2018 was bananas, y’all. It was wonderful, and amazing, and rewarding, and at times oh, so challenging. But if there was one word that really summed it all up for me, it’d be growth.

2018 brought:

  • baby girl Margaret
  • 33 amazing new clients
  • 2 out-of-state installations for full-service clients in Florida & Pennsylvania (plus 9 more local installations!)
  • a CFD van
  • a new house
  • two major hurricanes & a major snowstorm
  • a new intern
  • new vendors and amazing industry connections
  • an interview with LuAnn Nigara
  • a new studio space!
  • top 1/3 of interior design studios nationally

Are you exhausted? I’m exhausted.

No, but really – in case you’ve missed the social media explosion the last few weeks, we ended December with a bang and moved our office location to Southern Village over the holidays. And it is awesome. But with so much growth over 2018, it’s definitely time for a different word for 2019. This year I’m picking rooted.

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Color Crush: Black

If you’re anything like me, you decided to sit out last week on the fight-to-the-death, battle royale, hot, steamy mess that is the experience of going out and shopping on Black Friday. Seriously, you’re liable to lose a limb if you get stuck between all the hustle and bustle of the hordes of shoppers hoppin’ and boppin’ all over to find the best deals. Some people even wake up at 5am just to be at the doors when they open at 6! I wouldn’t get up that early if The Lord himself parted the skies, hovered down on a cloud carried by two little cherubs, and asked me personally to wake up.

Shopping on Black Friday can be scary, but what can be even scarier is trying to figure out a way to use the color black in your home. Oftentimes, we fear black will make a room smaller, or turn the atmosphere too dark or moody, but there’s a way to do it without feeling like you’re in a dungeon. It’s all about moderation, and below are a few examples to show you what I mean. Have no fear. It can be done.

Black Exterior Door


A black front door is modern, sleek, and makes a bold statement. That statement being: We’re the Johnsons, and we’re frickin’ cool. The black wicker chair and patterned rug matches the door and makes for a cohesive front porch.

Mar’s tip: Add gold accent tables and door hardware to keep the look fresh and stylish.

Black Interior Door

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Be Our {Guest Room}

With the holiday season coming right ‘round the mountain when it comes, (did 2018 not just fly by, y’all?!), I’m sure you’re gearing up for cozy snuggles, cold weather, and charming family get-togethers that always get ruined by your one crazy uncle. From Thanksgiving gatherings to Dirty Santa Christmas parties, your loved ones will need a place to crash after guzzling too much moscato [yes, I’m the girl that brings the same $7.99 bottle to every family function, and yes, I do have a headache now but it was totally worth it]. Why not give them a lovely guest room to rest their hangover-ridden heads? Below are a few guest rooms that caught my eye, and that I personally wouldn’t mind secretly vomiting up eggnog in at 3:00am after everyone else has gone to bed.

Tropical Terrain

Tropical Guest Room - Catherine French Design

Winter isn’t coming, Jon Snow, she’s already here and she’s COLD! Fight off freezing temperatures by bringing the tropics to your home. The green botanical accent wall shows one way to do this by introducing color and setting the tropical tone of the room. I read recently about the meanings of different colors and how useful they are when designing a room. For example, green is a great color to use to bring the outside indoors because it represents nature, ecology, and tranquility. Green also creates a feeling of refreshment so your guests can feel relaxed and rested. Touches of natural materials like the cotton rug and wicker window blind add warmth and texture, while an animal print accessory [think: cheetahs, leopards, zebras, oh my] like the leopard throw pillow here turns up the heat and takes this tropical guest room on a safari adventure. Your guests will feel like they’re lounging somewhere near the Equator in no time.

Mar’s tip: A cushioned bench at the foot of the bed where your guests can sit to undo the top button on their pants after a hearty meal allows for extra seating and comfort.


Coastal Cottage

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Cat’s Podcast Interview with LuAnn Nigara

We are super excited to announce that Cat was interviewed by LuAnn Nigara for her podcast a Well-Designed Business®.  LuAnn is the owner of Window Works, a window treatment company based out of Livingston, NJ.  She launched her podcast 2.5 years ago to better understand how other successful business owners in the interior design industry run their firms. Her podcast is a fantastic resource for interior design professionals interested in operating a profitable and productive business. She has done such a fantastic job with her podcast it which quickly became the Top-Rated Interior Design Podcast. Furthermore, LuAnn wrote a best selling book The Making of a Well-Designed Business and regularly is a keynote speaker for design bloggers and interior designers across the country.  We truly are honored to have LuAnn feature Cat on her show.


A Well-Designed Business - Catherine French Design


The interview was a wonderful conversation about how Cat started her firm, challenges she faced the first year growing the business, and her reflections on how she maintains a successful firm. Cat was more than open about all of the ups and downs she experienced while transforming a small, one-person company into thriving design firm with projects across the East Coast. If you have ever been curious about how Cat started Catherine French Design, then take a listen below.



Here are all the links to your favorite Podcast Apps.

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Set the table, set the tone

With party season gearing up, let’s make sure your table top sets the tone for your gathering!

Fantastic Party Table Setting - Catherine French Design

I am loving this Vietri charger, it is an amazing piece to set the base for your table setting. A dinner with your best friends over pink wine, beautiful flowers, and fabulous conversation sounds like heaven! Start with your one splurge item, and then layer with basic whites, glass, and fresh flowers. No one will worry about the food when the atmosphere is this flirty, fun and fantastic. Glamorous Gold Table Setting - Catherine French Design

Elegant and intimate, this setting is a game changer. Oh these rich colors with the sparkle of gold – so sophisticated. Perfect for occasions like meeting the in-laws for first time to your evening wedding under the stars.

Rustic Farmhouse Table Setting Design - Catherine French Design

When you still want to impress with an impromptu gathering of close family and friends, grab what’s on hand and make it happen! Linen napkins, candles and greenery look beautifully and thoughtfully placed throughout this table. Have yellow napkins? Grab a few lemons to scatter. Have orange napkins? Grab a pumpkin – you see where this is headed!


If you’re looking for quick and fun ways to update your table setting this holiday season, all it really takes is a mix of fun and luxury items.  We can help you with pulling one of these looks together.  All you need to do is just reach out to us,


Like this post? Then you may also like: Modern Thanksgiving Table  and 6 Ways to Spruce Up Your Powder Bath


Photo Credits: Feature| 1 | 2 | 3


Catherine French Design is a team of interior design consultants based out of Chapel Hill, North Carolina. We have provided residential and commercial services in North Carolina and along the Eastern Seaboard.

Helping the Homeless with a Wonderful Charity

At the suggestion of our favorite realtor in Chapel Hill, Erika Buchholtz of Erika and Company, Catherine French Design became involved with a fantastic charity, A Lotta Love. A Lotta Love was set up to “transform local shelters by creating dignified, safe and emotionally inspiring spaces.”  This wonderful charity, established 2014, takes very modest homeless shelters and elevates a space to make the women and children living there feel more at home.  Transforming a bland institutional room into a cozy place a family can begin to have a new start at life.

Charity - A Lotta of Love - Shelter Room Design - Catherine French Design

The first thing we did once we got to the space was paint.  The shelter run by Families Moving Forward and had a few rules. Firstly, you can only paint approved colors.  Secondly, you must leave all of the existing furniture in the room.  We selected the brightest color to make this small space feel as large as possible.  The crew of volunteers had this room cut-in and painted in no time at all.  Then with a little bit of space planning the crew rearranged the existing beds, dressers, and desk.  We brought in side tables, lamps, and art to soften the space.

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I’m Mad for Plaid

Cool evenings wearing your favorite plaid flannel shirt. A cozy blanket draped on the sofa while you sip hot coffee (or a glass of wine). I can just feel it – Tartan is not just a fabric, it’s almost something that evokes an emotion.

Tartan Accessories - Catherine French Design

The things we chose for our home are an expression of who we are and how we want to feel. That’s really what interior design is all about. I want to come home after a long day and just feel absolute peace, comfort and relaxation. I love to get home from work and immediately put on my flannel PJ’s and curl up on the sofa or in the bed to unwind? Rainy day spent in this bed, yes please!

Tartan Bedding - Catherine French Design

Our interiors set the tone. Sophisticated, handsome, smart, just a few words to describe the use of this plaid wallpaper. In an office, bedroom or den, you can’t go wrong.

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Color Me Fall, Y’all

I know, I know. It’s hot, muggy, and I’m watching torrential rain outside my window from a hurricane, but I have ALL THE EXCITEMENT for cooler weather, sweaters, boots & hot drinks. Let’s just stop and dream about how one day soon (I hope!) it’s going to finally feel like fall, y’all. Can you see it?

Autumn Color Inspiration - Catherine French Design

What I love most about cooler weather are all the saturated colors everywhere: oranges, yellows, burgundies. Translating that to your interior spaces is easy peasy if you embrace gold accents, deep plums, and rich textures like velvets. Embrace that introverted bookworm persona and create a space in which you would be happy to hide away and read in for hours.

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Workplace Design

Trying to attract new talent? Time to break away from cube farm hell and shake things up a bit. Today’s workers want to be able to move around. They want to collaborate. They want to sit with their coffee and laptop and work away from their desk. Dream jobs are hardly enough these days. Dream spaces help. It’s time to analyze your workplace design.

Here are my top 5 “must have’s” in today’s modern office:

Sit to stand desk

Sit to Stand Desk

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A Tribute to an Artist: Bruno Louchouaron

I was spending this past Friday night squeezing in a bit of self-care after getting the kids in bed, reading Eloisa James’ latest novel, and these two sentences gave me pause:  “You are a brilliant woman, who sees the world as an artist does: in color, light, and shape. And like any other artist, you want to spend your days creating beauty.” It’s been an interesting year so far in the life of Cat. One of growth, risks, juggling of all the balls in the air. But the recent passing of one my first clients has me pausing for a moment to reflect on the meaning of being an artist, this insatiable desire to create, and the meaning of one’s legacy.

I first met Bruno through his wife, Corey, as we were mid-way through the Kenan Institute for the Arts project. Corey and Bruno had just purchased a new home in Winston-Salem, and Corey asked me if I would be willing to help them with their new home. Her husband, she said, was a composer, and she wanted to make sure that he had a space for him to work. Would I be willing to come meet him and see if I could help?

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