One Day In Napa | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Design

Moving away from the chaotic metropolitan area feels very good, I can already taste the pleasure of wines. Leaving behind the super crowded freeway and slipping down a country road feels even better. Nature starts to feel real and aromatic. The sound of the wine train that takes visitors from one vineyard to another reminds me very much of the local train in Puglia of many years ago with the beautiful round and imposing façade of an old smokey locomotive. The train greets us in the wine valley. Life here starts to appear slower and not marked by time, the only time that really needs to be marked is the harvest of the grapes.

(Click on each photo to view it larger).

Sattui Winery

 

Locomotive wine train

Locomotive wine train

It’s so nice to see long stretches of land planted with vineyards, everything is so lush and bucolic. I start to see the Mediterranean style homes the old Italian emigrants preferred, and old Victorian-style homes built before 1887, wrought iron on doors and gates, wine barrels everywhere as decorative items of stores and vineyards.

The air is sultry, of course, it’s a valley away from the sea breeze. Grapes don’t like winds or an abrupt change of weather, they like it hot and calm.

 

Napa View

Napa Vineyards

 

Middle-class people inhabit the outskirt of the wine valley, they are mostly workers of the vineyards, homes are down to earth and convenience stores serve them. The change in lifestyle is immediately noticeable when approaching the fancy vineyard establishments where people go for wine tasting and shopping for high-class or imported food. Here, days go by tasting wines, eating specialty food, and international variety of cheeses. I think that’s the reason people are so relaxed here. Life is easier when it is not stuck in the same groove.

Sultriness

Mid-Day Sultriness

 

 

Napa Historic Building

 

The views are beautiful, no matter what. St.Helena is very posh, art stores, tourist shops, boutiques, and decorating shops cater to sophisticated people. Prices and originality are very high, I love to discover them all, at least I get my eyes filled with creativity.
This Italian original wine press is from around the 1700s, I would love to have it for my garden, next to my Bacchus’s face hanging on the wall.

ItalianWinePress

ItalianWinePress

Home décor stores appeal to me more than anything else. In this store, the atmosphere is dark and minimalist. It displays home items generally a family with kids will not choose to have. The furniture here is theatrical and very playful.

 

Store Display

What do you do with a metal mannequin dressed in a cotton funky dress or with a rusted bucket and a thick rope spilling out? Nothing, they are nice details that make you wonder. The stone wall behind the bucket gives that natural character, in fact, stones, and metal are two elements found in nature. Between the 1950s-70s a lot of homes had stone interior walls as an accent, then builders got away from using stones and started to build homes without characters, resembling more like shoe boxes.

 

Ropes-Rusty-Vessel

This table is set for people who like to converse on intelligent topics, while they are sipping a lot of wine and eating small morsels of food, that’s the way I imagine it. It’s dark, minimalist, metal plates, golden tone flatware, glass top table, tall back wicker chairs, but I don’t think a lot of eating is happening here. This décor is suited for single people, high rollers, definitely not for a family with kids.

Table-Setting

Table-Setting

I love this swivel chair, it feels like a seed pod.

 

Flag Swivel Chair

Flag Swivel Chair

I was intrigued by these bergère chairs, they feel very baroque in style, except the legs are too short and the backs too high. They have been revisited in a modern key.

 

NapaStore

Napa Store

What I am trying to prove with this post is that an interior décor style must fit your lifestyle, otherwise, as beautiful or posh it might be, you will never feel comfortable in it. I will be happy to help you find your style. Ciao,
Valentina
http://www.valentinadesigns.com

 

Copyright © 2020 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

 

Valentina

Valentina 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. Valentina is well-known for bringing originality on any project and for thinking outside the box. Her interiors are not made with cookie cutters, they only follow the client’s inspiration, lifestyle, and personality. She offers online design consultations through Skype or Zoom and the traditional in-house consultations, helping people with their design challenge anywhere in the world.  She is the author of five books.

Amazon – Barnes&Noble

 

 

 

 

 

Space and Inspiration | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

I am so honored I have been featured with my article Space and Inspiration on the site of Author James J. Cudney IV,  in the Tips and Advice section, where authors can share their tips on any subject they love. My topics always gravitate around design, style, and colors, that’s what I do the best since I have conducted my design business for three decades and not showing signs of wanting to quit.

In this article, the ceiling is the protagonist. I talk about how the ceilings might play a good role in inspiring writers. Some of my pictures show extravagant ceilings of places I have visited in Europe. I am not saying that to have an inspiration, a writer must have one of those highly decorated and historical ceilings to be able to write.

Inspiration can come from anything, even from a stone, or from a dollop of butter curled in an unusual way. It happened to me a long time ago, when looking at that dollop of butter on my plate, I ended up designing the exterior part of a home in Italy.

It’s easier for me to look up above if I am waiting for something to come to me, a spiritual, artistic, or a fantasy inspiration. That phrase my father pronounced “You are not going to find it on the floor” stuck with me ever since.

Tips-Advice-Graphic

Tips-Advice by Valentina Cirasola

Click the graphic above or the link below here to enjoy the article.
I hope you have an inspirational space to write or do your creative work. If you don’t, I am an email or a phone call away.

Tips & Advice: Products & Services – Valentina Designs Space & Inspiration

Permit me just a little shameless promotion of my book on Colors, available in paperback and ebook version on Amazon and Barnes&Noble:
©Red- A Voyage Into Colors, Second Edition. It will help to shed a light on all the benefits, including health and wellness, colors will bring into our life.

RED-SecondEdition-Cover

RED-A Voyage Into Colors, Second Edition

Thank you, James, you are a great person with a big heart, I would have never met you without the internet. Ciao.
Valentina 
http://www.valentinadesigns.com

Copyright © 2020 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

Valentina Cirasola is an interior-fashion designer, author of 5 published books, a storyteller, and a blogger of many years. She has conceived a few new books of various subjects to which she is working simultaneously. Her books are non-fictional practical ideas to apply in the home, fashion, cooking, and travel. She never gives up trying new things and doesn’t fear failure. A couple of years ago, Valentina became a TV producer/host producing shows under her label: Valentina Design Universe. The goal of her shows is to entertain, inspire, and inform, while she is living her passion. Get a copy of her books here: Amazon and Barnes&Noble 

 

 

 

 

Reminiscence | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

I don’t know why suddenly one of my clients came to my mind today, she was the owner of this house. She was a very tall woman, her weight, which was well distributed on her body gave her a powerful presence. She met me at one of my “colors” speaking engagements when I surprise people talking about the emotions colors produce on human beings. She hired me just to fix the grey and beige colors of her home, interiors, and exterior. She gave me permission to go bold with colors but not the furniture. She left all her traditional furniture in place.
The colors I selected required very modern and stylish furniture and although she was very happy about the vibrant colors, I was disappointed to not being able to finish her interiors with great furniture that would have emphasized the colors and made her home an artistic place.

(Click on each photo to view it larger).

DiningArea2

Kitchen Dining Area – Original colors

This home was designed with a split floor, a very popular layout in the ’70s and ’80s. I love this concept of open views from any level while maintaining each area separately. She left this world at age 42 and only enjoyed her colors for a short year. Her sister, who still lives in New York, left me and my realtor in charge of the sale the house and all the contents. It was on the market for only one week, an Indian family fell in love with the colors and bought it.

For some reason, today I was thinking of her. I looked at all the pictures of her project, upstairs, downstairs, the garden patio and I noticed that the style of her furniture would have done very well in a 1950s magazine.
I played with photoshop on a few pictures and turned her colorful home into the mid-century style.

DiningArea-B&W

Kitchen-Dining Area – 50’s magazine style

Comparing the mid-century style I created with the original pictures, I must say, I still like the games of colors I put in this house.

Living

Living Area – Original Colors

 

Living Area

Living Area – Sepia tone

This is her cute patio, we sat there for coffee many times when I was overseeing this work. All her plants, garden fixtures, statues, and table sets now live in my garden.

Garden 1

Garden Patio View 1

 

Garden Patio View 2

Garden Patio View 2

It felt good to indulge in reminiscence, I heard her voice and the expression of happiness when the paintwork was completed.

Do you want to know how colors affect you emotionally? This is the book you want to get in Kindle or paperback format.

RED-SecondEdition-Cover

RED-A Voyage Into Colors, Second Edition – Valentina Cirasola

Ciao,
Valentina
http://www.valentinadesigns.com
Amazon Author’s Page

 

Copyright © 2020 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

Valentina Cirasola is an interior-fashion designer, author of 5 published books, a storyteller, and a blogger of many years. She has conceived a few new books of various subjects to which she is working simultaneously. Her books are non-fictional practical ideas to apply in the home, fashion, cooking, and travel. She never gives up trying new things and doesn’t fear failure. A couple of years ago, Valentina became a TV producer/host producing shows under her label: Valentina Design Universe. The goal of her shows is to entertain, inspire and inform, while she is living her passion. Get a copy of her books here:
Amazon: http://goo.gl/xUZfk0
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w

What’s Up Peeps? | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

The coronavirus has brought all of us to our knees, everyone I know is sheltered-in, but not everyone I know is doing good emotionally. Some of my friends cannot work due to the nature of the work they do and some others work from home. Some people are getting depressed and some are very happy with the slow, downtime as they realized their life was on the accelerated mode. Many people have rediscovered their homes and the people they live with and some other people are getting farther apart, too much closeness might not be a good thing for them and they are just finding out.

I heard the divorce lawyers are on stand by. I also heard that in China, after the lockdown for the coronavirus was over, there has been an increase of divorces by 30%. I also read a funny advertisement from a realtor, it said:
“At the end of the quarantine, if you decide you can’t stand the people you live with, remember I’m your Realtor” and I will add: “I am your Designer, I can design a new home for you, finally the way you want it”.

Everyone is doing something online to spend time in a productive way. Since we must stay home, why not loving where we must be for a while? I am producing daily short videos on how certain home items have come about, their history, their meaning in dreams if we happen to dream about them, and how they have evolved through time. I came up with the idea of “The Evolution Of A Home”. I love history, the human race wouldn’t be here if it hadn’t made history good or bad.
My daily episodes are intended to inform, entertain and keep each other’s company. I hope you like them.

 

So far I produced nine shows, all on my Youtube channel. https://www.youtube.com/user/designsvalentina  
Follow me if you like and if you need me at this time, I offer consultations online. Nothing is simpler than to connect with a video and give you some of my sage advice. Ciao,
Valentina
http://www.valentinadesigns.com

Amazon Author’s Page 

 

Copyright © 2020 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.
Check out one of my books on the subject of colors, ©RED-A Voyage Into Colors, Second Edition.
Amazon: https://amzn.to/2Bxhq08
Barnes&Noble: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w

You Are the Glass | Valentina Cirasola | Designer and Author

“A pile of sand made you, strong but fragile, soft and malleable, sharp and smooth. You melt under the delicate touch of the forger. You face fire with courage as if nothing happens in that hot furnace, but something does happen. You become sensual, your curves are more sinuous than a curvy woman, you take on brilliant colors for the pleasure of your admirers’ eyes and you come out shaped into a masterpiece. We want to possess you. We want to caress and feel you, we want to shelter your fragility, we want your shapes to embellish our life. You are the GLASS”.

I wrote this thought one day at a client’s house. I was putting the final touches together, beautiful accessories, scented natural candles, shimmering crystals, skillfully decorated ceramic plates by French and Italian artists, colorful lamps and the glass peppers on the kitchen island. I fell in love with them. They looked juicy and appetizing in their glass form just as much as they do in real life. They vibrate healthy energy. It took a bit of an effort with this particular client to show her that colors exude positive energy and she needed so badly in her all-beige home. Now she is totally into colors and even when she gets dressed, she asks herself if Valentina would love the colors she is selecting. If the answer in her mind is NO, she will not put it on. I must have converted another person to colors.

Glass Red Pepper

Glass Red Pepper

As an Italian, I grew up appreciating the beauty of Murano glass. The art of Murano is unparallel, colorful, transparent like tissue paper, delicate and precious. It always fascinated me how a pile of sand can be transformed into something so mesmerizing. One moment seems the glass lays there lifeless and as soon as the light goes through, it picks up a totally different dimension, inside the glass every little nuance comes alive.

I was at an art and wine fair this weekend and I fell in love with tall glass flowers, glass teapots, and glass sculptures, I would have brought home everything I saw.

 

Giant Glass Flowers

Giant Glass Flowers

 

Glass Teapots

Glass Teapots

 

Glass Sculpture

Glass Sculpture

Picture one of these colorful pieces in each room of modern sleek décor, one of those style with very straight lines, black and grey color combination and very minimalist. Do you see it? One of these art pieces will add color and character to minimalist room décor.

So many artists, so many ideas, so many choices. Going to fairs and art shows is one of the many ways I help clients. I find items they might overlook, or have no access to it.
I hope one of these glass artists will want to appear on one of my TV shows, the invitation has been extended. Ciao,
Valentina
http://www.valentinadesigns.com 

Copyright © 2019 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

Valentina with short hairValentina 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. Valentina is well-known for bringing originality on any project and for thinking outside the box. Her interiors are not made with cookie cutters, only follow client’s inspiration, lifestyle, and personality. She offers online design consultations through Skype or Zoom, as well as the traditional in-house consultations, helping people with their design challenge anywhere in the world.  She is the author of five books. The two latest published books are ©The Road To Top Of The World – Amazon – https://tinyurl.com/y7tuyfh8 
and ©Naked Lemons – Amazon – https://amzn.to/33bVRyQ
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w

 

Why Humans Make Art? | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

Last week I appeared on KMVT 15 TV in the show Why Human Make Art. Producer Adek Anukai sees my interior design profession as art and art as an expression of life. This is is very true. Each one of us makes art every day, whether we procreate, we design a home or a garden, whether we cook exceptional meals or the way we build cities and illuminate stores, whether we create fashion or extravagantly wear clothes, whether we learn ballet, play a musical instrument, or to drive creatively like Italians. I don’t believe people who say they are not creative. Every one of us makes some artistic expression.

(Click on each photo to view it larger).

Sunglasses Mirror

©Sunglasses Mirror by Valentina Cirasola

Prologue by Producer Adek Anukai:
The psychologist Nathan Lents, believes that “throughout history, much artwork was made for no other explicit purpose than the production of beauty.”
Merriam-Webster dictionary defines art as “something that is created with imagination and skill and that is beautiful or that expresses important ideas or feelings.”
It seems that the common drive in making art is to produce “beauty”.
Even at the dawn of mankind, humans drew pictures, danced, and sung. From the cave paintings to the breathtaking works of Leonardo Da Vinci, was the motivation the same?  We paint, compose, sing, dance, write. We design beautiful dresses, jewelry, and decorate houses.  We create new ways of expressing ourselves through the creation of “beauty”.

Remembering one of Dostoevsky’s affirmations: “Beauty Will Save the World.” And it will. In beauty there is harmony, in harmony, there is peace, in peace there is prosperity and in prosperity, there is a good healthy life.

During the show, the producer asked me: “Art does not seem to be critical for our survival and in most cases has not been financially rewarding. Actually, for most people, being an artist is a lifetime uphill battle, but it does not stop anyone. Why not?”

Most of us have the desire to leave something to posterity. Often artists make art to prolong life into the future, even when they are recognized as great artists only after their death.

Natura Morta

©Natura Morta by Valentina Cirasola 

Art is a kind of rebellion. Nobody stops producing art even when is not profitable. Through art, people express their anger, anxiety, contentment, happiness, social events, or just memories.
I remember when I returned from Africa the first time I went there, the only thing I wanted to paint was the mesmerizing sunset I saw, bold and colorful. I wanted to immortalize a spectacle I had never seen before, a sky at dusk with purple, red, yellow, orange streaks, sometimes all mixed together. To these days I can’t forget those bold colors in the sky and even though the canvases I painted are no longer with me, those sunsets are sculpted in my mind.

Sunsets

Exotic Sunsets

 

People making art keep pushing even when nature creates impossible barriers. Deafness does not stop composers and blindness does not stop painters from creating their artworks. Artists want to defy destiny and prove that anything is possible because “beauty” is the only thing humans want to be surrounded.

Guest Bath Concept Two

©Guest Bath – Concept Two

 

Guest Bath Concept One

©Guest Bath – Concept One

The producer/host of the talk show went on comparing my interior design work to modern art. He wondered how challenging must be to interpret everybody’s taste and creating spaces where people feel their lives have improved. Yes, it is very challenging, but that’s what I chose to do.
The show will air in September 2019. Ciao,
Valentina
http://www.valentinadesigns.com

 

Copyright © 2019 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

 

Valentina with short hairValentina Cirasola has been a lifetime designer in interiors and fashion. Her extensive training and knowledge in both fields 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 colors in the style fit for each of her special clients. She also focuses on color theory and psychology to transform people’s life.
She is the author of ©RED – A Voyage Into Colors, Second Edition.
Amazon and Barnes&Noble

Check out her latest books, a travel narrative ©The Road to Top Of The World

 

 

Colors Of Barcelona | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

Ah Barcelona….! The city of dancing colors, as I call it. I was there last year between Thanksgiving and Christmas, it was cold, but the amazing colors of the city knocked off the winter darkness from me and made me feel warm inside. Color, style and funky shapes are everywhere. As I am approaching to return, I can see the colors all over again enveloping me in their warm sunny light.

(Click on each photo to view it larger).

The undulating building Architect Antoni Gaudí designed are the quintessential of extraordinary, a precursor of his time who was much criticized for his outlandish ideas of conceiving buildings. Nobody had built anything like that before him and nothing compares to the art of Antoni Gaudí. He left an invaluable and astounding patrimony the world admires breathlessly. The city is happy, colors affect people and their life. They are up all night strolling the streets, eating and drinking through the small hours of the night and  I have not found one rude person there!

Every nuance of color has its own taste. The greens are luxuriant, the blues echoes the sea and sky, the reds and the purples are juicy like strawberries and plums. Nothing is dull. In this kind of environment is hard not to live in full colors. If I ought to have a flat in Barcelona, I would decorate it exactly as I made my color scheme palette, modern in style, hip and funky.

Barcelona Style
(Photo credit is given to each owner of each piece of furniture seen in my board above)

I would use all the colors of energy in the kitchen, dining, great room, and living; I would reserve the colors of relaxation, blues and the greens in bedroom and baths; I would paint in beige, cream and light browns all transition areas, study, and library, but when I get to my home office I would treat it a funky way to make each working day pleasant and playful.

What do you say? Can you handle all these colors throughout the entire home? Or after a while, you would need a detached house to get away from the energy of all these colors? Ciao,
Valentina
http://www.valentinadesigns.com

Copyright © 2014 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

Val Admiring World Valentina Cirasola is an Italian Fashion-Interior 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. 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

Curvaceous As A Woman | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

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Many times I wonder why people think cabinets intended for kitchens and baths must be just square boxes lined up like soldiers either on the walls or on the floor. Cabinets are utilitarian items and must serve a purpose of storing lot of cooking arsenal, food and products. Their functionality determines their bulky status, we know that, but we can at least improve their look by using certain strategies.
Mixing expensive wood on few panels with less expensive wood is a way to save and improve; mixing colors adds interest and movement. Using recycled wood, or hammered metal doors here and there will give your guests something to talk about. Counter tops don’t have to be all the same colors and the same materials and islands don’t have to be a box either. Once I saw an old Queen Ann dining table made into an island with the cooktop in the center of the table, Jonny Grey design – photo below.

Johnny Grey

 

Kitchen and bath cabinets I see around are so uniform, so even, so square, so boxy and so boring! They are as common as they can be.
I didn’t have to become a designer to like different things, shapes and forms. I became a designer just because my thinking is different and I can offer so many solutions to the people I want to serve.
Let me tell you, curves in home furnishing and cabinetry have never gone out of fashion, just like curvaceous women have always existed in history, in paintings and even more so in modern times. In fact plastic surgery enhancing those parts of a woman God forgot to add, or just about, is producing more curvaceous women than ever before.

Curved lines in kitchen cabinetry create rhythm and flow other than saving floor space, as we all know those 2 or 3 inches make a difference on a floor plan. Curved corners bring so much harmony in the stark look of any cabinetry. Look at this elegant kitchen curio cabinet I designed for one of my client.


Think of a kitchen space as a whole, don’t look at the price of the curved cabinetry. Choose warm color wood species, add warm colors in the hard surfaces material and walls; open up some cabinets by adding glass door front with interior glass shelves and lighting; mix closed cabinets with open shelves and just wait to see how pleasurable the kitchen will be.
Curves in bathroom cabinetry make an easier flow with fewer points of danger. Curved cabinetry fit well in contemporary décor as well as in traditional style.

Producing custom-made curved cabinetry has many advantages and no disadvantages that I can list, contrary to what most people think. The cost to produce curves is higher than boxy, squared cabinets, I agree, but originality is priceless, in this world of “common looks and common places”. Would you not like to enter your kitchen or bathroom and say to yourself: “Yes, this is me!”. I think you would, especially when guided by a designer that will follow your dreams and allow that to happen. Today, being original is a way to preserve your personality and your soul.

Furthermore, consider that home fashion décor doesn’t change every three months as fashion does, so it makes sense investing once in a good cabinetry material made with superior craftsmanship that will last more than a decade, thus stretching your money for a long period of time. 

This cabinet made of hare wood is original in design, fills up a dead corner intelligently, parades its beauty every day and it is there to stay for years to come with much of my client’s satisfaction who doesn’t have to spend more money to redesign the space in two years again.

Don’t be afraid of using expensive woods on small cabinetry, it beautifies the space with only a small amount of dollars.
Tell me about your storage challenges, I will resolve it with style, beauty and save you money at the same time. That is my goal.
Valentina
http://www.Valentinadesigns.com

Copyright © 2010 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

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Valentina Cirasola, the principal designer and owner of Valentina Interior & Designs 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 and home fashion. Valentina was featured in Italy on: “Vogue” magazine and many prominent publications in California. She also has made two appearances on T.V. Comcast Channel 15.
Valentina is also the author of two Italian regional cookbooks and the forthcoming author of the book on 
©RED-A Voyage Into Colors.  Find them on:
Amazon: http://goo.gl/xUZfk0
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w

Ciao Mamma | Valentina Cirasola | Designer

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Girl-Pink-Green-1aThe Mother – a Queen of every household. My mom sure was The Queen and a lot more! She was our friend and confidant, the angel of our home. Today, I think she was named Angela not by mistake, I think there is a correlation between her name and who she was in her life. Her blond hair was like a golden aura around her face, her blue eyes were so transparent, one could see inside of her soul. Some of her friends thought her eyes reflected the bluish-green water of Adriatic sea in Italy, where we lived.

She was a simple person with a big heart and strong believes. She had empathy and was always ready to help others.
In her early life as a young lady, she was forced into learning to sew, but she would have preferred to go to school to become a psychologist. She was into people, could understand their problems and always gave her helping hand to resolve some rough situations people could not resolve on their own.

“Put a passion in everything you do and make the best of what you have” she kept telling us. This is what she did when she was forced in that trade, but after a while, she became such an expert in the field of sewing that she turned it into a lifetime business. And boy she was good! Her dress designs were in a high demand. She produced only exclusive, one of kind garment for the élite clientele.

(Above Simplicity magazine)

She found her inspiration in magazines like Mademoiselle and Simplicity and made those patterns much better. “Simplicity is the key of elegance” she kept saying. I learned that so well, that I made it the motto of my life. Actually, to that, I added mine: “When life is simple and easy, God answers”.

WWII was a time of scarcity, but for my mom was a time of increased creativity.
She made original dresses out of scrap fabrics. I remember her telling me stories of improvisation and studying better ways to get the most of everything, food, clothing and all the necessary elements of living.

During the war-time, she was photographed many times in one blue-white polka dots dress, which was turned over many times around. One time she had added white-collar and white cuffs, the next time she took off the white details and added red buttons and a red belt. “Make the best of what’s available to you”.

My mom was good at creating fashionable hats also with scraps of materials. Hats of the ’40s were so elegant and feminine.

She faced a lot of adversities in life that made her a tough human being, but she never complained. She thought that out of every adversity there is always something good to learn and found the way to turn any negative experience into a positive one. I am so grateful for this precious teaching.
Her love for life was exceptional.

In the early part of my career, I became a fashion designer, even though she kept repeating: “The needle is very small but very heavy. Go to school and learn a profession instead”. I could not help being attracted by her amazing creations. With a few elegant movements and a few folding and draping of fabrics onto mannequins, she would make any piece of cloth come alive into a beautiful dress. I must thank her for my love of colors, fabrics, and fashion, all the things I took from her and made a successful career for myself. I must thank her for the well-decorated home we lived in, simple and functional, but full of people who brought us much love. Simplicity is the rule I live by. I must thank her for showing me what really matters the most in life and for teaching how any hardship can be turned into a positive experience.

Today, in my career of interior designer, I do well just because my mom taught me how to be into people, how to listen to their problems and how to resolve them. After 20 years of serving a variegated group of people, I am still having a load of fun.
Long live mamma in our hearts and in the hearts of all the people you touched.
Valentina
Interior Designer
in business since 1990 and loving it!

Fashion Services
https://valentinadesigns.com/services#fashion-services

 

 

 

Copyright © 2010 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

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Valentina Cirasola is a trained Fashion and Interior Designer, born in Italy in a family of artists. Style surrounded her since the beginning of her life. Her many years of experience led her to offer consultations in both specializations and now she can remodel homes as well as personal images. She is passionate about colors and encourages her clients to express their individual style in their homes and with the clothes they wear. To better help people all over the world, she offers consultations online. She is the author of three books. Get your copy of Valentina’s book on colors: ©RED-A Voyage Into Colors on

Amazon: http://goo.gl/qNxXrB

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

 

 

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Conversation With A Client | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

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Dear Valentina,
In magazines, marble seems to be the first choice for the master bathroom. I like the traditional look of white or crème marble, but it is more maintenance. I have Corian now with no maintenance. It is great. But I want to be more upscale, age well and the “in look” for resale.
I saw honed beige travertine vanity and floor tile to match. I think honed shows more finger prints. Isn’t travertine softer than marble?
I looked at marble. Seems it’s hard to match the counter top with the floor tiles. Several places had pre-cut counter top slabs but no matching floor tile. Should the vanity match the floor? Can you do granite vanity with marble floors? I have a sample porcelain tile that looks like limestone at home.
I like it, but can I mix it with marble or a quartz countertop. Should I go all natural stone, or all porcelain and quartz?

What is the trend for upscale bathrooms? The bathroom I’m replacing, was remodeled in 1990, but It looks 1980’s. So what look would age well? More important: what’s best for resale. My 2 other bathrooms are light color wood cabinets with white Corian. Do I need to carry the white color to all the bathrooms? Is it important that all the bathrooms be similar? Should the cabinets all be light or can one be dark? For a formal look, would chrome or polished nickel look better?

Has building green really caught on? Then quartz would be in? Do you think quartz will be the replacement for granite? The granite look has been around for a long time, so when does it change? I think all granite kitchens are too heavy-looking. I looked at caesarstone, silestone, and zodiac.
I think quartz maybe more appropriate in the kitchen. But is it the next look?
The big question: what is upscale, ages well and good for resale in a pale color for a master bathroom?
Thanks for you advice.
Wendy

Dear Wendy,
I would like to say one simple thing to show you how people think when in the process of buying a home:
Resale value is something people have in their mind, but it exist only to a certain extend. Why?
People buy homes mainly because of location, school district and square footage, followed by all the amenities such as how many bedrooms, closets, how many baths, how many kitchens, how many cars can fit into a garage, balconies, terraces, butler pantry, home automation, high-tech solutions, interior elevators, European doors, home theatre, wine cellars, home office, back yard, landscaping, lighting, and to an infinity of items.
People don’t buy homes because of colors in the bathrooms, or any other rooms, ever!
Having said that, any choice you make right now to improve your bathroom thinking it will sell better, 99% of the time, will be remodeled again by the new owner. New home owners will always try to add their own style to the home previously owned by somebody else. It’s our way to mark our territory.
So, please take my advice: remodel the bathroom(s) for your own pleasure and in your own style, enjoy it while you are living there and don’t worry about who is coming after you.

(Photo HGTV Scott Mayoral)

About the stones:
Marble is always more attractive, elegant, sophisticated and at times more expensive than granite, or anything else. It does add value to the bathroom and therefore makes it “upscale”. But “Upscale” is a perception, is an image sent to the eye. Anything can be upscale, even corian and avonite, depending on how people use stones and how they mix them together. I can arrange unexpressive stones in a gorgeous design and make it upscale.
Travertino filled or not filled is a lime stone, therefore brittle, but nonetheless durable. In Italy we have used it since the Roman times, buildings are still there and have been under the weather for centuries.
Vanity and floor are two different entities, you can match it, or you can do something totally different, there is no rule, whatever strikes your fancy.

(Photo credit given to the owner).

Bathrooms don’t need to be similar and no color need to be carried from bathroom to bathroom, otherwise why would we make a distinction between Master Bath, Powder Room and Guest Baths?

You asked me if dark cabinetry are better for resale value. I like to know who makes up these rules. The only so-called “rule” to follow is:
lighter counter top, dark cabinet and darker counter top, lighter cabinet. This is what people do, but let me assure you, it is not my rule.

(Photo: Louise Blue Granite – Brazil)
There is never going to be a replacement for granite, people like it! It is easy to care for and maintaining, it is natural and durable, plenty available in plenty colors and in a variety of prices. Also granite can be found in so many fun finishes: polished, honed, tumbled, leather effect and many more.
I am finding that many of my clients appreciate the leather effect on granite and use it as an accent stone. They might use it only for a kitchen island, or for a small counter in powder rooms, or as a top for a piece of furniture. This finish is a bit more expensive than any other finishes, but if used wisely will add so much more value and beauty to a remodeling project.

Granite can be used as flooring, counter tops, window sills, table tops, door knobs, lighting switchplates, landscaping and many more, applications are endless.

I particularly don’t like the granite with a compact look filled with speckles, it has no life and it is boring. I like the granite with lot of movement and open fields. The lines must be book matched when joining the seems to make a continuous design, then you will see nature in a playful mood!
When spending money on any stone, make it attractive and a conversational piece.
You mentioned the caesarstone, silestone, and zodiac. Fine stones too, with attractive colors and mostly contemporary colors. They are man-made and there is nothing wrong with them, but they are not less expensive than granite, as most people think. Silestone is nothing but crushed marble chips fused together with silicon.

“Building Green” is real among those people who understand the concept and can afford it. Unfortunately, prices of the “eco-friendly material” are still way too expensive and discourage people from using them.

For a formal look, some people even use gold polished or satin chrome, or crystal. The hardware finishes must follow the style of your bathroom.
You might fall in love, as I did, with a total glass blue faucet, as in my photograph. This faucet can be placed in a formal, elegant and extravagant bath. It is such a beauty! The hardware is polished chrome and glass. This is formal enough to me, even though it has a modern style. (Photo: James McKelvey)

What if, let’s suppose your formal look is Old Europe? You will never use chrome hardware, but oil rubbed bronze instead, to emulate antiquity.
It all depends what formal means to you. Define formal, you will have the answer.
I want to conclude by saying that, in the perfect design world, there are no rules, thank God. It is all about YOU, the client !!!
What you like, what makes you feel good and what you can afford are all the rules! Nothing is written in “Stone”.

I am always available to resolve any design challenges. Love to hear your comments, or your friends’ comments, if you like to forward this article to someone else.
Designed regards,
Valentina
Interior Designer
in business since 1990 and loving it!
www.Valentinadesigns.com

Copyright © 2010 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

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Valentina Cirasola is an Italian Interior and Fashion Designer, working in the USA and Europe. She marries well fashion and interior in any of her design work. She loves to remodel homes and loves to turn unattractive spaces into castles.
Author of the forthcoming book on the subject of colors,  ©RED-A Voyage Into Colors. Stay tuned!
Amazon: http://goo.gl/xUZfk0
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w

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