3 Questions: Designer Cait Pappas

Cait Pappas of Nest Out West makes massive home renovations look easy. Her eye for detail, ready-for-anything attitude, and affordable design tips have helped build her interior decorating and e-styling firm into a one-stop destination for DIY inspiration.

Cait Pappas

Portrait of Cait by Rae Barber.

Clients from across the country look to Cait for her expertise on how to transform a space with thoughtful, budget-friendly tweaks (although Cait happens to be based just a short distance from the Simply Framed HQ in Denver, CO). We had the fortune of custom framing two pieces for her own home to create a clean, sophisticated display in her dining room nook. She knew she wanted coordinated prints, Shades of White I and Shades of White II from Collection Prints framed in our White Gallery frames, to play against the window frames in the space. It’s small touches like these that make Cait great at what she does.

We had the chance to sit and talk with Cait a bit about her sources of inspiration, her tips for creating a homey and lived-in vibe in newly constructed homes, and how she approaches intimidating DIY projects (short answer: fearlessly).

Cait Pappas

Simply Framed: You've talked a lot about bringing a greater sense of warmth to newer construction homes that don't have as much character as an older home might. What are some tips for how you bring personality into a home?

Cait Pappas: With every client I've worked with, and in both of the homes my husband and I have owned, the first two things we usually change are the floors and walls. Our favorite, go-to resource for warming up a new, builder-grade space is definitely wood. We love hardwood instead of carpet, and we help all of our clients find the perfect area rugs to fit their style and space. As for the walls, when done right, trimming out your windows, putting up some board-and-batten, or installing a shiplap or wood-paneled wall can add so much character. Once the walls are finished, finding the right art and bringing it in at the right size and scale can do wonders to round out a space. Once the floors and walls are done, we like to look at the light fixtures and how we might upgrade or customize them.

Cait Pappas

Wood paneling adds a warm, rustic vibe to any room. We love the way this light wood brightens up the space and adds a bit of texture.

SF: What's the most rewarding thing about helping your clients redecorate their spaces? Any favorite projects that stand out?

CP: Honestly, the most rewarding thing about helping my clients is seeing the joy and pride when the project is done! Most of my clients are e-design, so I'll provide concepts, mood boards, shopping links, DIY tutorials, and more—but it's typically up to my clients to take their projects into their own hands.

We’ve been fortunate to have a hand in so many amazing transformations, and there are a few recent projects that stand out. We worked with a newly-renovated local Bed and Breakfast Juniper Mountain House, just inside the foothills in a town called Evergreen, CO. The hotel owners, Ashley and Alea, hired me to provide concepts and purchasing guides for six spaces in their property, and they worked their butts off to bring each concept to life during the little bit of down time they had between guests. Ashley and Alea did an amazing job turning a dated lodge into a modern-mountain-vibe boutique hotel with an on-site bridal suite and wedding deck! It's incredible what they've done over the course of two years.

Another e-design client who really impressed me was Dyan Dolfi-Offutt, owner of Sodapop PR in Los Angeles. From Pittsburgh originally, she purchased an old Pittsburgh bungalow in LA (sight unseen with the exception of her dad walking through and making sure there weren't any glaring problems with the house) and worked with my team to bring this house up to date. Her dad and his construction team DIYed all of our recommended changes and Dyan worked with my team to make all of her purchases and final design decisions.

Cait Pappas

No wonder readers and clients can’t get enough of Cait’s design tipslook at her dining room!

Simply Framed: You're a master of DIY, and even built your business by posting your own DIY home renovations! What advice would you give to someone who wants to DIY but feels intimidated? Where should they start?

CP: We're intimidated by every DIY project we do, and we have definitely made mistakes and learned from all of them along the way. With that said, you'll never know what you're capable of if you don't try! For us, the major motivator that got us into DIY was money. When we bought our first house, it was already beyond what we had expected to pay for a starter home. We didn't have money left to hire people to do the work we wanted done for us, so we read a lot of blogs, watched a lot of YouTube videos, and figured out what to do through trial and error. Our dads were also both super helpful (Jason and I both grew up in households where our parents did all of their own home projects). My advice would be to have faith in yourself, do your research, and give it your best! In the end, if you aren't happy with your work, you can still hire professional help, but at least you've learned something in the process!

For more DIY design inspiration, visit Cait’s blog Nest Out West. And whenever you’re ready to start custom framing, you know where to find us here at Simply Framed.

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