Jeffrey Cahill did not set out to become an interior designer. Now, though, as he begins the fourth year of operation of the company he founded, CS Design in Red Bank, he is starting to think it is what he was born to do.

He likes the excitement of imagining what a space will look like and feel like.

“My favorite part of the business is the first 24 hours of the job,” Cahill said, “seeing it in my head.”

He also likes the process of executing that vision, figuring out how to overcome obstacles and finding the right materials.

Cahill has managed to channel his imagination and enthusiasm into a business that has grown from $90,000 in revenue in 1997 to $500,000 last year. He expects revenue of mroe than $1,000,000 this year.

His breakthrough assignment was designing the interior of Ashes steakhouse and Seafood

Raw Bar, the public restaurant/private club/cigar bar that captured a lot of attention when it opened on Broad Street in Red Bank in the summer of 1998. Since then CS Design has created the interiors of a variety of restaurants and other commercial establishments, along with apartments and houses.

Clients have included Pasta Fresca, which is scheduled to reopen in The Grove at Schrewsbury by the end of this month, the Black Oak Grill on Route 35 in Middletown, the Nove (pronounced no-vay) apparel store on Broad Street in Red Bank, and CS Design's biggest job so far – the Charlie Brown's restaurant chain.

About 75 percent of the company's work is commercial. The rest is residential. Many of the residential jobs come from the clients who first hired Cahill for commercial designs.

The 37-year old Cahill was born and raised in Holmdel. After graduating from Hlmdel High School in 1981, he attended the

School of Visual Arts in Manhattan, thinking it would help him get a job in the adverttising industry/

"Back in the 1980's it was all the rage to be in advertising," he said. "But the market became saturated."

So when Cahill received his bachelor's degree in graphic design in 1986, he kept working in the industry he had worked in part-time or full-time since he was 16 years old – construction.

He eventually became a construction foreman, which meant good pay and benefits. With marriage, two sons and a house with a mortgage in Fair Haven, he was not in a position to take any
risks pursuing another career.

Occasionally, though, when Cahill would work with interior designers' plans in construction, he thought he could do as well, or better.

After a divorce in 1994, Cahill began moving toward a new career. "I could make the break," he said.

Cahill began by doing free-lance work for Unlimited Designs, a design company in As bury Park.

Then the Junior League of Monmouth County sponsored a design competition in which different designers did rooms in a house in West Long Branch. After the public toured the house, Cahill won the people's choice award for a breakfast room he did.

"That gave me the courage to start on my own," Cahill said. He used $30,000 that he received from the sale of the house in Fair Haven to start CS Design. The CS stands for Cahill Studio.
Cahill believes that his training and expertise in graphic design help give his designs freshness.

"I think of the shapes of the walls like a graphic," he said. "I look at a set of blueprints and look at it graphically, whereas an architect might look at it mathematically."

On the other hand, Cahill said, his experience in construction helps keep his designs from getting lost in unrealistic clouds of abstraction. He knows what's feasible and what it will cost.

The Ashes assignment came through a Red Bank architect, Leonard V. Martelli. Cahill introduced himself to Martelli, as he did with many architects, by sending him photographs of his work. "I was intrigued," Martelli said.

When the Ashes project came along, Martelli thought Cahill would be a good fit, and Ashes' owners agreed when they saw the ideas.

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