Color & Water- The Lakehouse Redesign – I

When we look back at this incredible Lakehouse Redesign project, we can’t help but wish we were there right now. Life at the lake is even sweeter when the inside is just as beautiful as that waterfront view. With a multi-room custom redesign, this space became the perfect balance of charming, modern, and serene. Transforming a timeless mid-century home- while keeping it full of so much character and joy- was an unforgettable design we can’t wait to share.

The view from the dining room Lakehouse Project - Catherine French Design

Making the Good Even Better

Not every new project begins with a blank slate. We work with many clients who love their homes and have filled their spaces with items that hold meaning. After all, home is a place we make so many lasting memories. But what do you do when it’s time for a change? Whether it’s an update, a re-style, or just a refresher- that’s where we come in. This redesign was about weaving together the perfect colors, textures, and finishes- while letting the gorgeous architecture and view keep their place at center stage.

The Custom Design Difference

Customization is a key component of how we take care of clients, and was at the forefront of this project. One of the things that makes CFD unique is that we offer multiple levels of design service- taking the time to work with each client on what will fully meet the needs of their individual vision, budget, preferences, and timeline. This project started as an afternoon design session, where the homeowner reached out to Cat for help pulling together some finishes prior to hosting a large event. But as we started to transform her space, the homeowner was so thrilled with the result that she chose to continue throughout the house.

Refresh and Reinvent

For the Lake house, it was all about renewal. We were not moving walls, gutting rooms, or planning additions. Instead, the focus was on giving new life to many of the homeowner’s existing furnishings, and bringing in the right details to beautifully style and curate an amazing finished space. Cat said it best in our recent feature in Chapel Hill Magazine, describing some pro tips on how a skilled, strategic redesign can make gorgeous and impact-ful changes within the existing framework of a home:

“I always start with color. What can we do to keep the current pieces and reinvent them in your space?…A design feels complete when there is balance throughout the space with multiple components. Lighting and art to complement the scale of other pieces. Consider all of the different elements like color, texture, and pattern to create a harmonious space.”

Color and Flow

The Lake house is used as a primary residence all year-round, and this particular homeowner also frequently uses the space to host large gatherings of 50 or more. Creating flow within the home was essential, both for enjoyment of daily living and especially for those times when the house is full of mingling, laughter, and connection. Color was at the center of this design, used to create a fluid feel within the classic mid-century architecture. Using a diverse palette, we balanced that sense of movement with a cohesive, polished collection of tones that still brought each room together, as well as tying in that incredible lake view.

Wonderful lake views from the den with new rug, upholstery and throw pillows.

Lakeside in CFD Style

Preserving much of what was original to the home while breathing new life into the bones was just one of the things we loved about this project. The end result was full of playfulness, energy, and balanced with a cozy relaxation- just the way lakelife should be- and, a perfect reflection of this homeowner. That’s the CFD way, and how we build client relationships that last.

Cat French styling the back deck of the Lakehouse Project
Professional images via Cat Wilborne Photography

More to come!

Not quite ready to leave the lake? Neither are we…and it’s a good thing we’ve got lots more to share with you. Come back next week for a closer view of this one-of-a-kind project- we’ll take a deep dive into the Color Story of this design, and also talk about the unique experience and background that made CFD perfect to preserve the beauty of this home.

Can’t wait for next week? Check out all the gorgeous images on the CFD Portfolio Page!

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.

Market and Moss – the big update!

The update we can’t wait to share with you- great things have been happening down at our full renovation of Market and Moss! If you’re anything like us, something as simple as a nice dinner out is probably sounding pretty incredible right about now. We have been hard at work transforming this brand new Chapel Hill dining spot into a place we can all enjoy for years to come.

We opened the CFD Southern Village location in 2018, and have never looked back. This is a wonderful community- and one of our favorite parts? Our amazing neighboring businesses. When we were approached about renovating this prime spot, we couldn’t wait to dive in! We love having the opportunity to work side-by-side with Annie Johnston, owner of the highly anticipated full restaurant and bar Market and Moss.

Before photo!

This is the second space we’ve designed with Annie- she’s a savvy Chapel Hill entrepreneur and also the owner of the very popular La Vita Dolce, which we renovated with her in 2019. With each passing year, CFD gains more clients all over the US, but our roots are strong here in Chapel Hill. The entire CFD team is passionate about keeping the local community thrivin’. We are so excited to work with Annie again to bring even more life and vibe to Southern Village.

Photo courtesy of the Southern Village Instagram Acct. Credit to Hoffman Aerials:

Annie has big plans for this soon-to-be upscale eatery- and so do we! As you can see in the “before” photos below, this project was so much more than just a facelift. Working closely with Annie, we created a custom design that touched every part of the space. Functionality is key in this fast-paced working environment, as well as creating the perfect atmosphere that will keep patrons returning again and again to enjoy incredible food.

Commercial (and especially) foodservice industry renovations require unique knowledge and a special skill set to ensure that plans meet or exceed building codes. We are tasked with designing a completely custom aesthetic for patrons, but also ensuring a safe, functional workplace that will hold up to all that hustle and bustle. As a Full-Service Interior Design Firm, creating dynamic spaces is something we LOVE to do. Working closely with the contractor for this project, Alex Sayre with Argyle Builders, we are all hands on deck to get all the details right and bring it all together for a beautiful, vibrant finish.

What was on the must-have list? Gorgeous and durable floors, gleaming countertops, full custom upholstered booths, and stunning lighting, for starters! Annie’s beautiful taste came right into play as we worked with her on selecting the perfect items to align with her vision for this trendy but classic space. Private events, special occasions, date nights, lunches on the terrace- this design can do it all, creating a timeless feel that fosters connection and enjoyment while highlighting the incredible menu offerings.

We are so excited to be well into the mid-way point and making great progress. The entire team here at CFD is grateful to be part of this wonderful addition to the Southern Village community. If you haven’t already, hop over to the Market and Moss page and get even more updates on what’s to come. Definitely also check out their Instagram @marketandmoss for a preview of some truly divine looking eats (WOW). It’s gonna be amazing, y’all, and we are ready for it!

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 Chapel Hill, Durham, Raleigh, and beyond.

CFD featured in Chapel Hill Magazine!

We are so excited to see one of our recent projects featured in the March issue of Chapel Hill Magazine! The article highlights our recent work with Jackie and Dr. Doug Villard on their family home in the triangle area of North Carolina, adjacent to the North Carolina Botanical Gardens. Working closely with these creative and inspiring homeowners, we completed a custom design for their living room, office, and playroom tailored specifically to their lifestyle. This space came to an incredible finish, and working with this amazing family made it even sweeter.

Chapel Hill Magazine Home Makeover Article

As a Full-Service Interior Design Firm, one-of-a-kind custom design is our specialty. As a team, we talk with each client about their wants, preferences, and personal style. By listening closely, we get a true sense of what will make the space not only beautiful, but completely unique to them. We loved working closely with the Villard family to make each detail in their home a true reflection of Jackie’s impeccable taste, while highlighting scenic views of the lush forest that encircles the house. One of our favorite parts of this project was creating a family-friendly flow that allowed for lots of movement, while maintaining clean lines and definition of the living and kitchen areas. Another favorite spot? A multi-use office and playroom! Jackie is quoted in the article, saying “I wanted Lane to be able to spread out and have toys, but [have it] be easy to put those things away. This was a tall order for Cat but she pulled it off.”

Chapel Hill Magazine- March 2020

You can see all the details, as well as stunning images (and some personal design tips from Cat herself!) in the online edition here (our feature starts on page 104). Big CFD thanks goes to writer Morgan Cartier Weston and photographer Beth Mann for capturing this project so beautifully.

It’s such a privilege for the whole CFD team when we get to talk about a project we enjoyed so much. A huge thank you to Chapel Hill Magazine for highlighting one of the things we do best- fully maximizing function while finishing in perfect style. We couldn’t be more thrilled with the end result, and we can’t thank the Villard’s enough for choosing CFD.

It’s been a happenin’ week over here, ya’ll- We’ve also been nominated for Best of Chapel Hill’s Best Interior Designer for 2020! Please consider voting for us- it only takes a moment to hop on there and choose Cat French Design. Every vote helps our business, so we can keep doing what we love- giving it our all for each amazing client and giving back to the Chapel Hill community. Click HERE to vote!

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 Chapel Hill, Durham, Raleigh, and beyond.

Porch Heaven- Part 2

The best things are worth waiting for- and when we put those final touches on this blissful Porch & outdoor living space, we got to do the thing we love most- making a homeowner’s dream come true. In the sequel to last week’s post, we’re going to give you an even closer view of the details that took this space all the way from demolition to the spectacular unveiling. So come on back to the porch, put those feet up, and settle in while we show you all the goodness and CFD style that makes this the perfect place.

The key to porch perfection

An incredible outdoor space encompasses so many key elements. But at the foundation, it’s all about finding balance between movement and rest- making the space a natural part of the home where we can lounge, mingle, and dine our way to the good life. At CFD, we know that starts at the very beginning- with a strategic floor plan. For this specific project, we needed a transition to bring together the house, the screened in porch, and the open-air deck. The solution? What we like to call “the landing pad”. Seen in this photo shot from below, this spot maximizes flow and acts as the hub that makes it all work.

The integrated second-tier deck is both a transition between spaces and a convenient entry point to the screened-in porch and house. And, we certainly don’t mind getting more of that delicious custom stair real out of it, too. It would have been easy to forego this for a simple staircase instead, but when it comes down to that finished product- what a difference the right design makes! Styled-up with a timeless classic bench and the perfect sprightly fern, it becomes a space that just feels meant-to-be. By bringing the open and enclosed together, it’s a blueprint that truly works.

Outdoor bench with fern

Decking it Out

Oh, how we love to love this deck! To us, the deck should never feel like an afterthought. With the right design, it can be MUCH more than just a place to park your grill. Whether you’re chatting it up with the chef or taking some time to revel in the warm sanctuary of the sun, so much time and attention went into making sure this deck was stop-and-stay-awhile perfection.

The unique lines and sloped angles of the chairs grace the deck with style, and radiate a vibe that’s both relaxed and beautifully refined. Each unique piece was chosen to speak relaxation to the soul, even at the first sight. To make it even more complete, we added a spa-quality cabana-style umbrella to give just the right mix of shade and light, as well as carefully placed outdoor lighting to make this a gorgeous spot day and night.

Outdoor Deck Furniture

More than a Porch

Even as this space was emerging in design and construction, we fell in love with it over and over again. It’s a tall order to create a porch that’s both functional and downright elegant, but she’s here in all her glory. Each detail was designed to make it an unforgettable space. The strategically placed segment of screen over the fireplace ushers in so much light, illuminating every nook and cranny of those gorgeous architectural beams. In maximizing the beauty and detail of the vaulted ceiling, we created a jaw-dropping line of sight that lifts your eyes to the sky- lending itself perfectly to that tree-house feeling.

Screen Porch Design

When your eyes land on that stunning gas fireplace? Well, as we like to say in the South- it’s swoon-worthy, ya’ll. The sleek mantle, long-lined pendants, and glossy waterfall of marble at the hearth below bring luxury to this completely custom feature. From symmetry to balance to execution, this design is nothing short of a show-stopper.

outdoor fireplace and seating area

Wine, dine, and unwind

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Porch Heaven, CFD Style

Here at CFD we believe in spaces that can do it all- and that’s exactly what we created with this incredible porch, bi-level deck, and beautifully finished outdoor living space. Join us for an insider view of one of our favorite projects, inspired by client request and brought to life by the CFD team. Whether it’s entertaining, dining al fresco, or relaxing in front of the fire with a cozy blanket and a big ole’ glass of wine, this porch is the place. Let’s kick back and porch-it-up, CFD style.

How it all began…

What’s most unique about this porch and outdoor space project is not just the incredible features – including a screened in space with full living & dining area, a bi-level deck, double doors, and a stunning gas fireplace -(yes!). What we also love about this space is that it was a complete CFD creation. While all of our projects are true originals, here we also got to do one of our favorite things- taking it all the way from concept to completion in true full-service design. From measurements and permits to hand-placing each piece of beautiful decor, we created this space from the ground up. We’ll show you the total transformation in 2 parts for a closer view of how the magic happened.

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Essentials for a Cozy Reading Nook

Winter is the time for reading. The shorter days and chilly nights – yes, even here in NC – make you want to curl up and dive into a good book. It’s one of those small things you give yourself.

What goes along with that, of course, is having the proper reading environment. More than simply having a place to sit, a reading nook is all about creating a spot that is comforting and encourages you to slow down for a moment. It’s all about indulging. The furnishings, lighting, and decor used in this space really effect your reading experience and getting it right is in the details. So, to help you feed your mind, we’ve curated a little vignette! Using designs from some of our favorite companies we work with, here is a checklist of essentials for a cozy reading nook.

The Essentials for a Cozy Reading Nook:

  1. Comfortable Chair
  2. Stylish Reading Lamp
  3. Side Table
  4. Plush Pillow
  5. Mug
  6. Area Rug

Cozy Reading Nook

Each of these items support a meditative space that lets you settle in. The low, sloping arms of Mitchell Gold Bob Williams’ Wyatt Chair allow you to curl up in different ways, while the tufted back and deep T-cushion seat provide both support and comfort. The Maxstoke Floor Lamp from Currey & Co is more than your typical reading lamp, with its delicate and architectural form. The Bassey Nesting Accent Table reinforces the use of warm metal. It provides ample space for your books and things but has a light footprint. Finally, this beautifully deep rug from Jaipur Living helps to wash the space in cool, contemplative blues, greens and neutrals.

Creating livable spaces that incorporate color, pattern, and texture is what we love to do. Let us know if we can assist you with a space in your home – whether designing from the floor up or helping you incorporate the beautiful items you have!

Cozy Reading Nook Essentials: 1| 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

Inspiration Image: 1

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 Chapel Hill, Durham, Raleigh, and beyond.

Fall at High Point #HPMKT

Fall in North Carolina means a lot of things to a lot of people, but in our industry it only means ONE thing, High Point Market, #HPMKT baby!! It’s a designers favorite time of the year where we get to go, see, touch, sit, and feel all off the new products that are coming on the scene.

We always make and effort to see our favorite vendors and well of course scout out which exhibitor has the best lunch (and lets be honest, the best cocktails). The last couple of visits to HPMKT I would say that Century Furniture really came on top with the best food. This isn’t too surprising considering that they always have one of the best showrooms and the highest quality products.

Here sneak peak at the showrooms we make a beeline to at every Market.

Upholstered Seating

Consoles and Occasional Tables

Misc Decor and Home Goods

This week / weekend will be bananas. I am sure we will see a ridiculous about of vendors, friends, and industry celebs. We will do a recap post in a week with highlights of what we saw and experienced. We will also weigh in on who had the best food, and of course, the best cocktails! #HPMKT.

As always if you need any help please feel free to reach out and we will do everything we can to make you space feel and look amazing.

Feature image courtesy of HPMKT Medialink.

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 Chapel Hill, Raleigh, Durham, Fayetteville, and beyond.

5 Elements for an Amazing Entryway

I find that often the entryway is this small, hardworking space that we breeze right through when we come home, shedding all of the stuff from the day. Depending on your layout, you may be limited to how much you can do by your main entryway, in my case my front door. At a minimum there are five elements I would consider to get your entryway whipped up into a place you wouldn’t mind lingering in for a second or two. 

Something Personal

Something familiar. Something that grounds you. Let’s be real, the best way to come home is to see something that makes you smile. What are mine? A gallery wall of daycare art mixed in with pics of my kids, a miniature bust of Michaelangelo’s David wearing a floral scarf, and a motivational print that reads “the dream is free, but the hustle is sold separately.” An entry doesn’t have to be formal if that is not your thing.

Something Practical

And by this I mean the mirror where you check yourself before you walk out the door, a table lamp that is on a timer so that you no longer need to remember to turn it on and off each day, and the bowl of catch-all things that include spare change, my daughter’s rock collection from the back yard, and anything else that is quickly dumped from pockets. All of these live on a console with drawers and we’re in efficiency heaven.

A Place for Shoes

We have racks in the bottom of the coat closet for the ones that are in rotation and a big ole bin (that is cute and rattan) for the pairs that are worn daily so that they have a place to live that is not within the swing of the door. As it gets colder outside I add a second bin to hold all the hats, gloves, scarves and general outdoor paraphernalia to keep us somewhat organized. 

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It’s All About that Base [Layer]

Let’s spend a minute talking about creating some good foundations. I’m talking all about that base, about that base… layer… the rug. One of the biggest design mistakes I see is a too-small rug floating in the middle of a big room. Making your space feel large and luxurious, or centered and grounded, can all be accomplished with an appropriately-sized rug.

It’s All About that Base [Layer]

Here’s the rule:

You want AT LEAST the front legs of all sofas or chairs on the rug. Think of your rug as the line that connects all of your furnishings together in the space. If you have the space for a giant rug with all of your furniture to comfortably sit on it, then YES, HONEY, go for it! Make your room shine with color and texture! And here’s the thing – a small room also needs the biggest rug it can possibly fit. Your room will visually expand with an amazing base layer. Add in some pattern, texture, or color (or all three!), and you’ve got a major design refresh without even having to crack open a can of paint or bringing in other new pieces.

4 Fun Rug Options for your Living Room

Don’t know where to start?

We’ve compiled some of our favorite tried-and-true rugs as a launching point. There’s the Chunky Jute rug with lots of great texture that has a nice, warm base to let your boho furniture shine. Or, if you love the inspo pic at the beginning of this post, this White Scandinavian rug may be just the ticket. One of my absolute favorite rugs to use when we’re changing the color of a space but the paint color needs to stay, is this super Soft & Shimmery rug. It creates a lovely, feel-good base color for when you want to introduce a blue-green tone without committing to painting your walls. And finally, for those with a playful side, the Worth the Tassel rug is just so, well, worth it.

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 Chapel Hill, Raleigh, Durham, Fayetteville, and beyond.

Cat featured on the Profit is a Choice Podcast

We are super excited to announce that Cat was interviewed by Michele Williams for the Profit is a Choice Podcast. Michele is the owner of Scarlet Thread Consulting, a business and strategy consultant for the interior design industry.  She launched her podcast over a year ago to help interior designers and creatives better understand how to build a profitable and sustainable business model. Her podcast is a fantastic resource for those interested in operating a profitable and productive business. She has done such a fantastic job with her podcast and is a top resource for the industry.  We truly are honored to have Michele feature Cat on her show.

You can listen to the show below, check out Michele’s show page, or look for Episode 54 of the Profit is a Choice Podcast on your favorite podcast app.

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 Chapel Hill, Raleigh, Durham, and beyond.