Meet Claudia Clouse – Scottsdale Showroom Sales

Claudia ClauseWhat is your past  work experience/education?:
I was a dancer in Brazil and had always been drawn to Fashion, Arts & Design. My father became a carpenter later in life and he inspired me to appreciate artisans and the beauty of being a craftsman. I also like to travel and I am amazed how rich and diverse other cultures are.
I became involved in the field by “accident”- One of my neighbors was a manager for a furniture showroom in the suburbs of Chicago and invited me to take a part-time position. From that point on my appreciation and interest grew. I went back to school part-time after my son was born and have been working ever since.

Where were you raised?
I was born and raised in Brazil and lived in Sao Paulo until I was 21. The energy of a fast moving city still excites me!

What was your most rewarding project and why?
I just love to start a project with an heirloom piece, something that has been passed around. It’s inspiring to be able to build and collaborate with your client, to envision their dream home and to make that come to fruition.

How would you characterize your design style?
Definitely eclectic. Mixing Old World colors, shapes and fabrics with a new piece. I also love Mid Century Design.

In your experience working at C.A.I. Designs thus far, what is/are some of your favorite product lines and why?
I have just started to learn about our lines, but so far I love Interlude Home, Maria Yee, and Taracea. They are clean, chic and timeless. The craftsmanship is an art form and the sustainable materials are crucial for the well being of our planet!

What is your favorite color?
Colors from nature. Greens, orange/rust, eggplant…

What do you like to do in your spare time?
I like to spend time with my family, friends and my dog. Good wine, listen to Brazilian and Classical music and to read. Yoga, meditation, and Zumba.

What is your favorite food?
Anything vegetarian with different herbs and spices. I cook rice, lentils, and vegetables with lots of garlic and onions. I do love Japanese food too!

Where do you draw your inspiration from? Is there anything you do to get you inspired when you hit a slump?
My inspiration comes from the lines and the architecture from Turkey, Egypt, France, and Brazil. I look into nature if I hit a slump. Colors and forms from the mountains and the ocean. Or going to a concert/ballet/museum works too. I just watched Loving Vincent, it was amazing.

Claudia can be reached in person at our showroom in the Scottsdale Design District, by email at or by phone at 480-565-3775 x6933

Meet Abigail Piper – Denver Lighting Specialist

Abigail PiperWhat is your past  work experience/education?:
Bachelor’s Technical Journalism with Emphasis in PR/Marketing

I have 15 years experience in architectural and residential lighting. My journey began in Santa Monica back in 2003. I love the technical and creative aspects of lighting.

Where were you raised?
I was born and raised in Colorado. I grew up in Grand Junction, CO. There are five kids in my family. All of us are adopted. My parents originally planned on 4 kids – two boys and two girls. My parents were getting ready to adopt my biological brother, Tony as their last addition the family. However, my Mom saw my picture or she read about me and decided last minute to take me as well. I’ve lived in NYC and Santa Monica.

What was your most rewarding project and why?
One of my most rewarding projects was a residential house located in Hawaii. There were 10 different ceiling heights, 4 in the kitchen alone. I helped my clients with Tech Lighting Monorail throughout the home. We communicated by phone and emailed pictures only. Usually, you would need to go to the location, but we all worked together to make it happen. The end result was great and there were no hiccups. It was a nice challenge and my goal is to solve problems creatively.

How would you characterize your design style?
I personally love mid century modern design. I enjoy introducing color into a space to liven it up. I believe lighting and furniture should be functional and beautiful.

In your experience working at C.A.I. Designs thus far, what is/are some of your favorite product lines and why?
My favorite product line is Hubbardton Forge because of the craftsmanship and great customer service. Their designs are beautiful and offer something different than any other manufacturer. HF also stands behind their products.

What is your favorite color?
Depends on the situation. I do like pink.

What do you like to do in your spare time?
I like to enjoy local cuisine, watch movies, spend time with friends and family and my Shih Tzu-Maltise mix dog, Gizmo.

What is your favorite food?
I love Italian and Japanese food. Love sweets!

Where do you draw your inspiration from? Is there anything you do to get you inspired when you hit a slump?
My inspiration design-wise really comes from my clients. Everyone has their own personality and style. It’s my goal to make sure clients get something functional and aesthetically pleasing to their decor.

Abigail can be reached in person at our showroom in the Denver Design District, by email at or by phone at 303-282-8100

A Few of our Favorite Things with Kyle Blevins

roxy chair

Click Here to learn more about Thayer Coggin and the Roxy Chair, or visit your local showroom.

A few of our Favorite Things with MaryPat Heath

cisco pouf

Learn more at or visit your nearest C.A.I. Designs showroom!

A Few of Our Favorite Things with Eric Berkey


Eric Berkey Lighting Specialist

Welcome Burton James to Scottsdale

C.A.I. Designs is proud to represent Burton James in our Scottsdale Showroom. The Burton James line is now represented in all FOUR locations.

burton james seating area

Burton James was formed in 1983, with a mission to provide hand-crafted upholstered furniture with the premium on customer interaction and service. It’s three founding principals, all industry veterans, each brought their own specific talents to the company.

The company’s commitment to quality product and superior service has stayed true to its founding mission. 30 years later, Burton James has one of the most loyal customer bases in the industry.

burton james swivel chairJoin us at Desert Design Days


as we welcome
Mark Landres, Creative Director of Burton James together with Philip Chavez, Buyer/Merchandiser of C.A.I. Designs as they present a panel discussion

Lunch will be served at 12:30pm
Presentation will follow at 1:00pm


Meet Mitzi.

C.A.I. Designs is proud to introduce Mitzi – A division of Hudson Valley Lighting, to our DENVER location!

Inspired by the founder of Hudson Valley Lighting’s grandmother, a painter and master antique-finder, Mitzi mixes classic with contemporary, sacrificing no quality along the way. Designed with thoughtful simplicity, each fixture embodies form and function in perfect harmony. Less clutter and more creativity.
Click Here to learn more

Ani fixture by mitzi




A Few of our Favorite Things


chinese cabinet

Meet Cara Stringari | Scottsdale Customer Service

Cara StringariTell us about your past work experience | education:
Prior to C.A.I. Designs I worked at the Arizona School of Real Estate & Business as the Faculty Coordinator and Scheduler for 800 monthly classes and over 125 teachers among 4 campuses.

Before the school, I worked for local designers as Office Manager while I studied Interior Design at Scottsdale Community College.


For 10 years prior, I was in various administrative positions such as Office Manager, and Executive Assistant. However, I always had an interest in design which is when I took the leap into this industry.

I have also been a bartender for over 15 years. The industry has come a long way with craft cocktails and craft beer. It is a fun way to entertain guests or spice up a party.

Where were you raised?
Originally from Dallas, Texas; I moved to Scottsdale, Arizona in 1992. The weather was so nice and the town was very quaint so I finished high school and made it my home.

When the summer is too hot we just jump on a plane to the California beach for the weekend, or take a drive up north to the mountains.

In your opinion, what is “good customer service”?
All business is based on relationships with people. Helping people find what they need, or a remedy for a problem. Most people want to feel acknowledged and understood. In my experience, working together to solve the issue is what makes a great relationship prosper. People like to do business with those that make them feel important and that they have trust in. Efficient communication is how you build trust in new relationships.

How would you characterize your design style?
My style is very eclectic. It has changed a lot over the years. When I was younger I enjoyed contemporary, modern clean lines and simple design. More recently I have enjoyed the refinement of luxurious fabrics and incorporating Gothic, Tuscan, and Spanish influences; especially, with rustic woods. I appreciate every style for it’s unique qualities that give it a personality. I have a difficult time choosing one style because I love the feeling they evoke and the mood it sets.

What is your favorite color?
My favorite color is orange. It can be the color of flowers, the gorgeous sunset, or even a metallic copper. It is a vibrant, happy, warm color that compliments my personality.

What do you like to do in your spare time?
I love to play golf. It has been a passion of mine for over 20 years. We have such great weather in Arizona that we can play year round. I enjoy being outside, and playing a mental sport that challenges me at every new course. I even got a hole in one within the first few years of playing which makes me want to get another.

I frequently travel, and enjoy the change of scenery as well as learning about new people and cultures. I have been to over 40 states, Canada and Mexico. My next adventures will be Hawaii, the Caribbean, and then Europe where I have family and friends.

What is your favorite food?
I love all food! I enjoy cooking and using my home grown vegetables. If i had to choose a favorite it would be Italian. In addition to being comfort food, it is very versatile and perfect to share with friends. You can easily accommodate a variety of diets and customize recipes to make everyone happy. I recently taught myself how to make pasta and pizza from scratch. What a difference it makes when it’s fresh!

What methods do you use to turn negative circumstances into positive ones?
Initially, when an issue arises there may be some tension to relieve. I try to listen to the person, and acknowledge their concerns. I reassure them that I am going to do everything in my power to resolve the situation to the best of my ability and that I am fully capable of handling it. If not, I am more than happy to involve my manager to escalate and have it resolved. I always recap the conversation so the client trusts that I understand all the facts, and follow up with a detailed email letting them know a status update when possible.

Anything else you would like to share?
I am thrilled to be working at the newest C.A.I. Designs showroom in Scottsdale. It is by far the most beautiful office I have ever had the pleasure to work in. It is very hard to have a bad day when you are surrounded by such gorgeous products.

If you are at the Scottsdale Design District, be sure to stop in C.A.I. Designs and say Hello! Contact Cara at (480) 565-3775 x6932 or

A few of our favorite things


Lee Sectional