Queen’s Hamlet | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

Parties are for having fun, meeting friends, new people, eating, drinking and small talks and better be prepared, they will happen! Actually knowing how to conduct small talks to your advantage is a professional social skill. I was at a Christmas party where I met a woman who knew how to ease in the small talk conversation until she realized I was an interior designer. The natural questions that followed was: “I bet your house is beautiful! What is the style?”

Often people forget to ask what is your personal style, which would define better the answer. Style can be copied from magazines and voila’ it’s done. Does that mean it is your style? Maybe or maybe not. You might feel good in it, if you choose it, you must like it.

ferme1-le-moulinPhoto Source: Wikimedia Commons

I remember when I visited the palace of Versailles in France, I also visited the idyllic Hameau de la Reine (The Queen’s Hamlet), a rustic retreat in the park of the Château de Versailles built in 1783 for Marie Antoinette, who longed to play a farm girl role during her week spent in luxury. The building scheme included a farmhouse to produce milk and eggs for the queen, a dairy, a dovecote, a boudoir, a barn, a mill and a tower in the form of a lighthouse.

Boudoir_au_Hameau_de_la_Reine.jpgPhoto Source: Wikimedia Commons

Each building was decorated with a garden, an orchard or a flower garden. The Hameau served as a private meeting place for the Queen and her closest friends, a place of leisure, the rooms offered an intimate setting than the grand salons at Versailles or at the Petit Trianon. Clearly Marie Antoinette was never a farm girl, only wanted to experience the feeling of living someone else’s life.

That is what I notice when I go to people’s homes, often the furniture and home décor don’t reflect their lifestyle. There are formal rooms never enjoyed because they don’t entertain, there are expensive designed kitchens where nobody cooks, there are immense spaces for a household of only two people, or I go into small homes filled with an overabundance of heirloom objects, garage sales findings, collectibles and travel memories, all contributing to the home clutter.

In the house where the party was, all the pictures frames were brown to match the brown furniture. Just to continue the small talk conversation, I pointed the picture frames to the woman speaking to me and I said it is OK for some people to match one thing to the other, just as they match the earrings to the necklace, the handbag to the shoes. To them it feels comfortable, to me is mortally boring (my favorite phrase) and banal. If you want to be unique, break these rules, I told her.

Studio_A.jpg
Above: Evening atmosphere in my office.

In my house, I broke all the rules on purpose. All my picture frames are different and still communicate with the décor. She said: “I hope you use this phrase in your marketing material, as it explains all your thoughts in a few words”. I felt I opened a door for her to new ways of arranging furniture and “thoughts”.

Kitchen_A.jpg
Above: Evening atmosphere in my kitchen.

Antique pieces can be paired with modern furniture, warm colors with cool colors are beautiful, various metals finishes can be arranged together; glass live well with wood finishes or stones and rugs or pillows must not match the artwork at all.

eveningkitchenAbove: Evening atmosphere in my kitchen.

I feel comfortable in a house that is not the scheme of someone else, I live in the colors that make me feel good and in the atmospheres I create for my well-being. I live in my Queen’s Hamlet. How about you? Ciao,
Valentina
http://www.valentinadesigns.com

Copyright © 2016 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

valentina-ValleMonte
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 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 latest book on colors
©RED-A Voyage Into Colors,
available on

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Dancing With Fish | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

“The sea is as near as we come to another world” said Ann Stevenson, American-British poet and writer.
The visit to the Monterey Aquarium gave me such a good inspiration for the colors of the fall coming up. The names Pantone gave each new color are suggestive of precious stones, underwater world, seaweed, Mediterranean islands, expensive wines, sexy dances and turbulent times. How can I not like the freedom the fall palette gives me?
Pantone_Fashion_Color_Report_Fall_2013_thumb
(Photo: Pantone)

I can swirl in a bedroom that reflects the yellow-green seaweed (Linden Green) with the blue of a Greek Island (Mykonos Green) and a strong steaming coffee color (Carafe).
I can move around in a living room and dance to the sound of hot (Samba), drinking a sparkling ice-cold (Acai) berry drink.

The fall 2013 palette allows for experimentation, anything is possible. We can express many moods with this versatile palette and allow the shorter days in the colder months to evolve vivaciously without rules.

Take a look at the coral reefs in my short video, they enclose the secret of how to mix all those colors together. I can almost see them doing pirouettes to the beat of a Waltz. If those colors look good in nature, they will look good in your home and tell me you wouldn’t feel happy with all those colors together!!! Ciao,
Valentina
http://www.valentinadesigns.com

Copyright © 2013 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

Cappello GialloValentina 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.
Amazon: http://goo.gl/xUZfk0
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Is It Time To Restore Your Façade? |Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

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Remodeling the façade of your home is like remodeling your face and the exterior surface of your body. It’s a funny analogy, but you will see why when you read this article. Think of a home like a woman’s face: the roof is the hair, the windows are the eyes, the front door is the mouth and the walls are the cheeks. All of these elements must communicate with each others with colors, textures and finishes. First of all take care of the exterior colors (cheeks). Is the color of the house tired and outdated? Refresh that make-up, just like you would do with your face. Apply a good primer and then suiting colors. Keep in mind the number three, light, medium and dark colors, it is not a set rule, but in the design world everything looks good in a composition of three.

The entry door should always be of an inviting color. If the exterior walls are painted in light colors with medium color trims, the door should be a dark color to anchor the house, just like the red lipstick anchors and complete the woman’s make-up. Do the opposite if the walls are painted dark. The front door is the focal point of the house, make a statement just like you would with a lipstick. Creating a perfect symmetry at your front door is pleasing to the eye. Light fixtures should be placed strategically to guide visitors to the door and should reflect the color and style of the front door.

If the hardware are out of date or dingy, your home may not convey a good aesthetic. House numbers, the entry door lock set, a mailbox should be working in unison. Mailboxes should complement the home and express the homeowner’s personality. Select a box that mirrors your home’s trimmings and woodwork or the exterior stones façade.

Low-voltage landscape lighting makes a huge impact on your home’s curb appeal while also providing safety, security and accenting the beauty of the trees and the house.

Renewing planter beds gets your garden into shape quickly. Prune growth, pull weeds, plant flowers, and adding new mulch to restore color that was taken away by sunlight and harsh weather. Birdbaths, metal silhouettes, sculptures, and wind chimes are good choices for outdoor art. Choose pieces that complement your home’s natural palette and exterior elements. Water features function both as yard art and cover up other harsh sounds.

If your driveway is cracked or stained, upgrade it with very strong and durable resins products that can be applied over the cracked concrete with half of the cost of pouring a new concrete. Dress up the driveway with stones if it fits the look of the house, then repeat the stone look to feature some other architectural details like posts or column footings.

Perhaps you like to conceal your house from the street view. Building a gracefully designed iron gate has a somewhat high cost, but with easy-to-build wooden kits, simply connect the pieces and get an instant arbors or garden gates.

I want to add here a suggestion of one of my trusted professional on remodeling our skin, as the façade of our body. It is an intriguing concept to remodel our “façade” in different areas of our life: home, skin, weight, image, but we all have a façade and we should know what to do about it.

From Sherry Woodward – Arbonne Consultant:
“It goes without saying that we all want to look young and beautiful, and put our best face forward. Having clear, smooth skin with a natural glow is the best way to look young and vibrant. As we age, this takes some work and a little extra effort, but it’s well worth doing… after all, our face is our billboard to the world.

It’s not enough to just get an occasional facial, but a consistent daily skin-care regimen is necessary. Good habits in taking care of our skin start with the obvious things: a healthy diet, plenty of rest and keeping your skin protected from the elements. Think of your skin as an organ, rather than something that we can use and abuse, puts things in proper perspective.
Your skin needs daily care and nourishment in order to function properly. Moisture is critical to good skin health because it helps maintain a good skin barrier and creates a flexible, pliable skin that is soft to touch. Skin is a filtering system, designed to keep toxins out and let oxygen and nutrients in.

Just as important as a daily regimen is using high quality products that are safe & effective. Your products should be safe to use (i.e. not cause allergic reactions) and give you the results you are looking for – soft and smooth skin that has a healthy color. Become a “label reader” and learn about ingredients. Learn about toxic ingredients and make sure they are not in your skin-care products. Look for products made from organic botanical with vitamins and antioxidants. Pollutants from the air can deplete the antioxidant system of the skin, making the skin more susceptible to oxidative damage… causing premature aging. Vitamins can reduce or eliminate this damage.

I am an independent consultant for Arbonne International, LLC and I help people learn how to care for their skin using our botanically formulated products. For free consultation, please contact me at sherrywoodward@gmail.com.”.♢

Now you see, as we refurbish our wardrobe for a new season; as we renew the skin of our face that has been beaten with wind and cold weather; as we purify of our internal body, the very same way we should treat our home façade to add value the our most important investment. Time is now, remodel your exterior and make it ready for spring.
As the professional who is always ready, I shall be prompt and ready to help you with any of your needs, whether it will be decorating, designing, or remodeling, just place your name in the box below and let me know what is your challenge. Ciao,
Valentina

http://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 home construction, décor restyling, home fashion and outdoor rooms. Check out her books on
Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/9agl5v9
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Can You Be Bold? | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

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November and December are two fabulous months for me to get inspirations from stores and their displays. Being the curious person that I am and always with a camera in my hands, I shoot at anything that attracts my eyes. The other night, after I had taken a few pictures, I started to notice a pattern in my photos. Everything in my camera view was big, bold, large, oversize and not for any particular reason. Ok, nothing wrong with that, I guess my eyes needed to sweep in wide spaces, but how do we fit oversize items in small spaces, you might ask? Let’s start by saying that one does not need to have tall ceilings and ballroom type of space to host large objects.

Two bulky bookshelves (as in the photo) will look massive in a small room, but adding a large picture, print, or canvas in between will break the bulkiness, the monotony and will fill the wall nicely. The horizontal lines must be kept on the same level for the eyes to rest peacefully and send a message of harmony to the brain. The same two bulky bookshelves placed side by side in the middle of the wall in a large room will not look so massive any more and it will allow floor space perhaps for a pair of chairs, or a pair of floor lamps on each side of the bookshelves.

I love clocks on the walls, whether they are antiques, contemporaries or reproductions, they are timeless objects of décor. A Grand Central Station wall clock, a Parisian country clock, or a Grand Father’s clock, they all need to be surrounded with the right accessories. An oversize clock hanging on the wall needs a large base, a console, or a credenza under its own weight to eliminate the feeling of “hanging” in space, then the wall feels balanced. Of course to match the right kind of style of chandelier and lighting to the style of the clock would be ideal, but today’s décor permits to go outside the rules and allows personal expression to make a statement and to define the character of the home.

Mirrors: consider them as another kind of windows opened in the walls. They reflect the light and they reflect the beauty, so place them where you can see the beauty elevated to higher power. Mirrors must not be all the same style and look, nobody said that, as matter of fact, more they are different in sizes, shapes and style, higher the interest they will bring to the décor of a room. And if one of the mirror is so large that would be even too heavy to hung, lay it casually against the wall, it will actually give a perception of height and everything reflected in it will look slightly taller. A mirror combination will fill a large wall graciously and a large mirror in a small room will change the status of the room from contained to grand.

Lighting finishes the room like jewelry on a woman’s dress. This is one item of furnishing where we can all go to town due to a wide variety of choices, but remember that the eyes find repose when they meet shadows. It is very nice to have bright light and light beams when we need to see clear, but in some special moments a light glow coming from various planes is so much more refined.

Large items have one advantage: they fill any space magically, clutter is eliminated instantly and so is the desire to accumulate more items.

As seen on Affluent Living: 

Go out there and find the boldest, largest items for your decor and then set them in the most unusual way. Ask yourself what this item makes you feel, what is the emotion that it exudes in the room and how it dictates its presence. If you like to send me pictures, I shall be here to help with any challenges. Ciao,
Valentina

http://www.valentinadesigns.com

Copyright © 2010 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

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Valentina 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.
Check out her books on
Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/9agl5v9
Barnes&Nobles: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/c/valentina-cirasola

Elegance | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

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In a world of exulted cult of the appearances, people tend to live in vanity, exaggerations and in the desire of 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 interpretation of self, other than home fashion.
http://www.valentinadesigns.com/ResidentialProjects/EmeraldHills/EmeraldHillsEntry.html

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.

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 a tasty mussels (black shells) in a pasta specialty served on black plates, with a black drinking glass set, surrounded by black kitchen cabinetry?

I understand that trends must exist, otherwise all kinds of industries will cease to live. Personally, I like to leave trends to those in need of looking the same as everybody else to get their approval. Those are the people who run in pack and if you meet them in the street, you can’t recognize one from the other.

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 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:

********

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 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://tinyurl.com/9agl5v9
Barnes&Nobles: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/c/valentina-cirasola

 

Color Pink On Stage For Valentine’s Day | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

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The color Pink is a color that I am not particularly fond of, but I have learned to appreciate it in some situations. Pink is sweeter than red. It reminds me of the cotton candy and bubble gum I never ate, they just looked too sweet; it reminds me of strawberry ice cream I delighted myself during many Italian summers. Girls between the ages of 10 and 15 years old absolutely adore pink.

We generally associate pink with the femininity and everything delicate. In the mind of some people, pink indicates the weaker sex. Go figure! From time to time, Pink is also seen in men’s fashion, but it is short-lived and it goes in and out of style. I love to see men with some interesting pink garment on!

Both red and pink denote love, but while red stirs up hot passion, pink is romantic. The pink gentle and delicate vibrations have a proven soothing effect on one’s behavior. You could almost say that pink literally fills the heart with love! However, we must be careful, when too much pink is used in an interior space, it can create a floating effect and the illusion of living in a padded and protected environment. LipsSofaIf using Feng Shui theory the best use for pink (Fire color) is in the Earth Element area of one’s space, as it is connected to Love and Marriage. Earth is a productive cycle of the Feng Shui’s five elements.

In designing a room, the Fire energy can be simulated by painting an accent wall in a delicate pink, or by adding some pink in the accessories. The “hot version” of pink is Magenta Pink, which we are seeing more and more often, as it brings a fiery energy, especially when coupled with orange, also a Fire Element color. A beautiful way to bring pink color into one’s personal or business space is to place a bowl of rose quartz crystals, as these rock crystals carry strong natural and healing love vibrations.

Powder room, or creative offices are the perfect spaces to decorate in pink. Use it sparingly in a girl’s bedroom. Combining pink with extravagant colors will show we are not afraid of colors and criticism, but we must know how to do it right.

Besides the marvelous pink and orange combination, pink and green, or pink and black are the best vibrant combinations. In Feng Shui, a sharp-looking pink and green from medium to dark is an active color combination. It brings together the energy of Fire Element (Pink) and Wood (Green). This combination will sooth and strengthen our human energy.

Pink and black together are a very elegant and beautiful “retro” combination, very much used in the style of the ‘20s and ‘30s. In Feng Shui these colors brings out the energies of Fire (Pink) and Deep Water (Black). Black alone represents a Yin feminine energy; it stands for stability and protection, thus it is needed to ground other colors and to dilute the energy of pink. All shades of pink turn from playful, girlish colors into sophisticated colors when combined with black or gray, or shades of blue from medium to dark.

As a career woman and since I passed the age of 15, I would never wear pink shoes, not at work, not for walking at leisure, not at an elegant affair, not for fun either, but that’s just me! A touch of pink in the wardrobe is welcome, but only a touch. I am here to help you getting in touch with any color in your fashion and in your home. My design services include architectural colors analysis and colors for home fashion. For the benefits of my Clients, my color and design services are also available on-line. Please tell others about it and feel free to forward this article to someone you think will enjoy receiving the same tips. Comments are welcomed. Just leave your name in the box below. Ciao,
Valentina

www.Valentinadesigns.com

Copyright © 2010 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved VC copy

Valentina Cirasola is an Italian Interior and 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 turn unattractive spaces into castles. Valentina is knows as a colorist. Her life is a continuous evolvement of colorful events. Author of the forthcoming book on the subject of Colors. Stay tuned! Author of the book: ©Come Mia Nonna–A Return to Simplicity Amazon: http://goo.gl/xUZfk0  Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w  

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Dress With Art | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

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“Dress With Art” is the password of this year unfriendly economy.
Luxury is not a thing of the past yet, but people are spending less. We are all rediscovering quality and we are buying items that are going to last longer, thus we will be throwing away less.
Looking at magazines of the ’40 my mother left in her attic, I am discovering one pattern common to all. The world was at war then, women could not afford many dresses and outfits. To make themselves looking rich, abundant, elegant and to give the impression the war did not affect them, lot of lipstick and make-up was used, in fact cosmetics houses were booming. Women closets were not filled with an overabundance of dresses and outfits. Dresses were the same all year around, just worn differently.  To keep a fresh look on the one and only dress women owned, they would sew it in many ways, they turned it inside out a few times during the year, or they added details, like belts and collars one time and sparkles the next time.

Studying the trends of the end of 2009 and the trends of 2010, it seems we are returning to the ’40 again. Many people I know are returning to sewing and to customize their own clothes (it is so refreshing to see creativity walking in the streets again, versus the same look everywhere) and many people are encouraged to economize on many fronts. Old values are coming back, it boils down to what matters the most.
While people are thinking of creative ways to spend their money, fashion designers are having fun bringing back old comfort. Gloves and hats are reappearing on the scene, just like Donna Karen’s padded shoulders and red lipstick presented last year in Paris and New York (thank you for femininity again). Laura Biagiotti invented a collection named LaurArt in year 2007, to tribute her collections of futurist’s art paintings. Greek fashion creator Mary Katrantzou focused on vintage fatisse bottles of perfume of big houses (Jean-Paul Gaultier, Givenchy, Guerlain …). She adopted the distinctive shapes of these famous bottles to outline women’s bodies.

Fatisse01

Fatisse02

“Dress With Art”  as a concept has entered the home too.  People are buying affordable luxury items making sure it will provide the same comfort and ambience with one added thing: durability.  Many people are considering authentic vintage and old pieces of furniture to be re-faced with an artistic flair. I see much Classicism mixed with some contemporary pieces, competing with strong classic elements in the architecture.
Kitchens are more and more the heart of the house, in fact people are cooking more at home than eating out and grocery stores are booming.
Bathrooms continue to represent the cocooning and the spa at home for relaxation with every possible gadget and novelty: chromo therapy, aroma therapy, music, entertainment, fireplace and fridge for champagne.
With digital art on wall paper, walls don’t have to be painted any more, they can be covered with unique digital art, which is water proof, mold proof, no glue, or water needed. Do you fancy the look of a Roman bath? Find a scenery that suits you, the experts will transfer it digitally on paper. Do you paint art as hobby, or as a  profession? You can have you own art transferred digitally on paper for your own enjoyment. Until you get tired of that scene, the walls don’t have to be painted ever again.
The 2010  trends continue to carry colors on the walls that are emulating the metal finishes, with an aged, hammered or burnished texture, perfect with a neutral palette. Beautiful artistic walls can be created.  The new concept of a functional home is not to overstuff it with lot of nonsense dust collectors, but to have only what matters the most.
Valentina
www.Valentinadesigns.com


Copyright © 2010 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

ValentinaValentina  Interiors & Designs, is an Interior and Fashion design firm.
Valentina, the principal designer and owner 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. Valentina has been featured in Italy on: “Vogue” magazine and many prominent publications in California. She also has made two appearances on T.V. Comcast Channel 15.
Author of the book: ©Come Mia Nonna–A Return to Simplicity
Amazon: http://goo.gl/xUZfk0 and Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w

 

Author of the forthcoming book on the subject of Colors

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