We chatted with amazingly talented Cait Pappas from Nest Out West. Not only did she show us some great interior decor and style but she also taught us about e-decor and how she got into this new and emerging field. Check out the interview below!

1. How many years have you been blogging?

It’s been three years as of this past November!

2. What is your favorite Interior Design project that you’ve ever done?

As of right now, my favorite project was decorating every space in a blank, empty, newer-construction apartment in Downtown Denver. My client was a 25-year-old girl who had just moved to Denver from Chicago, and whose parents wanted her to feel comfortable and safe, so she said I could purchase whatever it would take to achieve that 🙂 She completely trusted my expertise, so she didn’t micromanage any aspect of the project. When she saw it for the first time, her reaction was priceless! She threw her arms up and cried happy years, and she kept saying how it was like I was in her mind pulling every element out of her thoughts! I felt like an HGTV host welcoming her home.

3. Which project are you most proud of?

This was a toughie because there are a handful of projects where I provided the vision, and the homeowners worked their butts off to make it happen, and they all did such an impressive job bringing my vision to life! With that, though, I would say I’m most proud of my very first e-design project. Even though my process has come a long way since then, that project was the one that kickstarted the way I approach every new project today! I remember receiving an email from a very sweet woman with a young family in a town near San Francisco, and she told me she followed my Instagram account @nest.out.west, that she loved my style, and that she was wondering if I would ever work with a client electronically. I explained to her that I hadn’t ever considered that, so if she were willing to be a guinea pig for the process and deal with any and all of my new-small-business hiccups, I’d love to try e-design! She was and still is one of the most kind, patient, and sincere people I’ve met since starting @nest.out.west! It also didn’t hurt that her before and after pics look great!

Office_ Desk Wall
Photo: nestoutwest.co

4. What does a day in the life of an interior decor blogger look like?

Oh gosh. Well, I also have an eleven-month-old baby at home with me lol. Sooo… I wake up with the baby, scroll through Instagram and engage with other accounts while I feed him his morning bottle, and then put my devices away until he takes his nap. Sometimes I’m able to straighten the house a little while he plays. Once he goes down for a nap, I jump on my laptop and get to work. I respond to emails about clients’ projects and about potential collaborations with home decor brands. Most days, I also need to style and photograph a product that I’ve been gifted or paid to promote, so I try to do that while the baby naps, then photo edit, export, and upload to email. The baby wakes up, I feed him another bottle and some lunch (technology-free). I try to straighten up another room in the house or get some laundry done while he plays, and then when he goes down for nap number two, I repeat the work cycle. I try to get an Instagram post out during the 3:00 pm hour every day, but some days, the little guy wakes up right before 3 pm, and if I miss that hour, it’s not really worth it for me to post that day because the post won’t get as many likes (I have to keep my engagement rate—which is my followers-to-likes ratio—up in order to continue landing paid collaborations with brands. I know, it sounds super petty, but that’s just how it goes, and I’ve accepted it. Once the baby wakes up, I feed him and play with him until my husband gets home (usually around 6 pm), at which point he’ll take over baby duty so I can create new renderings and decorating plans for my clients, respond to more emails, and edit more photos. I’m typing my responses to this interview at 9:30 pm lol… in case that helps readers better understand how late my days go 😉

Interior design
Photo: nestoutwest.co

5. What kind of lighting do you have set up for your work?

Right now, our office isn’t set up (we’re in the process of updating it—flooring, wallpaper, paint, etc.), so I work from the kitchen table or from the sofa. We have a chandelier over the kitchen table, and we have a floor lamp in the living room. I’m sure neither one provides the amount of light I should be using haha. During the daytime, though, this west-facing window gets lots of gorgeous sunlight!

6. What is your favorite lamp or string lights that you’ve used for a project?

I love twinkle lights draped over a tall floor mirror if I’m decorating for a younger client. For a more sophisticated modern look, I love mounting plug-in wall sconces over nightstands, behind a sofa’s armrest, or flanking a TV when I’m doing a media wall.

7. What is the greatest tip that you could give?

When it comes to your style, go with your gut! Don’t use furniture and decor that doesn’t speak to you just because you saw it on Pinterest, so therefore it must be the new “it” thing 😉 Your style is YOURS alone, and you should cherish that!

Photo: nestoutwest.co

8. What is the hardest thing about Interior Design?

Scale is such a huge part of making spaces look cohesive, stylish, and impactful, yet sometimes it’s tough to find the perfectly scaled piece while keeping within the budget. Another toughie is working with clients who have a hard time seeing the big picture. Some people fixate on the little details too much, which makes my job even harder because I spend so much time curating each piece to fit perfectly in each client’s design. I love it when a client steps back and trusts that what I put together will result in a beautiful blend of old and new, worn and polished, cozy yet modern.

9. If you had to do it all over again, what would you do differently?

If I could press the reset button, I think I would focus more on my blog rather than filling up all of my waking (non-mommy) hours with client projects. While it’s such a fun job to be trusted with being creative and decorating other people’s homes, I used to be a writer (first corporate, and then I taught English and literature for a little bit), and I honestly miss doing that! I just don’t have time right now with everything else I have going on.

Photo: nestoutwest.co

10. What do you think had the biggest impact on making your blog a success?

I’m going to refer to my Instagram account as a blog for the purpose of this question. Since I don’t have time to craft posts for my formal blog (on my website), I tend to write mini blog posts in my captions on IG 🙂 I think a big part of what made it successful was the fact that when I created it, I was breaking away from the standard “white and chippy” modern farmhouse style, and I was posting photos of my home that featured bold black walls and DIY decor that anyone could do. I also truly value the comments people leave on my images, and I always do my best to reply to every single comment. As much as my account grows, I will never look at smaller accounts and think any of them are beneath me. Each unique home decorating account has its own fabulous style, and I find all of the ones I follow to be truly inspirational. I think it’s that idea of valuing others that speaks volumes in the home decor community, and when people can tell you’re a genuine person with kind motives, it makes it easier for them to find value in what you post.

We hope that you enjoyed this awesome interview. If you want to read about other really cool interior designers check out our interview with Michele that bought and renovated her own farmhouse and Christina’s dream of becoming an interior designer.