Arrow To The Front Door | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

Choosing a design for an interior space, a garden or outdoor space for some people is an overwhelming task. To get ideas a long process of collecting things starts: photos from magazines, roll millions of Pinterest and Instagram images, color chips, textures and hard material. Some people put those pictures in folders, some create visual boards, some other scatter them all over tables, on the floors, stick them on the walls, fill up their computer, get confused and make the task more difficult than anticipated. If all the ideas are there, why is it so difficult to choose colors, style, appearance of a room, or create a nice corner in the garden? The reason is simple. Each design has its distinctive style, if the designer’s work has been done correctly, each room we see in magazines and online reflects the customers’ personality. Trying to compose a puzzle with a color from one picture, a detail from another picture and a style of furniture from one more picture will never work. Designing to follow own personality and lifestyle is the way to go to assure a successful design. (Click on each photo to view it larger).


This project was developed online, I knew nothing about the virtual client, but soon everything became clear during our conversations online. She mentioned the existing driveway was too straight and long, too gray, too much concrete, too much grass and no harmony or colors in the vegetation. To her eyes the driveway seemed more like a spear shooting straight to her front door. I also kept hearing themes of mysticism and Feng Shui in her conversation with me. Right there I had her answer. I thought of adding games of lights between plants, running water and create a moon garden with plants that would shimmer silver highlights under the moonlight.

Her house is a contemporary Mediterranean style, in fact the area where she lives is called “Tuscan Hills”. It is located in a newly built development area, clinging to the hill where weeds grew freely and now huge houses propped in clusters take over the hill.  All the houses resemble large cubes missing the true elements of Tuscan Hills and especially missing the Tuscan personality.

First, I tackled the small courtyard at the entry by adding flag stone on the pavement, travertine quoin stones around the door, round travertine landing steps with step lights, window sills and a colorful mosaic fountain with lights. A gazing globe and two larger planters with tall plants would close the vignette. I got rid of the dolphins jumping in the air without water in sight. In a beach house dolphins would have been perfect in a running fountain.


For the driveway I choose an “S” shape designs to avoid that feeling of a straight arrow going directly into to the entry door. Nice colorful pavers would substitute the grey concrete with inserts of medallions in contrasting color pavers forming designs of the sun, moon and star. If she wanted to keep the driveway in a straight line, the view of the second concept offers a harmonious vignette to look at while driving on the long driveway.


The two design concepts I submitted to the client are self-explanatory. I played with colors and architectural balance. As the eyes follow the “S” shaped driveway, they will also go the up and down the tall and short plants, stop at the roundness of the rocks and feel joyous looking at the variety of colors. At night the moon will illuminate the silvery plants and in the daytime the sun will touch all the other colorful plants making them even more cheerful.
At this time all flowers and plants are in bloom, this is the time to redo a front yard, landscape, or your outdoor rooms. Ciao,

Copyright © 2016 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

Val in ParadiseAs a designer in business since 1990, I am interested in helping people designing their interior and exterior spaces with an overall feeling of peace, relaxation and harmony that will draw them home eagerly. I am always looking to add that special touch with original findings to the spaces I design. Featured on Vogue Italia magazine, Gentry and many prominent magazines in California, appeared on RAI, National Italian T.V., my story as a designer continues. Find copies of my three books on


Al Fresco | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

A friend asked me what is the meaning of decoration “Al Fresco”, hmm!!! It intrigued me that she did not know the term Al Fresco”, but I was not surprised. We designers often assume that everybody know our decorating jargon. Many words or names in architecture and decorating have a Latin root, reminiscent of the Greek-Roman civilizations, when style was orderly and classic. However, both field of architecture and home interior décor abound of Italian and French words as well. “Al Fresco” in Italian means In The Fresh Air. 

The ancient populations of the Mediterranean Basin led business in ways unthinkable for today’s time: in the sauna, in public bathrooms while doing personal ablutions, in the food market, or while eating and enjoying life, basically most of the time they conducted business outside of the four walls, under the sun, the moon rays and in the breeze.
“Al Fresco” is not a way to decorate, it is a lifestyle, it is a concept of relaxation and productivity at the same time and it is an inclination of being sociable.

In the last scene of the 2009 film “Julie and Julia” based on the life of chef Julia Child, impersonated by Meryl Streep, Julie organizes a dinner al fresco on the rooftop of her apartment (above a pizza shop), ending a yearlong saga of blogging and cooking from Julia Child’s book. Her last recipe was a “désossé canard en surprise” (boneless duck surprise) that she served to her friends on the terrace looking over New York City lights.

img_0411(Photos above: Property of Domenico Cafarchia)

What you need to create an “Al Fresco Living” first and most important is an attitude and the willingness to put up with insects, bees and birds, too much heat or cool weather and possibly a few eyes of the neighbors looking in your space.  Then you need a terrace, a balcony, a belvedere, an atrium, or a patio and finally a view. If you do not have a view, you can create a special ambience within the walls of your surroundings. Choose the theme of your liking: Bohemian, country, beach, ethnic and more. Choose the style: French, Italian, contemporary, classic, colorful, or monochrome, you get the idea. Find the right lights to create ambience: lanterns, rope lighting, a string of bulbs or floor lamps, add a wall fireplace or a portable type and heat lamps for warmth,numerous comfortable seating, large pillows, sofas and aRécamier for a sweet afternoon nap. Complete the décor with colorful accessories, greenery and plants.

You got the area decorated, now you need a table for food. Imagine your new “al fresco living” with an outdoor dinner table set or a flowing buffet that allows your guests to sit where is comfortable to them. Which is it going to be?
I hope you can cook, you know that people go where there is good food and good drinks, as in Julie & Julia.

Living Terrace

Right now, I am designing an empty ex-terrace area into a living space enclosed in large glass panels through which the lush vegetation outside opens up before the eyes of observers. The terrace will look like my client is living in the trees at the top floor of her house. It is the reverse of an “al fresco living”,  the glass panels will protect her and the furniture from the weather, but the feeling will be the same as if she was living outdoor. The décor will be contemporary and colorful as in my material boards above. You too can have my help in changing an area into an outdoor living space, just ask me or contact me. Ciao,

Copyright © 2015 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

Val LeopardValentina 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 create the unusual. She needs your story to design your dream. Check out her books on

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