Going Up | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

How can I forget where I grew up and where my roots are so firmly embedded?

“You are not going to find it on the floor!” I heard it often from my father. It was his way to teach me to walk proud with my head high. Walking with my head high I learned to discover beautiful architectural on top of buildings and all the details that are not at eye level for everybody to enjoy.

The streets of Italy are an open art class where walking is a real learning experience. Nude statues coexist well with people dressed in the latest fashion. Once I stayed in a hotel in Venice facing a beautiful nude of a man sculpted in marble. He was so real, I could see every vein going through his muscles and yet he sat on top of a church looking directly into my window, as sinful as he could possibly appear, almost saying:
“I am here, enjoy me!”
Ah, Venice, the only city in the world where pigeons walk, lions fly and sexy men are stones!

(Click on each photo to view it larger).

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In Venice, it is common to find, in one street alone, broken pediments and eyebrows windows, neoclassical and Romanic style, Moorish windows and Baroque style, all competing to maintain a place in history. One might wonders who was the lucky patrician family to live there. Today, too often commoners are the lucky ones, people or offices who don’t even have the time to notice the beauty of their bulding.

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Balconies decorate young and old buildings, they are almost like urban gardens so much sought after today. In reality, space in Italy is limited, people live in flats, for centuries balconies have been seen as an escape valve from the four walls surrounding the lives of everyone. Behind those plants on the balconies, Italians see, observe and keep the secrets of the neighbor’s life unfolding before our eyes.

If ceilings, which are not made of stones are highly decorated. In modern living, often ceilings are the forgotten walls making the room looked unfinished. In Italy, we like to eat under art, coves and circular shapes, the geometry of roundness gives vibrations of security and harmony.

In the southern parts of Italy, all the constructions are made with terrace roofs to enjoy eating ‘al fresco’ and soaking the Mediterranean sun without being seen, but in the colder north, the characteristic ‘comignoli’ chimneys line the sky. Many wealthy Californians have embellished their Tuscan style homes with copies of our Italian comignoli and ‘faccioni’ cherub’s faces stuck to walls as garden planters. The sophistication and elegance of those stone faces change any non-descriptive house into a classical villa of the past, however the Italians who are lucky to have an outdoor space, most likely will use walls, beams and stone heaves to dry produce for the winter.

My fashion school in Italy is an ancient building born first as a nunnery, then it became the state police headquarter, until in modern days, it became a fashion school. Going up those marble stairs made 400 years ago, warped in the center I felt a great sense of respect towards history. All of us students walked on each side of the stairs to preserve them a little while longer.

I never did find anything on the floor, except a few red cents.

This is in response to WP weekly photo challenge theme UP.  http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/04/19/weekly-photo-challenge-up-2

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, classicism, stylish and timeless designs have influenced Valentina’s design work. 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. Find her books on
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w
Amazon: http://goo.gl/xUZfk0

 

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The Distinctive Direction Of Italian Fall Home Fashion | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

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A few months ago, I had the idea of declaring the month of October the month of Italian style. Many presentations will occur this month in the Bay Area, one of them will be the event I have organized with Frette store in Stanford Shopping Centre, Palo Alto, CA. Frette is an Italian house producing luxury bed and bath items since 1860.
In October Frette is celebrating its 150th Anniversary with a new collection simply called “Anniversario”. It is my interest as a designer, to present the new Fall line and show my audience how to use it, in addition to talk about the distinctive direction Italian home design is taking this Fall 2010.

Fashion and home design are two separate disciplines always intertwining and taking oxygen from one another.
Since the beginning of time, the human body has determined any project of building. The reflection on the human body has been the vehicle that made people want to paint the body, to dress it, to build cities, to build homes and their interiors and to design our entire surroundings.

The Italian word “abito” (English: dress) takes from the verb “abitare” (English: to live, to inhabit). The dress is the first place our body lives in and the body offers infinite possibilities to relate ourselves to the surrounding space. Fashion gives us the freedom and fantasy to dress how we want and the freedom to compose our own style in homes.

To dress a home goes far beyond colors and fabrics, it is the thread, which resolves the human body’s architectural spatial challenges and satisfies the human desire to be surrounded by functional and beautiful objects.
Dressing an Italian home interior is quite simple as long as lines and forms are kept at a minimal. As an Italian born, I can say that Italians live in antiquity, we open our windows and history surrounds us, but in our homes we are very modern, we like simple, straight lines and very few bold colors.

Leather Floor

(Photo ref leather floor: http://www.stonepeakceramics.com/products-collections-tiles.php?coll=TOUCH&linea=FIRE)

A leather red floor would be perfect for a home studio with satin chrome furniture frames mixed with glass, as much as a white/beige striped closet doors would look so elegant on a white marble floor. Play it tone on tone and never go wrong.
Italian kitchens are not at all fussy, but functionality is a must, color is optional, they are either very colorful, we like Ferrari red by the way, or very black, greige (combination of grey and beige) and rivers of white. Forget the kitchen knickknacks all together.

(Photo taken by ©Valentina Cirasola with home owner’s permission) – (Click on each photo to view it larger).
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Italian living rooms are made for “fare bella figura” – an Italian philosophy to present a good image, to make a good impression. Our guests, when entering an Italian home, musty be greeted by beautiful things and be seated in an even more elegant room, which in some cases, the family hardly uses for themselves just to keep it new as long as possible.

Baths must have the minimal essentials and powder rooms do not exist.

Space in Italy is the essence. Italy is a small country, its homes reflect the restriction of space. In comparison with American homes, I must say Italian homes are very small, but they are very fashionable and efficient. If you visit a building with eight apartments, you will see eight different home styles, each one being very creative and á la page. In one of those eight styles, you bound to find a classic antique décor too.

Fashion and home design are two sides of the same creative coin, they both thrive on ideas and innovations.

Dress your home according to your character and personalize it as you would put together your fashion ensemble in the morning.
Carry a color scheme from room to room, mix modern with antique pieces, play with patterns, make art out of your memories and cherished moments, show your personality, be extravagant in small spaces, don’t forget to decorate cozy outdoor corners and make a “bella figura” with the main entry.

Hiring a professional designer, especially an Italian designer like myself will assure you the perfect look of an Italian home. I am ready to offer you my services, if you are. Ciao,

Valentina

http://www.valentinadesigns.com

Copyright © 2010 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

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Valentina Cirasola is an Italian Interior Designer in business since 1990 and a former Fashion Designer. 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. 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 a comfortable living. Check out her books on

Amazon: http://goo.gl/xUZfk0
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w

Hollywood Lives In Cookie Wonderland! | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

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Love to go to matinees, especially when the expectation is high. Good film, good stories, attractive images, fantasy flies high, resulting in a few hours of daydreaming. That is time well spent.
I cannot say all of this about the film I saw last Sunday Eat Pray Love, a two hours and half wasted in the cinema. As an Italian born, I am totally offended about the view of Italy that Hollywood portraits.
Take a look of that scene in Rome when Liz Gilbert (Julia Roberts) is looking for a place to stay for a few months. She enters a dilapidated building, with no hot running water.

The owner of the house tells her to boil the water three to four times to fill up the bathtub. Liz responds the water will not be enough for a bath and the Italian woman rebuttals that she will have enough to wash the most important parts. What an absurdity! There is no house in Italy, old or new that doesn’t have hot running water. Italians don’t live in dilapidated homes, nor they rent them to travelers. We might be surrounded by antiquity, we open our windows and often see the beauty of history all around us, but Italian home interiors are very modern with sleek lines, chic décor, valuable furnishing and most of the time very avant-guard style. Where has Hollywood gone on vacation and experienced no hot water bath?

Another stereotype is the scene of a boisterous group of young lads going after the women tourist pinching their bottoms and vocalizing their pleasure. Italian men might have done that in the 18-1900s when education was a privilege of the élite, but that custom no longer exists in the civilized Italy. Italy is a very modern and vibrant country. We have everything the world wants from style and beauty to good manners and to the art of knowing how to live well, but we also have all the problems of every modern industrialized country. Italians have a high level of education, men don’t have time to spend their days pinching ladies’ derriere, they are too busy keeping up with the tough demands of the European Union as much as Italians in general don’t loose their days eating spaghetti and pizza all the day long. It is an archaic myth, Hollywood!

In the film Julia Roberts is in search of herself and her purpose. For one year she takes a yuppie vacation around the world, her hair is well highlighted for the entire trip and she is somewhat well dressed. That is not what people do when they are lost in life and want to find a new direction. I believe when people are questioning their life is because they want to find a deeper meaning and discover their soul again, certain futile aspects of their life might and will pass in second order, but not in this film. Ok, I forgot, this is Hollywood and I want to be critical.

All in all the scenery is OK, Hollywood could have done better with the means it has, it feels more like a travel log than a film with a spiritual meaning. It teaches us that anytime there is an obstacle in a marriage, it is better to break it up and go on a world trip, instead of understanding each other and work it out. Good teaching for the young generation……!
OK, so last Sunday I spent my two hours and half in a very boring seat, I guess Hollywood needed my $11.00. Ciao,
Valentina

http://www.valentinadesigns.com

Copyright © 2010 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

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Valentina Cirasola is an interior designer, in business since 1990 and a former fashion designer. She helps people realizing their dream spaces in homes, offices, interiors, exteriors, restaurants and more. Author of three books available 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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The Flavor Of Lighting | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

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As I say many times, light is life. People gravitate in places where there is a good infusion of light. Shopping centers are a good examples of how lights attract people and invite them into shops. Any merchandise look super good when spot lights shine on them and of course the good use of light is one of the many selling techniques.

GreenApples(Photo found on an Italian lighting magazine. Credit given to the owner).

In homes, for the benefit of all the inhabitants and to ensure maximum comfort, we must have a variety of levels for lighting:

Ambience lighting, if we need to relax, meditate, or converse.
Task lighting, if we are in the kitchen cutting, chopping and preparing food, or if we are in the bathroom grooming in front of a mirror. Kitchens are special places for me, because I love to cook. Normally I like a lot of light when I am cooking, but when all the activities have quieted down, I love to keep the kitchen in a relaxing mood by turning on the cove lights, any dark corners, any glass front cabinet, the under cabinet lights and the island toekick on too. I keep the rest of the kitchen in the dark. The effect I create is one of a floating kitchen that I absolutely adore.

Aside from these few illuminating effects, we can illuminate pictures with pictures lights, photographs with illuminated crystal panels, wall washers especially used to emphasize some special wall faux finish. Remember that a beautiful home without an proper illumination, is like a woman dressed up without a make up on.
But what if we could almost taste the lighting? Read the article I wrote for Avaliving, a site for designers to consumers featured on their first page. http://www.avaliving.com/article.php?aid=1423

Please forward this article to anyone you think might be interested in reading it and let me know what you think by leaving a comment below. Thank you. Ciao,
Valentina
Interior Designer since 1990

www.Valentinadesigns.com

Copyright © 2010 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

ValentinaValentina Cirasola is an Italian Interior and Fashion Designer, working in the USA and Europe. She combines well fashion and interior in any of her design work. She loves to remodel homes and loves to create the unusual.
Author of the book: ©Come Mia Nonna–A Return to Simplicity

Booksite: outskirtspress.com/ComeMiaNonna
Author of the forthcoming book on the subject of colors: ©RED-A Voyage Into Colors.

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