Xhilaration Ruffle Curtain | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

http://myatozchallenge.com/2012/02/20/welcome-to-my-a-to-z-challenge-2/Welcome to my personal A to Z Challenge on the subject of Home. The goal, in a year time, is to elaborate and dissect topics regarding the Home not as containers of stuff, but as a cocoon for the soul, mind and heart. I will touch on decorations, style, trends, history of the home and sometimes technical information.  My challenge is now over!

To find a topic for the letter X was hard, there isn’t anything in home décor starting with X that suited my taste, thus I left it for last to close the series of my challenge Home From A To Z. I found instead a very inexpensive and fun way to cover windows.

The Xhilaration Ruffle Window Panels. They have been designed to add a soft feminine touch to any window with five ample ruffled layers that create a soft texture. They are transparent gauze to let to sunlight in and still show the view of the outside. If privacy is needed, add the light block fabric behind it. Colors are limited, only white, black and rosy color are available. They are available on Ebay for the magic price of $16.99. Ruffle pillows make a nice parure with the ruffle curtains.

Xhilaration Zebra Bed in a bag twin set is available in hot pink with zebra print, on eBay $49.99, or scroll design for  $59.99.  Altogether it would make a perfect ensemble for a teenage girl room.
There is good décor out there for everyone, every budget and every style. The important thing is to coordinate all the items in a room and to layer textures with an artistic touch. No one will ever know the décor is inexpensive. Your home begins with your story,  tell it in your own fantastic way.

I wrote 26 posts, one for each letter of the alphabet. I had fun in the process and at times I felt the pressure. I hope to have kept you interested and inspired to create a home that is only yours and not a copy of a magazine.

I want to thank Julie Dawn Fox http://myatozchallenge.com/author/juliefox  – a British expat in Portugal for being a gracious host of this wonderful idea of anything from A To Z Challenge. Now, I will return to my comfortable one time a week blogging. Ciao,
Valentina

http://www.valentinadesigns.com

Copyright © 2014 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

ValentinaBlueStampIt’s my hope that through my writing I am enriching your aesthetic sensibility towards design, style and inspire you to live in beauty. I have loved my profession as an interior designer since 1990. I am here ready to offer consultations on-line if you need it. Check out my latest book on colors ©RED-A Voyage Into Colors, available on

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

Riser With A Skirt | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

http://myatozchallenge.com/2012/02/20/welcome-to-my-a-to-z-challenge-2/Welcome to my personal A to Z Challenge on the subject of Home. The goal, in a year time, is to elaborate and dissect topics regarding the Home not as containers of stuff, but as a cocoon for the soul, mind and heart. I will touch on decorations, style, trends, history of home and sometimes technical information. One more post and my challenge is over.

Lucky are the people who have a staircase in their home! If I had stairs in my home I would never go to the gym again. Going up and down the stairs, every day and many times during the day is a good cardiovascular exercising and the best way to stay fit. Besides, the staircase offers a good opportunity to turn the space underneath the stairs into extra storage for shoes, wines, books, or a small room for some activity as writing.

In Europe where building code is not so strict people can get away with open stairs, but in America is not possible, stairs must have a handrail. Stair rails installed after March 15, 1991, must not be less than 36” in height.
However, one very important rule is that if a rail has balusters, also called spindles made of stone or wood and sometimes of metal, it cannot allow the passage of a 4” sphere between balusters/spindles. This rule was made to avoid small children to go through the spindles and make a long fall to the next floor. It happened to me when I was five years old in Europe in my grandmother’s ancient home. Playing with my brother on the stairs, I went through the rail, flew from a height similar to the second level of today’s home, hitting the marble floor so hard that I was in a coma for 45 days. I can’t even begin to think about how devastated my parents must have been.

(Photo credits are given to the respective owners)

Each part of a stair has a name and a rule.
The handrail with the fundamental rule already described.
The tread is where we put our foot to start the climbing. The minimum tread depth must be 10”.  I like the 12” tread for better comfort.
The riser is the vertical area between treads. The maximum riser height must be 7-3/4”. This part can be very decorative and one can have fun with tiles, wallpaper, hand drawings and whatever fancies the homeowner, or it can be left plain, while the tread can emphasize beautiful material.
The skirt or bracket is the decorative design created on the exposed wall between the riser and the tread. Is it important to have it? Not really, but it exalts and glorifies a staircase made with beautiful material, sinuous form, and interesting rail. Skirts are for both traditional style or contemporary style homes.
Newel posts are the post supporting one end of a handrail at the top or bottom of a flight of stairs. There is no limit to fantasy designs, the newel is the end of the stairs, make it attractive.
If you go to my Pinterest board Up And Down the Stairs, you will see some glorious staircases. http://www.pinterest.com/vcvalentina/up-and-down-the-stairs/

Stairs make the focal point of the house, especially if they start in the entry. It is of the utmost importance to design them with flair, otherwise, they will be only an imposing presence in your home. If the stairs are straight, soften them with plans, color, lights, and water features. Ciao,
Valentina
http://www.valentinadesigns.com

Copyright © 2014 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

ValentinaBlueStampValentina Cirasola has been in business as a designer since 1990. She has helped a variegated group of fun people realizing their dreams with homes, offices, interiors, and exteriors. She is a designer well-known to bring originality to people’s homes. As an Italian designer and true to her origins, she provides only the best workmanship and design solutions. Author of three books all-available on

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

It’s A Lowboy! | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

http://myatozchallenge.com/2012/02/20/welcome-to-my-a-to-z-challenge-2/Welcome to my personal A to Z Challenge on the subject of Home. The goal, in a year time, is to elaborate and dissect topics regarding the Home not as containers of stuff, but as a cocoon for the soul, mind and heart. I will touch on decorations, style, trends, history of home and sometimes technical information. In two days my challenge will be over.

It’s a boy or it’s a lowboy has the same assonance, no, no newborn in my household, just playing on words.
Lowboy is a low dresser on legs and a few drawers that was so much in fashion in 18th century England. The function of a lowboy started as a dressing table with a mirror, side drawers to keep cosmetics, facial utensils, and accessories for hair, open in the front to allow a woman to sit on a small chair and prepare herself for the day. The most valuable pieces have the typical details of Queen Ann furniture, cabriole legs, pad foot, shell decorations and brass drawer pulls. It continued in the same style through the Georgian era and later Chippendale furniture maker produced it in large quantity. This has been a style forever popular in American homes decorated traditionally in Queen Ann, Georgian and Chippendale style.  Are you wondering if there is a Tallboy to go with a Lowboy? Yes, there is and it’s a very tall chest of drawers on legs, sometimes with a wardrobe attached.

(Photo credits are given to the respective owners)

In modern homes, an antique lowboy might be found in foyer or in empty corners as a filler and seldom is used as a dressing table. Modern master bathrooms inclusive of all the finest amenities, built-ins and stations for each activity have reduced the need for filling rooms with so many small pieces of furniture. Modern versions of lowboy look more like a credenza than a dressing table, especially in the style of mid-century pieces. Their function has changed as well, we might use them for storing linens, tableware or electronic equipment and that’s why their place now is in dining and living areas and not in the bedroom. The container furniture used today for storing clothes is simply called dresser drawers.

If you have an old piece of lowboy and feel the urge to refurbish it, hold that thought for a while. Show it to a furniture appraiser, you might have something valuable, but if it’s painted it over, the value will be gone. Ciao,
Valentina
http://www.valentinadesigns.com

Copyright © 2014 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

ValentinaBlueStampIt’s my hope that through my writing I am enriching your aesthetic sensibility towards design, style and inspire you to live in beauty. I have loved my profession as an interior designer since 1990. I am here ready to offer consultations on-line if you need it. Check out my latest book on colors ©RED-A Voyage Into Colors, available on
Amazon: http://goo.gl/xUZfk0
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w

Setting Hard Style With Hardware | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

http://myatozchallenge.com/2012/02/20/welcome-to-my-a-to-z-challenge-2/Welcome to my personal A to Z Challenge on the subject of Home. The goal, in a year time, is to elaborate and dissect topics regarding the Home not as containers of stuff, but as a cocoon for the soul, mind and heart. I will touch on decorations, style, trends, history of home and sometimes technical information. On Jan. 14, 2014, my challenge will be over, I am almost ready to reach my finishing line.

Do you think the kitchen, the bath or the bedroom are the most important rooms in the house? If you ask me, I could say that a chef pantry is very important as much as a walk-in closet. People’s needs are so variegated that it’s almost impossible to determine the importance of rooms in order of entry.

I can say for sure that the landing outside the entry door and the foyer are like a business card of you, your family and lifestyle. These spaces have a split of a second to make a good impression. Guests invited to the house for a few hours don’t go roaming around in all the rooms to check if everything is clean, orderly and stylish, they will never see the master bedroom or master bathroom. They will be directed to a living room, maybe a dining area or kitchen and the powder room.

The areas guests will see first will be the entry door landing and the foyer, these are the areas that will give them the prelude of what the rest of the house looks like. Perhaps there is a garden pathway before arriving at the house and give them time to admire a well-cared pathway or dislike what they see. Approaching someone’s home for the first time and with fresh eyes, guests see things they have not seen before and probably will try to stick some adjectives to describe the picture forming in their mind of the house and the people living in it: clean, messy, stylish, old-fashion, outdated, contemporary, artistic, eclectic, wacky, original and so on. That’s because the eye wanders and rests on the shiny objects before noticing all the other details. The eye sees the outdoor light fixtures, sculptures, and creations that stick out from the ground with an imposing height, house numbers, mailbox, doorbell, door knockers, hardware attached to gates and doors and the color of the door. Then they will notice vegetation, smell, sounds, and texture.

“God Is In the Details” said Mies Van Der Rohe. A well-studied, well-planned and architecturally pleasing home needs exceptional details, after all hardware is the jewelry of the home, but even a modest home needs its fair share of beauty. Impress your guests with hardware that make strong statements. In the end, when selling a house, every little thing counts for adding value to the property, even hardware and how well the house has been maintained through the years.

As far as interior door hardware, I suggest selecting wrist blade door handles versus the turning doorknob balls. The wrist blade hardware is easy on people suffering arthritis and it is available in any finish and any style. If planning on staying in the house for a long time and want to remodel the home, think about the mature age when you are young, making plans to live an easier life free of impediments.

A little touch of whimsy doesn’t hurt; I have a door harp hanging on my entry door greeting people with a piece of pleasant harp music and a rooster sitting on a bell in the kitchen that calls my people when food is ready. If in doubt call the expert, my Skype line is always on. Ciao,
Valentina
http://www.valentinadesigns.com

Copyright © 2014 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

ValentinaBlueStampValentina Cirasola has been in business as a designer since 1990. She has helped a variegated group of fun people realizing their dreams with homes, offices, interiors, and exteriors. She is a designer well-known to bring originality to people’s homes. As an Italian designer and true to her origins, she provides only the best workmanship and design solutions. Check out her books on
Amazon: http://goo.gl/xUZfk0
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w

Embraced In A U-Shaped Kitchen | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

http://myatozchallenge.com/2012/02/20/welcome-to-my-a-to-z-challenge-2/Welcome to my personal A to Z Challenge on the subject of Home. The goal, in a year time, is to elaborate and dissect topics regarding the Home not as containers of stuff, but as a cocoon for the soul, mind and heart. I will touch on decorations, style, trends, history of home and sometimes technical information. On Jan. 14, 2014, my challenge will be over, I am almost ready to reach my finishing line.

Do you have cooking abilities? Can you cook without cursing, burning the food or cutting yourself? If the answer is yes, then you can cook even in a hole in the wall. If you are not in the class of people who can make wonders and miracles in any space, getting a minimal knowledge of how to work in a kitchen and what is the best floor plan is of the utmost importance.

The ruling factor is the space between appliances, cabinets and the person/s working in the kitchen. For convenience, the dishwasher sits near the sink. Are you a left-handed or right-handed person? How you rinse dishes and load the machine is a simple fact that will determine the location of the dishwasher on one side of the sink or the other.
The choice of flooring will make or break your desire of wanting to be in the kitchen for long hours. Cooking is a pleasant activity of the day, which feeds stomach and soul thus flooring should alleviate the chore. Hardwood floor, bamboo or cork floors are the best choices for the legs and of course in the wet areas (sinks, stove) the use of some tile is appropriate.
Lighting is the next and most important factor for a successful kitchen design. Kitchens and baths are the two places in the house where the best accidents happen. Light the kitchen well with style, create shadows and highlights, place it in the right areas and avoid the showroom look, I truly dislike it!

I could talk about kitchen details from now to the year 3000, not only because I cook and understand the needs of a chef, but because I am trained as an expert in kitchen designs. The purpose of this post is to elaborate on a U-shaped kitchen floor plan, which is the best workable floor plan for small kitchens and because I needed a topic for the letter U in my challenge Home from A to Z.

In this floor plan a peninsula is easier to incorporate than an island in the middle of the floor, however many roll-out leafs for cutting, mixing and preparing can come out from under the countertop in various areas. Refrigerator in this floor plan is never placed in a corner, as it will waste space, hit and block cabinet doors, but near the sink, if possible. It’s convenient to take produce out of the refrigerator and place them in the sink for washing. Allow a minimum counter space of at least 18” between refrigerator and sink and of course more if the floor plan allows it. The next best place for the refrigerator in the U-shaped kitchen is near the stove/range for easy accessibility to food, when something quick inside of the fridge is needed during cooking.

Refrigerator, sink and the range are the three areas of this floor plan that must create a “triangle” for workability and extreme functionality. The sink needs the stove as the stove needs the sink. It’s a formula that gives the best results when carrying hop pots/pens from the stove to the sink, like draining pasta or transferring wet vegetables from the sink to the stove. The vicinity of the stove to sink will avoid spillage, messy floor, and dangerous slips.
Not more than two people can work in a U-shaped kitchen. Keep in mind that appliance doors open and occupy a space of at least 24″  therefore must not hit each other and a person of a normal size occupies a space of 18″. All of this must be added to the dept of cabinets and appliances to create an ergonomic kitchen. Admire a couple of my work in the photo gallery.

(photo credits are given to the respective owners)

Once you have a perfect working triangle, it’s time to think of the finishing touches that will give a U-shaped kitchen a lovely look. As I said before, cooking is a pleasant activity of the day. Before start cooking I put on either classic music or Opera, you choose your own music, open a bottle of wine and feed your stomach, soul and mind. In the meantime, you have controlled sugar, fat, salt intake and controlled your portions, because you cooked for your palate and not for what any restaurateur wants you to eat. In the end you will feel like a million-dollar.

I am here and always available if you need consultations on kitchen designs, my Skype line is on. Ciao,
Valentina
http://www.valentinadesigns.com

Copyright © 2014 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

ValentinaBlueStampValentina is an Italian Interior Designer with a passion for kitchens, cooking and extensive knowledge of food. She operates in the USA and Europe. She loves to remodel homes and loves to turn unattractive spaces into castles, but especially loves to design kitchens and wine grottos, outdoor kitchens and outdoor rooms, great rooms, and entertainment rooms. Check out her books available on
Amazon: http://goo.gl/xUZfk0
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w

Yellow Freesia | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

http://myatozchallenge.com/2012/02/20/welcome-to-my-a-to-z-challenge-2/Welcome to my personal A to Z Challenge on the subject of Home. The goal, in a year time, is to elaborate and dissect topics regarding the Home not as containers of stuff, but as a cocoon for the soul, mind and heart. I will touch on decorations, style, trends, history of the home and sometimes technical information. On Jan. 14, 2014, my challenge will be over, I am almost ready to reach my finishing line.

This year 2014 is based on balance. We must balance work and play, soul and emotions, body and mind, food and drink, sleep and time we spend awake. This is a year to spend in colors, balancing hues, tints and tones, pastels and bright colors. It will be a playful game. The spirit of this year is to be refreshed and revived, but not everyone will look good in pastel colors. Not to worry there is a choice for everyone, pastels will give you light, the bright colors will give you energy and the neutrals will bridge them all. The colors of this year can be mixed or they can stand on their own.

Yellow Freesia is part of the energy palette of this 2014 year, it is tropical, flowery, warm, and spicy, it has illumination like the sun. Yellow is the “make you feel good” color because around yellow the brain releases more serotonin, which is the chemical that makes us feel good. Rooms exposed to North benefit from yellow on the walls. It will appear as sunshine has parked in the room day and night. Yellow is not a provoking color, but it stimulates the nervous system, thus around people who suffer hypertension can provoke anger (from my book ©RED- A Voyage Into Colors).

To tone down yellow freesia, whether you will be wearing it this coming spring or redecorating your home, look at the Pantone palette and choose the nearby cool colors:
Yellow Freesia with Grey Paloma, or Yellow Freesia with Green Hemlock. Sand will keep Yellow Freesia balanced.
If your skin has a pinkish tone don’t wear Freesia around the face, wear it from the waist down. The bluish and greenish colors will be better on the upper part of the body, especially if you have blue or green eyes.

Pantone SPR2014

If you are getting married this spring, what better color to decorate your wedding reception and start your new life in a luminous color than Yellow Freesia?
(Photo credits are given to Pantone and respective owners)

post-milestone-20-1x

This sticker with a number 20 marks my 20th post of my A To Z Blogging Challenge. I have six more letters to cover with the subjects of Home. Thank you WordPress for being such a good blog host. Ciao,
Valentina
http://www.valentinadesigns.com

Copyright © 2014 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
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w

Queen Ann, Queen Of Ordinariness | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

http://myatozchallenge.com/2012/02/20/welcome-to-my-a-to-z-challenge-2/Welcome to my personal A to Z Challenge on the subject of Home. The goal, in a year time, is to elaborate and dissect topics regarding the Home not as containers of stuff, but as a cocoon for the soul, mind, and heart. I will touch on decorations, style, trends, history of the home and sometimes technical information. On Jan. 14, 2014, my challenge will be over and I am feeling the heat.

Of all the furniture styles ever designed Queen Ann’s style has been the style that has passed the test of approval through the centuries. In my experience, I have always found details of Queen Ann furniture in most houses I have visited in North America. This style, also called “late Baroque” refers to the historic period (1702–1714) during which Queen Ann Stuart reigned Great Britain.

Queen Ann was considered the quintessence of ordinariness, often described as vulgar in taste and a drinker. She received a limited education similar to that of an aristocratic girl: music and languages but had no knowledge of military matters or civil laws. Perhaps her ordinariness brought her to simplify the ornaments of furniture while putting the emphasis on lines and forms. Skilled British craftsmen brought this classic simplicity to the American colonies and ever since the style had its appeal in traditional and country décor.

Today Queen Ann’s style is considered formal and very elegant. I don’t see anything ordinary about it.  Keep in mind a few simple elements if you want to decorate in this style.

Woods: walnut and burr walnut veneer, cherry, maple, and mahogany are the woods that will give Queen Ann style a formal, sophisticated look.

Chairs are padded, smaller, lighter, and more comfortable than the predecessors William and Mary Style. The back of the chairs is shaped like a yoke and the seat takes a horseshoe shape.

Furniture is curvier and structured with designs of C-scroll and S-scrolls shapes. Shells on relief, scallops, or acanthus leaves represent the limited ornamentations.

The signature of Queen Ann’s style is cabriole legs with pad foot that replaced the ball foot. The claw foot resisted for a while, somewhat common to find it in this style.

We use tables with drop leaf or tilt top as space savers, they were made for the Queen and it’s hard to believe she needed space in her palace.

A room decorated in this style has at least one comfortable desk often made in a round shape with écritoire accessories.

Today, even the most conservative style as the Queen Ann style can be reinterpreted in a whimsical way to decorate a colorful room for young people or young at heart. Italian company Moro-Pigatti produces Queen Ann style chairs for indoor and outdoor in eco-friendly recyclable linear polyethylene (plastic) at a “snip” price of $895.00 per piece. Accessories such as champagne bucket and ottomans made of the same material make good pairs with the chairs.

As far as architecture, Queen Ann style homes in the true sense of the word are no longer built, we can only enjoy the lavish examples left through the years, especially the years of the industrial revolution (1880-1890), when bankers, new capitalists, rich merchants, and industrialists built their homes in great excess to be showy. It didn’t matter if many architectural details didn’t belong together, in this hodgepodge style was important to accumulate interesting look. A Queen Ann home might have half-timber details typical of the Tudor period, or gingerbread typical of the Victorian era, but at the same time, it might have columns typical of Italian Palladian villas, turrets and round towers typical of castles. Large porches, verandas, bay windows, dorm windows, and balconies might be found altogether in one Queen Ann style home.

Don’t we see the same details in our modern homes? We either want more for our money, or we got accustomed to impurity. I love to help you in finding the right style for you. I am available through Skype. Ciao,
Valentina
http://www.valentinadesigns.com

My Design Success Story http://youtu.be/pOKI6LkOkkA

Copyright © 2013 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

PrintValentina Cirasola has been a lifetime designer in fashion and interiors. Her extensive knowledge of colors and materials led her in both directions successfully. She is well-know 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 is the author of ©RED – A Voyage Into Colors, Check out her books on
Amazon: http://goo.gl/xUZfk0

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

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