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Black River Roasters

In looking at your portfolio of work, I noticed that you use an abundance of white and off-white? Is that something that you do consciously or subconsciously?

No accident! I prefer light and bright to heavy and dark. Not that I want all walls painted white.

Your portfolio appears to be well-balanced between contemporary design and a more traditional style. Does this reflect you personally?

I reflect my clients’ preferences. I want to be that chameleon who can do the style the project calls for. But yes-I like the mix in my own life. I adore antiques and nothing makes me happier than a client who can embrace the mix for themselves.

You say you are a student of history, and this approach seems to show in your work. Do you seek out properties with a bit of history?

What it really comes down to is that things with a history bring another layer to your home's story. Your home does not need to be old, although I am definitely a fan of the vintage homes here in our area, but how can you give it layers that evoke something interesting? You could add a reclaimed door to a newly built home and all of a sudden there is patina and something for your eye to linger on.

You have recently purchased a home in Tewksbury and it needed a little updating. What design changes did you make to reflect your evolving needs? How did that process work for you? Are you happy with the way it turned out?

So our home was built in the 1970s to evoke the feeling of an "old" house. Some of that was charming and some was just inefficient. But we could not be happier with it and the wonderful people around us. First up was paint top to bottom inside. We also added wallcovering in lieu of paint in a few places. Upgraded lighting including outside. And a soft remodel of the kitchen which included a new island, lighting, sink, faucet, hood, window and countertops/backsplash. The overall effect is lighter, brighter and it functions so very much better for us.

Since 2007, Caitlin has completed renovation and decoration projects throughout Essex, Morris, Union and Somerset counties, as well as Manhattan and Westchester. Her Nap Room at the Twin Maples showhouse (Summit, NJ 2008) was featured in Showhouses 2, A Decorators’ Tour by Jeffrey B. Snyder (Schiffer 2010), and her work has twice been featured in NJ Monthly.

Visit or contact her at: (973) 715-1909 or

Black River Roasters


An Interview with

​Caitlin Rutkay

of C.R. Interior Designs

celebrating a sense of place

Caitlin Rutkay launched C.R. Interior Designs in 2007 after many years in Manhattan working for venerated decorators. She brings her cultivated eye to every project, whether staging a home or building a home from the ground up. For her, each project must represent its owners and speak to their lifestyle. Comfort, functionality and precise attention to detail are hallmarks of her work.

Do you have a design philosophy?

My design philosophy is be confident and live with what you love.

How do you help your clients design a fresh living space that evolves with their lifestyle?

I have certainly helped clients transition from large to small homes, and vice versa. It takes planning and I feel I bring the right experience to the table to assist with these changes of life. There is a lot of emotion involved sometimes! And being a reassuring professional is part of what I do best.

Your designs reflect the individual tastes of your clients and appear to be highly livable interior spaces. How do you encourage people to share their vision and their likes/dislikes with you?

To get the best results clients need to be open and share their true intentions and preferences. I let people know that honesty is best-I have no ego in this process.