A Composer’s Studio – Artist Retreat, part 5

It’s been a little while since we last visited the Artist Retreat series, and there are a few more spaces left to explore, including this composer’s studio. Since my last post, an article in the Winston-Salem Monthly was published about this house! It is a fantastic read (despite my bias as the designer) because it really focuses on the clients and their experience with this project.

But first, let’s back up a little. When I was first approached by these clients, they were in the process of closing on this house. I was hired initially for two purposes – to design the main level of the house and to work with the husband who is a composer and professor at UNC School of the Arts. He is one of those all-around wonderful human beings; warm, grounded, insanely talented, and passionate about his craft. The basement of this house was designated as his studio. It needed to house several dozen(!) instruments, his musical scores, dvds, and also be a place where he could retreat to play on his own or with a group. Here we have the same view from above, when I first saw the space:

Artists Retreat Composer Studio - Before

Functionally, what he needed was seating and storage. And the space clearly needed a refresh. In came new carpet and a fresh coat of paint. The colors from upstairs were brought downstairs onto the walls, and the fireplace was repainted a deeper gray color to add contrast and the the mantle got a nice pop as well. The tired window treatments came down to add more natural light. And do you see that awkward brick knee wall on the right? It became the location for built-in storage.

Artists Retreat Composer Studio - Bookcase

Shelving started at console height, and went straight to the ceiling to add visual height to the room. The shelves themselves were painted the crisp white of the trim, and were designed to be adjustable for the varying heights of his different media needs. The shelving creates a nice, layered nook for the couch and two side tables. The goal was to have plenty of places to place books, guitar picks, a glass of water, or anything else one might have around them during a jam session. Including a table lamp for multiple levels of light.

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Arm Chair Roundup

When it comes to picking out things for the home online, it often feels like the choices are endless. This can be especially true for furniture and particularly accent pieces such as arm chairs. Depending on what budget you’re working with, you may find it hard to search for pieces that really hit the mark. We know. Not to worry. We’ve done a little shopping for you. Here’s a fun, short list of the arm chairs we are currently loving, conveniently broken down by budget – low and high! All of these chairs are through retail vendors, making purchasing only a click away.

Affordable Stylish Arm Chair Options

You probably won’t find it surprising that a lot of the best – and cheapest – pieces can be found on Wayfair or AllModern. These retail sites really do have a large selection of modern furnishings to suit your needs and they often are pretty budget friendly in getting the job done. But even some of the trendier places like Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters offer some cheap options for seating. Any of these choices provide a great lift to a living space or reading nook.

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Y’all, I have just been to the most elegantly styled, fabulously adorable showroom in ALL of High Point! What is this Valhalla you ask? It’s Red Eggand it’s not actually a showROOM, it’s a showHOUSE.

red egg Double Happiness Hanging Bed with Indochine Octagonal Table

Red Egg was founded in 1997 by “Chief Hen” Carol Gregg, who is the most lovely and delightful person in High Point. Carol has created an East meets West aesthetic for her brand, mixing Asian forms with vibrant colors and lush textures. Girlfriend is a straight-up BOSS, and everyone in the CFD office is completely enamored with her.

red egg Indochine Wing Back Chair and Settee

As you walk on to the airy wrap around porch, you are greeted by a number of a-mah-zing outdoor pieces, all of which are either made in the USA, or imported from the Philippines, where Carol spends a good portion of her time. I was lucky enough to be introduced to Shadow, Carol’s trusty sidekick, a slender grey cat who can often be found lounging in the sun, or on top of papers on Carol’s desk.

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Orange Crush – Artist Retreat, part 4

Good morning, y’all. I’m back on the blog today with an image heavy post in a continuation of our Artist Retreat series. Today, it’s a photograph explosion of the breakfast area and den. I am going to dub this as my orange crush, because let’s be serious, I am truly crushing on this space.

Orange Breakfast Area - Interior Designer

When it came to the breakfast area and the den, when we came on the client already had the clearest vision for these two spaces. This is truly where the palette for the rest of the house started – specifically with the orange pendant light that had travelled from California with the client. We carried the grey walls from the entryway on to the back of the house in these more informal spaces, and then brought the deep, moody blue tone from the dining room into the den as an accent in the bookcases and mini bar area.

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Luminescent – Artist Retreat, part 3

Welcome back to the Artist’s Retreat. Today in part 3 we have a few gorgeous images of this glamorous, modern meets Asian-inspired dining room. A rich wall color plays the perfect supporting role for blending different wood tones in the furniture pieces, and sets the stage for perhaps my favorite chandelier in the whole wide world. I know white rooms are all the rage right now, but sometimes when you’re throwing a fabulous dinner party, you want to create a more intimate setting to allow the conversation and spirits to flow. A deeper, more saturated wall color will do the trick. This wall color was selected to bring the blue tones from the living room into this side of the house. With a bit more sheen to the finish than your basic eggshell, the light reflects more off the walls. We added a lighter rug on the floor to compliment the lovely moody blue on the walls.

dinning room lighting

One element that is often overlooked in design is lighting – especially different levels of lighting. This Johnathan Adler Meurice Rectangle Chandelier was chosen as a perfect compliment to the dining chairs, adding drama and multiple levels of light to finish off the space. The brass details have a bamboo vibe that tie in with the other Asian-inspired pieces in the room.

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Mood: Spring Color

After a bit of start and go, it seems like Spring has finally sprung here in North Carolina. I was taking a walk the other day and couldn’t get over how stunning the flowers are at this time of year. It was a little too much beauty, honestly. I had to go back inside…

As you can probably tell by now, one of the things we love most about designing for the home is bringing together beautiful combinations of color. In the spirit of the season, we’ve put together a set of Spring mood boards – paired with some of our favorite Sherwin Williams colors – that show just a few simple ways of tying in the various reds, pinks, greens, and blues to bring nature inside.

Love red? Try Radish:

Red Radish Color Inspo - Interior Design

Love pink? Try Fine Wine:

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Catspiration Friday – Before & After

Happy Friday! Welcome to another Catspiration Friday post.

This week I was digging through my old client pictures trying to find some before images for all of our afters, and ran into this telling photo. From the Kenan Institute project, these two images are from the same angle, and show quite a difference in the space.

Changes we made:

  • removed an awkward conference room with glass panes and filled in the flooring
  • selected new paint colors for better visual flow and branding
  • designed a barn door to separate the front community space from the smaller breakout rooms in the back
  • created a new custom bar-level work space that doubles as a staging space for events
  • brought in all new furniture and accessories

As y’all probably know, I’m on the road quite a bit traveling to meet clients and vendors, and when I’m driving anywhere I’ve got a podcast playing. I am particularly obsessed with a handful of interior design business podcasts (nerd much?). As I was listening to Kimberley Seldon’s Business of Design Podcast, one of her guests said interior designers “take a vision or a desire from a client and turn it into a physical reality for them.” And it hit me that yes, this is exactly what we do here at Catherine French Design.

For the Kenan Institute, they needed better flow and function, in addition to an aesthetic facelift. They had a vision, and we were the channel with which to turn that vision into a physical manifestation. Want to see more of the Kenan Institute project? Check out these two previous posts here and here. Interested in starting a conversation about your space and vision? We’d love to chat.

Space Planning 101: The Living Room

Oh the dilemma of arranging your living room. You want it to look like it was ripped from the pages of a magazine but you don’t want guests to feel like they can’t touch anything. You want it to not completely center around that rectangle on the wall but let’s get real – someone in your house probably doesn’t care and “JUST WANTS TO BE ABLE TO SEE THE TV”.

It’s fine. We have a few tricks up our sleeves. Let’s take a look at a few ways to meet all of the various demands and arrange your living room for both style and function. (Restrictions due to walls and windows may apply. We can help.)

Formal Living Room Layout Option - Catherine French Design

Ok, so let’s say your style leans a bit more traditional. A formal living arrangement will place emphasis on symmetry. It also typically has a focal point grounding it, which in this case could either be a fireplace, or simply your TV console. This arrangement will benefit from two sofas running parallel to one another along the length of your room. On one end, your focal point – on the other, two arm chairs to complete the look.  Conversational Living Room Layout Option - Catherine French Design

Maybe you want to take the focus off of the television and have your living room encourage conversation among family and guests. A simple way of doing this is to angle a pair of arm chairs across from the sofa. This way, you have a sight line to the TV from your sofa, but carrying on conversation is still the main goal. Bonus tip: the arm chairs should be swivel chairs. Then, guests can turn to the TV, too. See? We like making everyone happy.

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