INFLUENCER: Meet RI’s DIY Rising Star, Carli Alves

Named one of 102 Black Designers, Crafters, Makers, and More to Follow on Instagram Now by Country Living, Made by Carli shares practical tips on renos, rugs, and resales


You have shared many projects from your circa 1945-home renovation. What is your biggest tip for someone thinking about renovating an older home?

When renovating an older home, people are often driven to create these drastic before and afters, like tearing down walls and changing up floor plans. One of the most important steps to take is to truly assess. Take inventory of the major issues, such as structural or electrical problems, plumbing issues, or situations that might be hazardous to your health or safety. Once you tend to those issues, I suggest living in the home for a while, and getting yourself acquainted with it; get a feel for how you and your family function in it as-is. By doing this, I think you can get a really good feel for what works for you and what doesn’t, making your renovation decisions far more informed, rather than making major or costly changes that you may later regret.


Do you have a favorite decor trend?

I’m not usually one to hop on trends, but I do love how decor has shifted from stark whites and cool grays to warm neutrals, earth tones, and natural textures. I think since quarantine, we’ve all leaned towards comfort and durability in our decor, so this trend helps the home feel more cozy and inviting.


What’s the biggest improvement you can make in a space on a budget?

I think most people would say paint, and while it’s true – I despise painting! One of the easiest and most impactful ways to improve a space is to change out your area rug. Have fun with different patterns or textures to give your space a completely different feel. And then you can pull colors from your rug to coordinate throw pillows and other textiles like curtains and throw blankets to create a beautifully cohesive home.


Do you have a fave DIY project from your own home?

It would have to be the DIY console sink I built for our powder room. I was inspired by a sink from Restoration Hardware which was a little out of my budget, and came up with a design using wooden stair balusters for the legs. I love how I was able to create a custom piece that looks high-end on a budget.


Where are some of your favorite small Rhode Island businesses to go shopping for home decor?

I love thrifting, so when I’m not yardsaling or hitting up the flea markets, you can find me at a Habitat ReStore, Mike’s Estate Services in West Warwick, or Salvation Army in Woonsocket.


What advice do you have for someone who wants to get more involved with DIY projects?

There’s so much inspiration and tutorials available at our fingertips nowadays. My biggest advice is to just start somewhere and don’t be afraid to fail. I’ve done tons of DIY projects, and even I get intimidated sometimes, but I think it all has to do with just starting. 

Follow along at @madebycarli on Instagram.


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