of the floor grounded the décor and helped this 10,000 square feet home covered in cream colors not to look aloof and floating in the air.

Dark wood furniture mixed with a few satin metals, glass tables, and a few antique pieces satisfied the needs of both husband and wife in different age group. They said  “Now we can breathe! ”. The intercommunication system between rooms was a necessity.

As you can see there is no need to live in dull colors, even mortally boring beige can be attractive, sophisticated and exclusive. Ciao,
Valentina
http://www.valentinadesigns.com

Copyright © 2016 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

Val:FarfalleStampValentina Cirasola is an Italian Interior-Fashion Designer working in the USA and Europe since 1990. 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
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w

 

A Livable Home My Way | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

Often I study consumer behavior statistics to get to know changes in my market. Some studies say that women are the primary decision makers in almost 90% of all home purchases. In all my projects this statistic has been correct, unless I dealt with single men. In my homeland Italy, we have a saying that goes like this:
“I am the boss, but the person who bosses me around and makes decisions is my wife”.

In my career as a designer, I made many observations on how today’s homes often don’t reflect people’s needs. Generally, the square as shoebox is the most common shape for homes (round shapes are difficult and costly). The shoebox homes have large rooms to fill with stuff and possessions, high ceilings to waste a lot of space and very little attention devoted to the spirit.

If I were a builder, I would pay more attention to people’s living habits. I would make the necessary adjustments to the concept plans to make sure the home has harmony and beauty first, then comfort. Coming home from work should be a pleasant experience, even when we have a lot of chores waiting to get done.

In all my years in design business, I have observed how people enter their homes. The front door is beautifully decorated, but they hardly see it.  Home owners reserve to themselves the ugliest part of the house to enter from: the garage, where a pile of laundry, cars,  stuff and all the mess will greet them everyday. They reserve the best for the guests: the front door.
During the year, I make a round of visits to my clients’ homes and leave a small token at the door if they are not there. Then, I will call to let them know I was at the house and left a package at their front step, otherwise they will never see it. What is the point of making a surprise visit if I have to tell them to open the front door and pick up my small token? The phone call spoils the surprise.
(Click on each photo to view it larger).

ValComic1
One day, I thought if I were a builder, I would design the house with a back door foyer, where  one door would lead to a mudroom/garage and one door would lead to the kitchen. In the back door foyer, I would create a drop zone for the mail, keys and charging area for phones and electronics, that way all that stuff will not end up on the kitchen counter.

The list of areas I don’t like in a modern home is very long. I have spotted a point of disadvantage in all the closets in American homes. They have no window and being positioned just in or outside bathrooms, it’s only natural that clothes smell musty, molded and old. One more thing, people who live with pets, wears the smell of their pets on their clothes. Think about it, just an operable skylight will suffice to get rid of  house and pets smells.  I get up in the morning and open my bedroom to let fresh air in.  I would do it even if I lived in a cold climate.  A few minutes of fresh air don’t hurt anyone, it helps  clothes smelling fresh and keeps the house healthy.
VAlComic2
If I were a builder, I would add a window in all the closets. I would move the linen closet outside the bathroom and find a way to circulate fresh air into it, if there was no possible way to add at least a window.

MahoganyLinenCloset

How about hosting dinner parties and entertainment? I remember a different functionality in European kitchens. We had a small area off the kitchen, closed with a door, where food preparation and cooking took place, we called it the hot kitchen, where there was the essential, a chopping table, a  sink, the garbage  and the refrigerator, the rest of the kitchen cabinets, storage and small appliances were in the better part of the kitchen.  As soon as food was ready, we brought the plates to the table in the better part of the kitchen used for everyday informal eating. This same area was also the place where we had a cup of coffee with close friends, we paid bills, kids often did their homework and we mingled with family. Formal dining room was close to the kitchen, but not close to the hot kitchen, just so the cooking smells would stay away from the formal area. Outside the hot kitchen, we had the spice garden for our cooking needs.

Il Lauro

(Photo: Il Lauro, Italy)

If I were a builder, I would return to the European way of planning the kitchen for real cooks. For people who don’t cook but spend a bundle of money in remodeling the kitchen just to have a good resale value, I suggest to save that money and go on a fantastic trip. People who use microwave to reheating store-bought food don’t need to have a fancy kitchen. Any house will sell for various reasons, not because there is a fancy kitchen in it.

If I were a builder, I would pay attention to open spaces, dual-purpose stairs, I would turn a non-utilized spaces into workable zones and I would pay attention to creative details to build a livable home my way that would embrace soul, mind and body of everyone living in the house.
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As seen on Affluent Living: 

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Remember to tell me your story, I will design your dream. Come one over to Facebook, let’s start a new friendship there too. Ciao,
Valentina

http://www.valentinadesigns.com

Copyright © 2013 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved
ValHatCelesteStampValentina 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. Author of three published books, the latest ©RED – A Voyage Into Colors is on the subject of colors. Get your copy through
Amazon: http://goo.gl/xUZfk0
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w

Up Above | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

Delight of my eyes! It excites me to see homes well cared with elegant details that are not always expensive. It takes only a few pieces of trim material, perfect measurements, a coat of paint or stain and voila’ it’s magic!
A simple window with a shelf on top is an opportunity to add some memory of your life, or collectibles. The shelf bracket rod functions as a curtain rod for a finished look.

Shelf Above Window
(photo above: Martha Stewart)

A naked passageway dressed with multiple layers of cornice molding and a couple of side corbels just speaks the language of elegance.

Cornice and Corbel

What to say when two walls painted in different colors come together? The corner molding is the perfect solution and I would add a vertical light hidden inside the molding to give luminosity to each colored wall.

Corner Molding(photo credits given to the respective owners)

As in fashion, clothes matter, but it is really the body that shapes the clothes. Pleats and darts give fullness to a body that is not full and straight lines are better suitable for round bodies. The same is for the house. The house is a shell, the interior spaces tailor our lifestyle and the details add value to the property, don’t spare them.
“God Is In the Details” ~ Mies Van Der Rohe ~ Ciao,
Valentina
http://www.valentinadesigns.com

Copyright © 2013 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

ValentinaBlueStampThrough my writing and suggestions, I am hoping to enrich your sensibility towards aesthetic, design, style and inspire you to live in beauty. I have loved my profession as an interior designer since 1990. I am here ready to offer consultations on-line if you need and in the traditional way of in-home consultations. Check out my latest book on colors ©RED-A Voyage Into Colors, available on
Amazon: http://goo.gl/xUZfk0
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w

C For Corbel | 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, until Jan. 13, 2014, 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.

Corbel_Arch_of_Septimium _Severus-Rome

(Corbel Arch of Septimium Severus – Rome)

Korbel with a K is a California winery producing traditional Méthode Champenois sparkling wine in the United States, but the Corbel with a C, of which today I am delighted to speak, is a projecting stone or a piece of timber carved block supporting a beam or a eave. Just as exciting as the bubbly Korbel, the corbel with a C  has been a feature in universal Architecture since almost the dawn of time. From ancient Rome to ancient China, corbels supported magnificent balconies, window sills, projecting parapets, or exceptionally elegant entry ways. In the Medieval time corbels appeared as gargoyles and the Paris Notre Dame Cathedral is showing off its beautiful examples to these days.

The word comes from Latin corbellus or corvus (raven) apparently because it resembles the beak of a crow. In Italian is called mensola and in French is called cul-de-lampe, I like this last one To disguise the load baring function, a corbel must be highly decorative, the eye wants to see something pretty too, not just functionality, that’s the reason of the existence of  so many variety of styles and sizes through history from Corinthian design to animal head, cherub’s face to a king’s face and the very popular woman’s face or pineapple, symbol of prosperity.

Materials and functions have varied from medieval castles to modern-day homes. Wood, gesso, plaster, resin or even steel have been carved, bent, twisted or shaped into submission according to the wishes of the ruler of the moment.

Today, they have become more simple and straightforward with the purpose of decorating modern houses already quite simple in their shapes, except a few décor ideas that want to give the appearance of being important.

I encourage you to be different and to try something new. My black corbel sometimes holds a candle, or a picture and some other time my friends’ glass of wine. Ciao,
Valentina
http://www.valentinadesigns.com

Copyright © 2013 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

ValWorkingValentina 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. 
She offers design consultations on-line through Skype and the traditional in-home visits, helping people with their design challenges anywhere in the world.

As an author of three books, she is now a public speaker and teaches style, colors and image. Find her books on
Amazon: http://goo.gl/xUZfk0
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w

T For Tub – Harold Bring The Tub | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

http://myatozchallenge.com/2012/02/20/welcome-to-my-a-to-z-challenge-2/I am participating in My personal A to Z challenge blog.
I chose to write on the subject of HOME. In a year time  I will complete my coverage in this subject in all the letters of the alphabet. This is my first article, T for Tub. I hope you will enjoy some of my entertainment on the matter, some history, some information and colorful photos. Welcome.

We don’t think much of all technology we use on a daily basis and how technology has improved our lives. Has it always been this way? Of course not, our modern comfort is a direct result of the discomfort of past generations. However, no improvements would have happened if the family kept up with the costume of having servants to light candles or tending fireplaces, warming up water to fill bath tubs, or emptying chamber pots.

As the industrial revolution started at the end of the 18th century England, domestic technology began to develop, but it developed slowly.  Hard to believe a cabinetmaker started to fiddle with mechanical inventions and came up with what was known as the Bramah Valve Closet. Bramah invented a toilet bowl that would seal the water inside and prevent the cesspool from re-entering the room. A few country houses were fitted with the new piping technology system, the rest of the populations thought it was just a fad, so much that even by the late 1900s, many English aristocrats preferred the portable tubs brought to the bedroom for their weekly bath in front of the fireplace and the chamber pot remained close by in a corner of the bedroom, or in some households in the corner of the kitchen or dining room.

Oil Rubbed Copper

Above: Copper Tub – Oil Bronze Finish – Approximately: $4,000.

In some special period décor of today’s homes, stand-alone tubs are still used as showpieces, some have claw feet, some sit on the floor, but they all function with modern plumbing and we don’t call them portable anymore. We have become servantless and more confidently depending on technology.

The Moen’s ioDigital tub – http://www.moen.com/iodigital (watch the video, it will surprise you) allows the user to fill up the tub with a remote control as far as 30 feet away. large-Moen
The Moen’s ioDigital technology controls water to a desired temperature and volume, the device alerts when hot water runs low and tub overflows, it is also equipped with an anti-scalding feature and safety lock. The suggested retail price for the tub is around $1,200 less expensive than the stand-alone period copper tub (about $4,000) and around $2,500 for the “vertical spa” which includes rain shower head and body jets.

We sure have come a long way and in a very short time! Ciao,
Valentina

http://www.Valentinadesigns.com

Copyright © 2013 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

 

ValWorkingValentina 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 all available on
Amazon: http://goo.gl/xUZfk0
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w

Small, Cute, Functional | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

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Living in small spaces is challenging, but small spaces teach us how to stay organized and how to save money too. Due to so much market offer, I think it is very easy to clutter up small spaces that we use to live in and therefore buying everything we see in stores should be out of the question. Buying a lot, stuffing each space with unnecessary items, might results in an excuse to want to stay out as long as possible to avoid seeing the problem. Let me tell you I have seen a few stories in my design career!
(Sofa from Wayfair)

In a small space every little inch counts and every piece of furniture must have a double function for storage and living tasks. Sofas must turn into beds for visiting family and guests.

Coffee tables, ottomans and sofa tables must have a storage space inside. Just to give you an idea, these pieces are ideals to store a couple of tablecloths and napkins sets, or a few dinner mats as most of the time a small space will not have a formal dining room, still you want to eat on something pretty.

(Source: BH&G) In the kitchen, storage might be limited also. The best way to have everything handy is to hang most skillet and pots or pans in convenient, reachable areas. If you are not a renter, it would be wise to install a few deep drawers under the kitchen counter to keep plates and silverware all together, it will be money spent well for sure.

Consider the versatility of a baker’s rack. (Photo: baker’s rack – Wayfair) In the eating area it can function as a storing place for dishes, glasses and wine bottles. A baker’s rack also function as a bookshelf or media center in the living room. Place it in the bathroom to display in plain sight bath towels and a few bath supplies. However you want to use it, a baker’s rack is an open “showroom” sort of speaking, make sure to display pretty items.

In the bedroom it is not a good idea to store shoes and seasonal items in boxes under the bed, as positive energy must flow freely in the room to impact positively your sleep or your quiet hours. This is where saving money comes into play. Buy only the necessary fashion clothes and accessories to keep at a minimum the need for storage, thus avoiding the so much feared clutter.

Bedroom closets or any closet in small spaces should be organized with plenty shelves and drawers to contain everything that is necessary for a good living.
The extras are called “extras” because are not needed. If space is limited and not just in the bedroom why keep buying more items? Get rid of something old, or that doesn’t have much use anymore before buying new items. Getting rid of stuff is a way to give a second life to items someone else will want. Living in today’s difficult economy is all about recycling and repurposing.


In the entry a small étagère (shelf) with baskets will function as a last stop box, for library books, outgoing mail or DVDs to grab as you head out the door and as an inviting area where it will be easy to apply the last touch before going out.
(Photo left found on: http://www.shelterness.com/55-mudroom-and-hallway-storage-ideas/pictures/9901)

Hanging paintings and wall art in small spaces is not that difficult. The gallery wall is made of small paintings or photographs, or a mixture of both. It adds character to the walls, tells the story of your life or of your likings and it is interesting to look at the variety of the artwork. On the other hand, large paintings, prints or photographs will save money in buying many frames and many artworks. You only need one for each empty wall, but that one lonely artwork, unless it is a Miro’, Chagall, or Matisse, just to name a few, after a while, might keep you bored, just something to consider.

Of course there is so much more to cover when creating a cute small space. A functional order should be a priority for a good living. Ask me about space planning and organization, I am a master. Leave your name and comment in the box below, I will answer in 24 hours time. Ciao,
Valentina
www.Valentinadesigns.com

 

Copyright © 2011 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

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Valentina Cirasola is an Italian trained Interior Designer 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 loves to create the unusual. She established her company Valentina Interiors & Designs in 1990. Being Italian born and raised, her design work has been influenced by Classicism and timeless style. She will create your everyday living with a certain luxury without taking away a comfortable living. She is a published author of three books.
Amazon: http://goo.gl/xUZfk0
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w

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