Design 101 has long been an institution in Los Gatos, and its owner, Julie Cavanaugh, 41, was considered one of the best designers in town. Her work featured in several magazines, and she was once a featured designer in an “Designers’ Challenge” on Home and Garden TV.
On Wednesday, Cavanaugh was arrested and charged with grand theft, attempted grand theft, and forgery, as well as for operating as a contractor without a license.
The problem began in Saratoga, where she contracted two subcontractors to install granite counter-tops in a private home. The two subcontractors, one of whom was also unlicensed, did a shoddy job at first, but Cavanaugh agreed to redo the job at no cost to her clients. She did charge them, however, an additional $14,000, ostensibly to cover her losses. She then forged the clients’ name on furniture orders that they claim they never bought.
The clients complained to the Contractors State License Board, and an investigation ensued. They discovered that she was not licensed as a contractor. Her arrest came on Monday.
Cavanaugh has since been released on $25,000 bail.