Your Relationship With A Dining Room | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

I can’t remember when was last time I decorated or designed a dining room. In my parents’ home, Sunday family gathering was a big deal, therefore the dining room was used every lunch and dinner on Sunday, the rest of the week that room was kept in order.  After I moved away, nothing was the same. I went to live in European countries where the life style was different from my Italian life style and Sunday dinners were not deemed that important. By the time I arrived in America, I had seen a revolution of customs to make my Sunday dinners affair a memory of an ancient past.

(Click on each photo to view it larger).

©Valentina Cirasola – Photo taken in ZGallery

My youthful friends and clients in America, ate at restaurant often (still do), when they ate at home, sat with a tray of food in front of the TV in the media room, man cave (such an ugly definition) or in living/family room. Most of my clients had a traditional dining room at one point (still do), with a table and seating for eight people, a credenza, a china cabinet storing in plain view an array of tableware never used. Such room was mainly dedicated to Thanksgiving or Christmas and even then, often got invited to someone else’s home, leaving their dining room completely ignored for the entire year.

One might think this society has no social skills anymore and it is not so, at least not in most cases.

 


Parties or various home social gatherings still happen, not formal sitting down dinners anymore. The new point of mingling is the kitchen, the great room and the outdoor room. I have refreshed some of the existing formal dining rooms my clients had with new colors, accessories and artwork, and still remain unused, the formality of dinners is gone.

 

All the parties I have been invited to in the last twenty years have been always buffet style. My younger clients don’t even own a dining table.

At this point, I started to think maybe creating rooms without dedicated functions is a better solution.
A dining table can change function into a working table and it doesn’t need to be in a room called dining room. In the photo below, I placed this everyday function rustic dining table in the family room, nearby the kitchen, facing the open living room on the other side of the fireplace and near the game room on the left. The lower level of this house is one large space with multiple functions, one can even take an occasional nap in the large window nook of the living room with the fireplace on.

 

A dining table can be placed near a window seat or nook to look out on the garden (photo below).

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Today, people work anywhere. A rustic wood table with benches is a modern solution for dining and other functions, it can even turn into a table for business meeting if the office is in the home.

 

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Except for kitchens, bathrooms and bedrooms, all the other rooms can have multiple functions. Single people without kids can get away with sleeping anywhere in the house/apartment. The attitude toward our private spaces has changed, no longer we need to give names to rooms by their functions. No longer we need to place rugs down to defining an area, or relegate artwork only to the best part of the house, we can now have artwork in kitchens and bathrooms. Colors flow not to divide the house in the red room, the blue room , the yellow room, but to unite the spaces and expand the views.

I have beautiful boudoir lamps, floor lamps and artwork, both in my kitchen and bathrooms. I don’t have a dining room, my gatherings with friends happen between the living area and the kitchen. We sit on the floor cushions when seats are not enough.

Large kitchens sell the house. The best way to get a return on investment is to eliminate the dining room completely and take that space to create a larger kitchen.
Ciao,
Valentina
http://www.valentinadesigns.com

Copyright © 2018 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

In my 28th years of design business I am having more fun than ever, experience eliminates stress and dictates the pace of work. I am evolving in different directions while still helping people realizing their dream spaces in homes, offices, interiors and exteriors. Colors are the main focus of my business today, changing people’s energy and life force just by introducing them to colors they would have never imagined. I am on TV once a month, that is my own TV show produced under my label Valentina Design Universe, bringing fun topics to my audience.
Check out my books on
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Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w

 

 

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Let’s Fix This Room, Shall We? | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

At times, my home projects with clients fly by at the speed of light without even knowing how they happened. Other times, they come to a halt due to vacation time, kids interrupting schedules, hectic daily life, disagreement between husband and wife or for no reason at all. This is one of those cases. We started this room somewhere around February of this year and here we are, in the middle of August, with an unfinished, unwelcoming room.

I had to wait for walls to be painted, electrical system to be completed and the floor to be restained. The floor now is an attractive distressed, warm greige and a very elegant floor, so different from the previous butcher block floor. After all of that necessary work was done, it was time to choose furniture and sometimes that process can take a long, long time, depending on how clients react to ideas, style and colors, or how fast they take decisions. The secret of making fast decisions when choosing furniture is about answering three questions:
Prices – can you afford it?
Colors – do you like it?
Sizes – does it fit?
However, for people is never so cut and dry as it is for someone like me, trained not to waste time.

(Click on each photo to view it larger).

(Above: the unfinished room as it is now)

So far, we have a red sofa, a laguna color Coletta chair, a rustic credenza with metal profiles and a beige cuddle chair. These pieces look disjointed in the room, the element that will function as trait-d’union between all the colors is missing and the project is not moving forward. I had envisioned a colorful room, a space vibrating with interesting and whimsy elements.The room has been dull for so long and that would have been a good enough reason to fix it fast. Ouch, I must wait to see my vision realized and work at people’s pace.  🙃

Many times, I must deal with people’s fear of colors and their preconceived ideas that colors will tire them and the room. The result is a fight with their emotions.
How can anyone get tired of colors?
My role as your designer is to calm souls, emotions and to convince that colors can only help them get out of the boredom of vanilla living.


(Above: my proposed concept of furniture)

The room needs a punch with a golden-yellow element to pull the golden tones of the walls together with furniture (a yellow chair). I want to add warm wood elements to contrast the subdued distressed floors (side tables, floor lamp) and warm elegant metals to elevate the metal of the credenza (lamp metals, coffee table).

(Above: my proposed pillows)

To complete the picture, I would like to see colorful pillows in yellow, red, orange and bluish to blend everything, just like a tasty cocktail. How can anyone get tired of this moderately colored room?
If it looks good on paper, it will look good in the room. Shall we fix and finish this room? Ciao,
Valentina
http://www.valentinadesigns.com

Copyright © 2017 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 have loved my profession as an interior-fashion designer since 1990. I am here ready to offer consultations on-line if you need. Check out my latest book on the subject of colors, available on
Amazon: http://goo.gl/qNxXrB
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w

An Observation On The Kitchen | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

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I have been a month in Italy visiting my family and friends and suddenly I noticed something about the kitchen space that should have been very familiar to me, as I had seen it for most of my adult life living in Italy.

Photo ©Valentina Cirasola

 

Kitchens in Italy are purely functional, no frills, no granite counters, no luxury, only essentials; they are used for cooking only and in some cases to eat in. Casual entertaining happens in the living room, dining with friends or co-workers happens in the dining room and only close friends get invited to sit in the kitchen. Yes, kitchens are the center of the home life as a concept and it is true that most family problems are resolved around the kitchen table and this does happen in Italy too, but Italian kitchens are not conceived as the space in the center of the home. They are located as far as possible from the living quarters enclosed with doors to keep the guests out, or to hide a kitchen not totally made up or clean yet, which by the way, it isn’t a very common scene to find in Italy. Italian kitchens are always spotless, even after an army of family has eaten there. The idea of the kitchen not being in the center of the house is also to keep cooking aromas, odors and vapors away from the rest of the house.

 

Laundry is often located in the kitchen or near by in the corridor, or on the balcony/terrace where it is easy to just turn around and hang the clothes to dry on the balcony line. It is easier to hang the clothes to dry in the sun and wind, other than being a natural process, as no chemical softener goes into the clothes and saves on electricity. I hang my clothes to dry in the sun even now living in California, where I could have the comfort of all the technology available, but I choose to stay as natural as possible in my house chores.

 

Taking a closer look at the function of the kitchen in a different country brings me to the observation I had. Due to the location of the kitchen, as I said far from the living quarters and not made in an open floor plan as it is done in America, it is very difficult to snack mindlessly. In Italy when people are finished with their evening meal, they move to a room dedicated to watch T.V., reading, or playing music usually not close to the kitchen.
In America the kitchen is conceived as a great room, where cooking, living, family activities and entertainment share the same space. Slouching down on the sofa to watch T.V. and snack on poor, processed or boxed food is so much easier because kitchen cabinets and refrigerator are looking smack at you and they are in a few steps of reach. Also it is easy to have a late snack before going to bed, just because the kitchen is located conveniently in the middle of the house, something that doesn’t even cross people’s mind in Italy. Once the evening meal is finished, all the eating activities are also completed.

Photo ©Valentina Cirasola

 

Although I like the open floor plan, I don’t find it particularly warm or private. Often I go into people’s home and I can see a messy kitchen from the entry in plain open view. I must say that when I lived in Italy never paid attention to the functionality, because every kitchen was made with the same simple principal, but now as an interior designer and living in California, I do notice the difference and it would be really hard to propose something different that would bring an entire new concept of living, one of which would be to get rid of snacking, get rid of gracing all day long and late night snack. It might seem strange to hear that the farthest from reach the kitchen is, the easier it is to keep slim. Italian kitchens other than being very modern, also serve that purpose and I like that.
If you need help with planning your kitchen space, please do not hesitate to contact me, I am here to help. Ciao,
Valentina
www.Valentinadesigns.com

Copyright © 2012 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

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Valentina Cirasola is an Italian Interior Designer with a passion for kitchens and cooking. 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. Valentina is also the author of two published books on Italian regional cuisine. Her books are available on 

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

 

 

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