New Space, Same Foundation

We’ve been in Southern Village for almost six months! We are enjoying the new neighborhood and increased visibility that comes with our new space. During this transition, we have also been reflecting and defining what grounds us and makes us who we are.  We narrowed down all of the catchy adjectives and descriptors to 3 words: Kindness, Integrity, & Creativity.

Enjoying some client time - Catherine French Design


Kindness is our founding principal. We think of kindness as a quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate. It is showing concern, care, and the act of assistance and service. Kindness is about how we interact with each other within the team, and how we interact with those outside our studio. When we make a request of another person, or ask for help, we will do so in a way that is kind. As a client, you are an extension of our team. While we are collaborating on your project, we will strive to make you feel honored and cared for while you are with us on this journey.

Read More

Spark Joy: A KonMari Recap

Your home is a celebration of you, and committing to a tidy home is a great way to celebrate. We recently hosted Holly Bourne of Tidy Habitat for an after-hours workshop in our studio. The goal was to learn about the KonMari method by Chapel Hill’s own local professional. It was an amazing session, and here are some of our key takeaways:

Curate your collection, but only when you have a readiness for change. Choose what to keep rather than what to get rid of. This is a positive mindset.

Cat French discussing how KonMari and Design work together

Gratitude over Guilt – express gratitude for the lessons your stuff has taught you, and then let it go. Thank you. Now place that into your gratitude box, honey.

Intuition vs. Logic – you can logically make a reason to keep everything, but you should lead with your intuition. Does it spark joy?

Read More

Southern Village Modern Eclectic

Catherine French Design was hired last year to help this busy Southern Village family update their home, showcase some of their favorite pieces, and to bring balance and warmth to a house full of three kids, two busy doctors, and an au pair.

Catherine French Design - Southern Village Modern Eclectic Living Room

Every project needs a starting place, and the priority was the living room. The center hub for this busy family originally felt off-balance and lacking in warmth and a consistent color palette. We stepped in to layer in smart storage solutions (like this custom ottoman!), family friendly fabrics, and multiple surfaces for drinks, books, artwork, and conversation.

The kitchen opens to the living room, so we introduced a new more modern and sculptural ceiling fan and kept it up high for optimal television viewing pleasure while cooking or sitting on the new swivel bar stools. Cookbooks moved to the console behind the sofa for a fun pop of color and to create more storage space in the pantry.

We then incorporated the main design concepts from the family room into the front of the house for consistency and flow from the entryway, into the office and formal dining space. We layered in a show-stopping sculptural light fixture with vibrant art and rugs to emphasize the modern eclectic design aesthetic of our clients.

Read More

CFD’s Grand Opening Celebration

We ended 2018 with a bang. Quite literally, as we were moving our studio space from Glen Lennox to Southern Village the week between Christmas and New Year’s, and the new space required a little… refresh. We changed out the floors, repainted all the walls and trim, moved cabinets, installed large pinup boards, and moved all of our stuff in.

And then we celebrated our Grand Opening! With big scissors, a blue ribbon, lots of balloons, and cake! Yay, cake!

Read More

Fun Entryway {Idea}

Let’s talk about your entryway. If you’re lucky, you’ve got more than just a door into your living space. Most of the time, if you do have a dedicated entryway room, it is a small, jam-packed space that has to work hard and also look cute. Because let’s be real here, first impressions are tough! You want your neighbor to say “oh hey, they seem awesome!” when they get that sneak peek into your personal oasis.

But what makes your entryway really work hard? The right tools for the job. Think about what you need there. At best, here are the basics: a place to sit when putting on shoes, storage for all that winter paraphernalia, a mirror to double check your reflection in, a rug to catch the outside dirt, and last but not least, some sort of something inspirational to catch your eye on your way out the door. It’s time to make that entryway look amazing and make those drop-in-guests want to see what else you have done to your home.

We’ve put together a look we think might inspire you to make an update. The watercolor above shows how all of these different items complement each other. Our vote is for a tufted leather bench that is both a great place to sit with space for baskets below, an impressive floor mirror so that you can see your full look at once, some updated artwork, and a graphic nautical-themed rug to add some interest. Add in a statement entryway light and you’ve got yourself a hard-working entryway masterpiece.

Want to know the best news? We’ve already done the sourcing for you, and you can buy any and all of those pieces here: Floor Mirror, Leather Bench, Nautical Rug, Woven Basket, Golden Wallpaper, or Contemporary Artwork. Our only request is that you send us pics of your new pieces in your own entryway space! Happy shopping, y’all!

If you liked this post we have other you may enjoy: Arm Chair Roundup, A Touch of Hollywood, Blue is the New Black, and Hello Herringbone.

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.

Chaise for Daise: Be our Valentine!

Okay, okay, until I start living my best life in the south of France, we’ll have to explore our days of chaise with this western drawl.

In a world of ‘yolo’ and ‘treat-yo-self’ (yeah I said it), how often do we actually take time for ourselves and relax? Luckily there’s a spot waiting just for you! — If you’re thinking of someone fanning you with a palm frawn and feeding you grapes, then you’re headed in the right direction.

Be Mine

Read More

Lit | A Fireplace |

Do y’all know what was one of the top requests we got last year for help? The Fireplace. Rightfully so, as they usually serve as the focal point for a room. Traditional brick and white mantels are still classic and timeless, however if you want to make a statement, we have a few looks to get you lit… with excitement!

Fireplace Accent Wall - Catherine French Design
Fireplace Accent Wall with Asymmetrical Mantle - Catherine French Design
Fireplace Accent Wall with Chevron - Catherine French Design

The first consideration are architectural details, like moulding, the mantel, and built-in shelves, that can all add depth and interest. You’ll want to make friends with a fabulous carpenter who can help you bring your trim visions to life. (Ain’t nobody wants a wall of sloppy shiplap.)


Chevron Tile Fireplace Surround - Catherine French Design

Don’t be afraid to step out of the box from the typical slab surrounds and move to something more custom – tile.  Patterns, as well as color, make a huge design statement with a tile surround.  Herringbone and chevron add movement and a change in scale to balance out the firebox.

Read More


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.

Read More

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

Read More

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

Read More