Decorating with zodiac signs is the same as decorating in any situations. A successful designer must know the client’s personality, needs and wants before starting a project and romancing a room. Knowing traits, character and colors of each zodiac sign will help a designer planning a suitable and harmonious life for clients. For the month of January the sign is Capricorn, Dec. 22 – Jan. 19, but January is not finished yet, therefore Capricorn takes some traits of the next sign or viceversa. Aquarius starts on Jan. 20 to Feb. 18. As you can see every sign towards to end takes some traits of the next sign. Let’s see what are the traits of a Capricorn and what colors this sign likes to thrive in.
Capricorn – Dec. 22 – Jan. 19
Ruling planets: Saturn
This is the sign of the high rollers, proud business achievers, but also like a quiet life. A Capricorn must balance work and play; otherwise work can literally replace their personal life. The ruling planet is Saturn, which represents hard work, responsibilities and ambitions. Saturn makes a Capricorn a great organizer. Decorating for a person under this sign is important to plan an environment where he/she can feel totally organized and orderly. Success, money, status and authority motivate them. Love doesn’t takes a second place, everyone needs love, but a Capricorn’s idea of love is to have someone taking care of him/her.
Black colored clothes, stark and plain colors fill the closet of Capricorns. Perhaps because they are born in the middle of winter, when days are shorter, the light is not very bright, it’s cold and rainy and in some parts of the world snows heavily. Capricorn is an earth sign therefore likes earthy tone colors as well: brown, khaki, beige, terracotta, burgundy and green, then hues of white, white and black, white and blue. This is valid for fashion they wear and for home décor colors. No weird colors for this person! As an earth sign, Capricorn also likes stone floors, bricks, terracotta tiles, slate but they must be all polished due to that sense of organization and the clean look Capricorn likes. Being a serious, traditional person, always elegant and aware of time as an entity not to be wasted, the style best suited for this person is classic and antiques. A soul of a Capricorn is fulfilled when in the room there is a grandfather’s clock and mahogany, oak and walnut furniture, carved pieces, velvet or heavy upholstered furniture.
The sign of Capricorn ends on Jan. 19 and on Jan. 20 Aquarius starts . Let’s see what Aquarius likes.
Aquarius – Jan.20 – Feb. 18
Ruling planets: Uranus
Symbol: Water Bearer
Character: Aquarius are high frequency, unique and original people
People of this sign are outgoing and amiable. Aquarian attract friends and stay loyal to the friends they make. They are innovative and non-conformist people, often described as eccentric. Aquarius’s symbol is the “Water Bearer”, obviously Aquarian lean toward bluish/green tints and all the colors of the ocean and sky. They prefer these soft colors because are calming and encourage inspiration.
The color blue has cooling healing properties, it will calm angry emotions and reduce elevated blood pressure, just like when we look at the sea we feel immediately relaxed. The color green is a color used to balance emotions and restore harmony with mind and body. As a soothing color it helps healing conditions of the heart. Aquarian should incorporate these colors into their home décor and in their wardrobe to counteract any negative energy surrounding them and stay away from bold, bright colors that will put them off-balance.
Being a very social person who likes gatherings with friends and family, an Aquarian needs to plan a space that seats as many people as possible. Therefore a sectional sofa is better than a few single seating and a round dining table to seat a lot of people, because the shape of the circle is very convivial. What if an Aquarium for various reasons chooses not a large space to live? The better solution will be to find space saving furniture, stackable furniture, tables with extra leafs, sofa bed and chairs that function as stool as well. This solution suits Aquarian well, as they like minimal furnishing and uncluttered spaces, glass, metal furniture, quirky style, gadgets and latest high-tech equipment.
I purchased the coffee table in the photo above for a client with space restriction. The glass table comes with 4 wedge stools that tuck underneath the coffee table and come out when needing extra seating.
(home for Aquarium)
In the bathroom, which is the natural room for water, the blue hues can be mixed with compliment colors like pale yellow, pearl gray, pale green and light pink and all the colors of the under the sea world. Aquarian are also very creative and need spaces with a lot of natural light, give them unblocked views where they can see the infinity of the horizon and they will be very happy.
Knowing the zodiac sign of each new client helps me doing a better job, like magic things come together without frictions or arguments and the question at the end is always: “how did you know?”. Ciao,
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Copyright © 2014 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved
Valentina 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 - Barnes & Nobles
Anatolia, a peninsula that makes up most of Turkey is supposedly the area where kilim rugs originated among nomad tribes. Although historians for lack of firm evidence have had a difficult task establishing kilim’s dates and places of origins. The making of kilim rugs started as utilitarian coverings and much less as decorative coverings. It is made with elementary weaving looms, when weaving surpassed the practice of primitive people to cover their body with animal skins. With the weaving loom, early population of the Middle East felt the need to add colors to suit their soul and express feelings or thoughts. This prehistoric textile seems to have entered Egypt in the middle of the second millennia B.C. via Turkey and the Middle Eastern countries.
The knowledge of textiles Sumerians had (people of Mesopotamia, modern Iraq) was directly related to the knowledge of farming the right kind of sheep, goats and lambs whose pelt was suitable for spinning, coloring and waving. With various colors and designs each kilim has its own language or message, which varies from weaver to weaver. A married weaver might add into the kilim symbols of her discontent with husband or mother in law, but a message from a girl’s weaver might be love, hope, desire for a strong man and good fortune.
The design of each kilim is not casual, ancient tribals weaved their beliefs into the threads in form of symbols, such as stars, dragons, eyes, combs, running water, or fertility. Today modern people respond well to this primitive art, because they are colorful and very versatile for any décor, but also because most human races have affinity in the same beliefs of life and death, fortune and misfortune, cycles of the moon and sun, water and drought, family and friends, spiritual and unnatural.
Decorating with kilim rug is not just enough to match colors to the interior décor, one must take in consideration the meaning of certain symbols. Ancient tribes thought birds as raven, eagle and owls bring bad luck or attack human beings, while doves, nightingales and pigeons symbolize good luck and bring love. Knowing symbols will help bring in the house an all-round harmony. Kilim rugs are versatile enough to use in modern and traditional interiors. Their designs are well used for covering chairs, making draperies, bedding and pillows, or are as beautiful as wall hangings.
Fashionable kilim shoes and bags are timeless. I had the most exquisite kilim sabot pair of shoes for more than ten years that I ran to the ground, worn them with jeans, leather pants, shirt and oversize sweaters. I wondered often where the fabric of my shoes came from. Kilim bags and shoes are made from the best parts of old hand-woven, which were used as floor coverings, tent pieces, wall hangings, curtains, or blankets.
I am here ready to help, if you like to find a kilim rug. Ciao,
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Copyright © 2013 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved
Valentina 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 and Barnes & Nobles
Milano Triennale Exhibition this month of November 2013 celebrates 100 years of Piero Fornasetti’s work as a painter, sculptor, interior decorator and engraver. 100 years of practical madness is the name of the exhibition due to the practicality Fornasetti’s objects offer with a twist. A bit of surreal feel doesn’t hurt in everyday life, almost like an escape from reality. I particularly like a pixellated wall representing a woman’s eye with a real convex mirror as the iris. Face and hand are the trademarks of the Milanese born artist who produced approximately 13,000 objects through his artistic life. He took a theme and plaid on its variations to the nth power.
(Lina Cavalieri Face)
His famous plates portraying the face of opera singer Lina (Natalina) Cavalieri are known worldwide and they are highly collectible. Fornasetti found her face in a nineteenth-century French magazine and used it in many variations creating whimsical imagery as he pleased. It has been said that Fornasetti was her assiduous admirer and covered his bathroom walls with many plates onto which Lina’s face was immortalized forever. It must have been hard to know he was only a small part of her large number of admirers, followers, fiancées and husbands. Apparently she was one of those rare beauties every men wanted. Italian actress Gina Lollobrigida reenacted her life in the film “The most beautiful woman in the world”.
(Fornasetti dresser with lips)
Not all Fornasetti’s plates carry Lina’s face. He produced many more with animal and snakes with written, strange recipes printed on the front, such as snake à la Cleopatra and oyster egg omelette. Other plates design carried printed architectural details from Palladian villas, Venetian street scenes and symbols of Italian culture. He created chairs with capitals, dressers with lips and furniture with Neo-Classical building façades. His trompe-l’oeil screens are adorable, suitable for illusionist theatrical tricks, I would not mind having one example in my house. Being particularly attracted to the screen as a mobile object, Fornasetti studied the function of this element of décor through various historical periods and produced quite whimsical pieces also in many variations.
(Screen-detail of wardrobe from the house in Varenna)
Remarkable are the variations of ashtrays that describe a culture of smoking, when smoking was accepted as both relaxation and social recreation. Shaped like small dishes, today his ashtrays can be used to serve canapés and will be perfectly fashionable on any table.
(Most photos shown here are courtesy of ©Designboom)
The Milano Triennale will stay open from November 2013 to February 9th, 2014.
The master illusionist of ornament and design left us numerous examples of objects that are, but they are really not, objects that are pleasant and functional and others that are purely decorative with no function. However we hope 100 more years will not pass before we can see practical madness again into everyday objects. Being Italian I can help you find some original pieces in the meander of Italy. Ciao,
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Valentina Cirasola is an Italian interior designer in business since 1990. She is passionate about colors and all expressive arts. She is a “colorist”. To her, selecting art means to bring out the best energy of her clients and nourish their soul. She is the author of her book on the subject of colors: ©Red-A Voyage Into Colors available on
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Is the sparkle of a chandelier the only light you imagine yourself being enveloped in?
Fortunately, a central light mounted in the middle of the ceiling as the only fixture that illuminates the entire room is passé and so are the all track light systems. These fixtures attract attention to themselves and detract attention from people, often-casting shadows on their faces.
Today, lighting is a visual phenomenon, it must be inviting and create a mood. Light is life and people congregate in rooms well-lit and well accented. In fact, the eyes need highlights and shadows in order to rest. A bright blasting light only blinds people, gives headache and leaves everything flat with no dimension.
In planning an efficient lighting system, we must first think of people and how good they will feel in our home when the light is right. We don’t want our guests, or even our family members to look sick with bags under their eyes.
Second, we should think of the type of tasks we do daily. These areas will receive a brighter light in order to fulfill our tasks.
We must create ambient light, which is perfect for conversing, for comfort of the soul and to relax the mind.
Finally we must accent everything of value, artworks, sculptures, glass work, photographs and interesting piece of furniture.
Click here to watch the video: http://youtu.be/Eat1qC3O9A0
I see the light in the “layering effect”, sort of like painting with lighting. The fixtures come in second order and the light plays the main role. Don’t get me wrong, fixtures add style to a room and we can admire their beauty during the day when the lights are turned off. However, lighting is one the element of design that must be agreeable with human beings and the one element that visually enlarges or shrinks spaces. As in a theatre performance we never see the light source, we see highlighted only people and the important details of the plays, the same principle applies to home lighting.
I like to create silhouettes, shadows and light for different areas of the same space and will never leave a corner in the dark, often I put lights behind furniture to create a glow on the wall. If I have an empty vase, most likely I will fill it with light and if I decorate with flowers, artificial or not, somehow the arrangement will be illuminated indirectly.
I hope these small examples help you to look at your spaces in a different light. I do offer on-line consultations via Skype. The world is not as large as we think and distances do not exist anymore. Ciao,
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Valentina Cirasola is a trained Interior Designer in business since 1990. She is the owner and principal designer of her company: Valentina Interiors & Designs. Being Italian born and raised, Classicism and timeless style influenced Valentina’s design work. She will create your everyday living with a certain luxury without taking away a comfortable living.
Find Valentina’s three books on Amazon and Barnes & Nobles
A jazzy music from the ’30 was filling the air of San Francisco’s street the other day. As I got closer, I recognize the music of Duke Ellington playing from of a boom box sitting on the pavement next to a shoeshine stall. I looked around and suddenly I was catapulted in a different time in a different country. The colors of the street turned sepia colors and I was a girl in Italy walking together with my father, in a time when men took a great care of their exterior appearance and just like women, men too went into extensive hours of grooming to achieve a polished look. Shoeshine stalls were at almost every city block, ice cream vendors screamed to have the best ice cream of the city and bicyclists filled the streets with only a few cars. The sound of San Francisco’s cable car returned me to reality. The magic of being in another era lasted a few seconds.
The street shoeshine stalls are disappearing in Italy too, as people find more convenient to polish their shoes at home. However there is a majority of people in Italy still cleaning their shoes before they leave home. Italian people wear leather shoes more often than tennis shoes and the “dandy” affected look is still very much a high game in Italy. To have dirty shoes is a sign of sloppiness and uncaring to make bella figura, the Italian art of looking good in the eyes of others.
Kids shined shoes of American GIs during WWII out of necessity to make extra money. Italian film-maker Vittorio De Sica took inspiration from this new street activity to produce a film called Siuscia’, which was the words kids shouted to American soldiers to attract their attention and let them know they were open to shine shoes. It was the way English sounded to them Shoeshine – Sciuscia’.
They served only men and continued to these days.
An Italian shoeshine is a colorful street character. The man who wants to shine his shoes will be asked to sit on the high chair while the shoeshine will sing at him some Opera Aria or any well-known pop music, otherwise the two men will start talking about politics and sport. A shoeshine might not be highly educated, but can speak four or more languages easily. At times I heard them babble in Japanese, Chinese and Arabic, aside from the common European languages they have mastered well, mostly all learned in the street from tourists. Rest assured that at the end of his service, the shoes are like brand new.
Every home in Italy owns one elegant wooden box with all the necessary items to shine shoes beautifully and if not they have the basic creams and brushes lose in a drawer. I have a cedar box my mother left me and every time I go out the door, I polish my shoes and remember.
Now, it’s September and as every September it’s time to go through my shoes, get rid of the pairs I don’t want anymore and polish all the winter shoes. My shoes are well kept and someone else will have the chance to enjoy them the second time around.
Feet are the end of our body and often not the prettiest part. They support the weight and the beating of the walk. We make them swollen and tired, the least we can is to make them look good. Shoes tell the story of who we are and men with polished shoes have my attention! Ciao,
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Valentina Cirasola has been a lifetime designer in fashion and interiors. Her extensive knowledge of colors and materials led her in both directions successfully. Vogue Italy and many prominent publications in California featured her work. Among designing and remodeling homes, designing custom-made furniture and writing books, Valentina is now teaching etiquette, table manners, table setting and life style. Check out her latest books ©Red-A Voyage Into Colors on the subject of colors, available on Amazon and Barnes & Nobles
Is your morning hectic and frantic?
My day starts very early with a good morning ritual. My first thought as soon as I wake up goes to the Sun. I salute the Sun for its powerful energy that will energize me all day.
To have an advantage on my morning, I set my breakfast place the night before. As seasons change, my place settings change as well, I like to get in the mood of each new season.
Basically, on a place matt, I set out the book I am reading in that moment, a coffee or tea-cup, a glass for juice, a plate and silverware, fruit and a scented candle. Perishable food will come out in the morning.
My breakfast setting is simple and cheerful. I enter my day with ease and I allow myself to be with my thoughts in the quietness of morning silence. I don’t listen to the news and I don’t read the paper, these are activities I don’t do when I am eating. At breakfast I read only a pleasant book and I listen to pleasant classical music. I treat myself as the preferred guest of my life.
My private life is not disjointed from the business. Long time ago, I realized that to run a successful business one needs clarity of mind and eliminate all the negatives. That’s what I did.
I also realize that our lives are not the same. Families with kids have hectic schedules and may not have the same luxury to easy into their days. However, running a family is very much like running a business. It’s all matter of organization and planning the right activities for the right time. Those breakfast food that can be prepared the night before and warmed up for breakfast will cut the stress of the morning and the clothes to wear can be made ready to go the night before as well.
“Il buongiorno si vede dal mattino” ~ says an Italian proverb. Translation:
A good day stems from a good morning. Ciao,
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.
She offers design consultations on-line through Skype and the traditional in-house consultations, helping people with their design challenge any where in the world. She is the author of three books, all-available on
One of my friends in my homeland Italy sent me a piece of news with a comment:
“Valentina decorates her home projects with colors of food and the fashion industry is putting food on clothes”.
Are fashion designers tired of seeing model as stick figures or finally they have realized that good food emanate good energy and vibrate positivism?
There is nothing more perfect than nature. Getting into the habits of cultivating own food, which is possible even on small patches of dirt, balconies, small patios or terraces and then cooking the homegrown food is the quintessential of health, fun and alignment with the Universe. Colors of natural food are vibrant, dynamic and alive. If we put natural food in the mouth why wouldn’t we want to wear their colors? The natural and positive vibrations will double for sure.
You might want to click on this link to see a roundup of fashion collections and the food that have inspired different designers in various years of this decade. In this site there is fashion by season, by recipes, by colors and designers.
Taste Of Runway
“Who said there are only colors? There are also the nuances.” ~ said Diana Vreeland, editor of American Vogue in 1969.
That’s right. Have you ever looked at the peel of red onion? Outside is red-purple and inside is almost pinkish. The colors of fried onions in a tempura batter with sage leaves range from beige, golden beige, pale yellow, gold, silver sage and white. This poor specialty was Armani’s inspiration in designing the perfect 2014 shimmering collection inspired by fried tempura onions. Onion is such a poor ingredient with a not so high reputation that often disgusts a few people, but when cooked can give an aura of elegant sophistication.
The colored pasta Marelli – Pasta Marelli – produced in Puglia, the southern Italian region where I come from, inspired Missoni soft colors for 2014 Spring, while Marc Jacobs for his 2011-12 collection chose stronger and more vibrant colors from the multicolored pasta that marries well with four types of cheeses pasta dish. This multicolored pasta inspired him to combine bold colors, just like the pasta dish combines the strong flavor gorgonzola with three other cheeses.
One of my favorites is Balmain 2013 black and yellow ensemble with similar colors in the tasty dish of Linguine with lemon and cuttlefish ink. This is a dish for fine palates and food connoisseurs.
The friend who sent me the flavorful articles made another question:
“In which location would you enjoy eating the plate of Linguine with lemon and cuttlefish ink and which wine would you choose? He suggested Amalfi Coast as a location where to taste Asprino d’Aversa; on the beach of Ragusa, Sicily, drinking a Grillo; in Salento on the cliff of Otranto, Puglia tasting a Verdeca wine.
Well, with these good suggestions from my Italian friend, I will go look for cuttlefish (ink is so very easy to extract from it) and will hand-made the linguine.
It’s more difficult to talk about hand-made pasta then actually make it. Ciao,
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Valentina Cirasola has been in business as an interior designer since 1990 improving people’s life by changing their spaces. Often people describe her as “the colorist” for a reason. She lives in a colorful world, wrote a book on colors ©RED-A Voyage Into Colors and loves to color her clients’ environments by creating the unusual. Her deep interest in food led her as an autodidact in the studies of food in history, natural remedies, nutrition and well-being, then finally she wrote two books on Italian regional cuisine. Find Valentina’s three books on Amazon - Barnes & Nobles
Through history of the home and society customs, porches have been the stage from which people watched their neighbors and kept updated with everybody’s businesses.
“Porticus” Latin word for porch was an idea widely used in Ancient Greece and their love for style. Adopted by Romans the “portico” became the entrance of a building supported by columns with a roof structure over a walkway, which would protect people walking even if it was raining. Pantheon in Rome is the best example. This idea celebrating high aesthetic and style influenced many cultures since then.
By early medieval times, British people built stone or timber projecting porches for churches to give cover to worshippers. At a baptism, the priest would receive the parents with the infant and the service began in the porch. Buckingham Palace and the White House are two best examples.
In Europe, I love to admire the porte-cochère "coach gate” (photo above) a porch-like structure at a main or secondary entrance to a building through which horse and carriage (today a motor vehicle) can park and pick up the travels who will be protected from the weather, while they are doing their operations of getting in or out of a vehicle.
Victorian Architecture, or the Queen Anne style, proliferates with examples of homes with a sitting porch in both the front and the back of the home.
Porches cannot be propped up as one needs without unifying the rooflines and the architectural details of the house. Covered porches, also called verandahs, give protection from sun or rain and insects providing an extra exterior living room that one can arrange with chairs, tables or even a cozy fireplace. Today they are built mostly for the backyard, encompassing an entire side of the house.
Open porches in the front of the house existed when people were friendly with their neighbors or casual passerby and a natural trust existed with each other. It was an opportunity to get to know the postman and the milkman. If people went on vacation, the neighbors watched the temporarily vacant home without even asking. It was a place to listen to the radio al fresco, share a drink, share some family news, gossip with next-door neighbor or enjoy the rain in silence.
(photos courtesy of BH&G)
New homes don’t come with open porches anymore. No one sits in the front of the house and no one trusts anyone. No longer we care to know the postman, the neighbors and the milkman doesn’t even exist anymore. T.V. and computers have occupied our time. We need unpaid volunteers to watch our neighborhood, which the society can lynch when and if they get in trouble with the law for being overzealously protective of our homes. Those who want to understand, please feel free. Ciao, Valentina
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Valentina Cirasola is a trained
in business since 1990. She is the owner and principal designer of her company: Valentina Interiors & Designs. Being Italian born and raised, Classicism and timeless style influenced Valentina’s design work. She will create your everyday living with a certain luxury without taking away a comfortable living. Find Valentina’s three books on
Barnes & Nobles
I have the opportunity to design the exterior lighting of the house featured in my video. The house is located in an upscale area, but the landscape is not really upscale. it is utilitarian greenery. Most of the plants in this landscape are evergreen, lot of foliage and very few flowers. This kind of landscape is congenial for public streets, as it requires little maintenance and little water. Basically it’s a xeriscape planning, which is OK for today’s need to conserve water.
If I were the owner of this house, I would have had the guest areas, the main entry and the front yard made up with seasonal flowers. I would plant vegetation synchronized with the regeneration of each season, where one group of flowers goes dormant, while the other group comes alive and together swing out colors and scents all year around. Then I would make up a xeriscape for the hidden, utilitarian and not so pretty areas, like the service areas and driveway. This is my first time designing only the exterior lighting without redesign the landscape, that’s the owner wish.
All that green foliage doesn’t reflect the moonlight and makes the house very dark at night, while during the daytime makes it very heavy. The front door is not easy to find as it is completely covered with heavy vegetation, making it not inviting either. There is no curb appeal and no focal point. The backyard, with the exception of a few rose and Agapanthus bushes has no interest. Being the house positioned in an upscale area, it needs an elegant landscape with character and “manners” and not vegetation for highways.
I will eliminate outdated fixtures and will create layers of LED lights that will cast silhouettes on the walls and shadow on the ground. Some fixtures will have colored filter lenses to give some depth in the darkest areas, as the bamboo area and some trees will be illuminated with soft string of lighting. I will highlight the balcony wood rail with bullet lights. The backyard needs the ambience of an outdoor living room. My games of lights will enhance the heavy foliage and will change the feel of the existing landscape into a garden that is comfortable for the people of the house and their guests, livable, energy-efficient and easy on the eyes.
Sharing is caring. Share me as often as you like. Through Skype line, I offer design consultation on-line, other than the traditional “in house” consultations. I design for people all over the world without moving an inch away from my desk. I am here to help. Ciao,
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Valentina is an Italian Interior Designer since 1990 designing for USA and Europe’s markets. She loves to remodel homes and gardens. With her many years of experience she is able to cover a wide range of design solutions. Often clients ask her to designs the landscape concept complete with lighting as a complement to the interior design. Valentina is the author of three books available on
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Mantel, mantelshelf or mantelpiece are the names used for a type of construction framing the opening of a fireplace and usually covering part of the chimney-breast in a more or less decorative way. It is the focal point of a home and the stage that tells a story.
To display only photographs on a mantel is a bit diminishing for the fireplace itself, since it is an opportunity to make a dreamy display vignette of antique objects found in flea markets, or during traveling. It is a place where colors can have a voice when a monochromatic color dominates the room, or a way to display arts and craft that perhaps you create. Then comes Christmas with endless possibilities and decorating a mantel becomes almost obligatory. In any case a mantel is something to cover, envelop and conceal the black hole of the hearth.
Mantels follow the architectural style of the house. I have seen many examples in Gothic, Renaissance, Louis XIV, XV and XVI, Empire, Marie Antoinette and so many more styles, but I think the most popular and pleasing is the Colonial mantel, both in the old and modern style. The Victorian mantel refers to the style created during the long reign of Queen Victoria of United Kingdom, a period stretching from 1837-1901. In Victorian times women sat by the fireplace to read, sipping tea or embroider with women, while men stood by the mantel to talk about important issues with men and various odd objects found their place on the mantel.
Victorian mantels today are standard design with many modern furniture companies and are popular with builders, as this style is linear, not too ornate, but elegant enough to mix with any mélange of décor. In today’s homes, often a huge black plasma T.V. is propped on top of the mantel, disturbing perhaps a beautiful room setting. Not always I win this battle with the youngest clients who like to stick the black monster plasma T.V. over the mantel. Most people don’t know that when the T.V. is not on, the front black screen is easy concealable with a picture of your liking, remotely controlled to disappear into the T.V. casing made for this purpose. However, I rather see a huge mirror on top of the mantel to reflect the beauty in the room and enjoy the sound of a crackling fire with a book.
If there is no fireplace in the house and you like to create the feeling of it, find an inexpensive mantel at architectural salvage yard and nail it to the wall, as shown in one of my garden photos. Of course, any salvage piece can have a second life as something else and not what was originally intended for. In the bathroom photo, in fact a mantel has been turned into an ornate towel holder, just by adding metal hooks.
Mantels over outdoor fireplaces often will be used to rest your guests drinking glasses.
Get creative with your own mantel vignette, this is an art form. Anything goes grouped in odd numbers. I am here if you need help, my Skype line is always open. Ciao.
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Valentina Cirasola is an Italian interior designer in business since 1990. She is passionate about colors and all expressive arts. She is a “colorist”. To her, selecting art means to bring out the best energy of her clients and nourish their soul.
She is the author of her book on Colors: Red-A Voyage Into Colors available on
Amazon and Barnes&Nobles