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Design Influencer Cait Pappas: Remodel Q and A

We sat down with Cait to learn more about her work as a designer and her latest project, her own basement..

4 min read
Published on June 24, 2022

Denver-based Cait Pappas, the woman behind the popular Instagram account @nest.out.west, is a self-taught interior designer with an eye for clean, cozy design. She partnered with LL Flooring on her basement playroom renovation, where she needed something that would stand up to two active children while hitting on the style points she was aiming for. 

We sat down with Cait to learn more about her work as a designer and her latest project, her own basement..

basement after remodel with a teepee and tree mural

LL: Tell us a bit about yourself and your work.

CP: Well, I’ve been designing for almost seven years now, but my background is originally in public relations and education. I worked in PR for six years before switching gears to education, then taught high school and middle school English for three years. My husband and I moved into our first house while I was teaching, and that’s where my decorating career unofficially began.

Though I’m not traditionally trained in design, I’ve always had a passion for it. I grew up watching a lot of HGTV. I was 10 years old when I scored my first autograph, and it wasn’t an athlete, singer, or movie star; the first autograph I ever got was on a family vacation in Aspen where I spotted Kitty Bartholomew, who was a huge HGTV star when I was growing up.

As I got more into decorating as an adult, I did a lot of research on interior design trends and basic guidelines to adhere to, and I paid close attention to detail on materials, positioning guidelines, and layouts. I started with some DIYs in our first house and made some progress—some of our friends came to visit and remarked on how much character our home already had as a builder-grade house.

My friend convinced me to start my Instagram account in 2016, and from there things started picking up quickly! Client inquiries started coming in and the business took off, so that’s when I decided to leave teaching and shift into design full-time.

How would you describe your style?

It’s all over the place, honestly, but now it’s leaning transitional with a hint of cottage style. I gravitate toward a lot of white, wood, and black finishes, which imparts this sort of modern farmhouse look, I know, but I’m not keen on saying my style is modern farmhouse. I choose style elements depending on the space and what it needs. 

My clients typically want to see my style, mixed in with their own touches. For those projects, I look at their Pinterest boards to identify recurring themes, and generally work from there to marry that with my own style. Our basement project ended up with a more modern cottage feel with a whimsy boho touch.

basement after remodel with hybrid resilient flooring and gas fireplace

Tell us about this renovation and your latest installation project with LL Flooring?

Our house is a ranch-style layout, so the main level is open concept with an office, music room, sitting room, and a casual living room. We started renovating as soon as we moved into the house in March of 2019. The basement had the original carpet, which was over 20 years old, so it was very musty and actually caused allergy problems for my kids.

Our oldest was two months old and had colic, and we had a stressed-out cat that was peeing all over the basement carpet. So, the basement wasn’t really a safe or usable room, but the space is so big and open that we didn’t want it to go to waste. So, we decided to make the whole basement level into a kid-friendly area.

That carpet had to go, and it was really important to us to install new flooring that would last a long time and could handle two young kids—the oldest is three and our baby is now one—as well as any future pets.


basement after remodel with plant decor and art

What would you say is your primary focus when determining the design of a space?

I always start with clearing out the space so I can see it as a blank canvas, which helps me to understand how the room should function. When we removed the pool table that had been in our basement, our 2-year-old just went crazy and was running around in circles. That made it clear to me how it could function so much better as a space to let the kids play freely, with wall-to-wall built-ins and benches.

The first priority in any space is the functionality—so in the case of our basement project, we asked: What do we like to do when we play with the kids? What do the kids like to do?

Once the function is decided, I can look at which style direction I want to go in. In our basement, I broke the space apart into an adult area, a wide play kitchen/pretend camping area/run-around area, and a window corner for more peaceful floor play.

basement after remodel with shelving near window

Why did you choose this floor?

Performance is key—the ability to wipe up spilled sippy cups and other messes without the liquid sinking in between the boards is essential. The Dual Defense waterproofing technology was definitely a huge factor in why we chose a Duravana floor. The wear-resistance is great too. The kids can play with their toys on the floor, and we don’t have to worry about scratches or dents.

As for style, we were torn between Bay Bridge Oak and Chapel Bridge Oak, but ultimately decided to go with Bay Bridge. The cooler, gray tones of Chapel Bridge Oak are definitely stylish, but our basement space was already more cool-toned and shaded. We chose Bay Bridge, with golden honey tones, to bring some cozy warmth to the room.

I was seven months pregnant when we started installing the flooring, and Duravana was so easy to install that it only took two weekends. The locking installation made it easy and quick, and now that it’s in, it’s a triple threat: performance, style, and easy to DIY.

Follow Cait for ideas and inspiration on Instagram @nest.out.west

Post your photo on Facebook or Instagram and tag @LLFlooringOfficial for a chance to be featured on our page!

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