Listen to Cat’s radio interview this morning on “Morning News & Koozies with Southern Village” with Ron Stutts of WCHL 97.9 and Chapelboro.com.
When my husband and I moved late last summer, I already had a plan for where I wanted all the furniture to go. Some things were easy, like the crib and master bedroom suite. The piano had to be in the entryway because oh-my-goodness-it’s-heavy. In the bonus room, the couch we’ve had since we got married, freeing us up to get a new couch for the living room.
Let’s talk about the old couch for a moment, shall we? When we bought that couch we had no kids, no dog, and a house full of second-hand furniture. This was our chance! The couch I’d had my eye on went on clearance, and we bought our very own, brand new, beautiful creamy linen couch. Fast-forward ten years, two kids, and a black-furred dog – that beautiful creamy linen fabric is now, well, somewhat brown. With black fur. And milk stains. So when we moved into our lovely new home, top of my list was a new couch.
Allow me to share with you some of the things that I have learned, so that you can love your couch as much as I do mine.
1. A performance fabric is your friend.
We’ve come a long way from a “performance fabric” meaning the plastic-y, outdoor marine-grade fabric. If that’s your jam? Awesome, they still make it. Prefer to sit on your couch and enjoy a comfortable seat? Welcome to the new performance fabric world, my friend. There are patterns, solids, colors, whites, grays, velvets, linens, all sorts of variations that feel amazing but will not absorb that splash of red wine. Check for Crypton or Revolution Fabric – the latter of which you can even bleach!
2. Double check your measurements.
It’s easy to take an open floor plan where the living room flows into the kitchen into the dining room and think “Sweet! I have all this space, let’s just get a sectional and our seating problem will be solved.” Before you buy, pull that tape measure out and make sure length, depth, and height will all work in your space. If you’re spatially challenged, block in out with blue painter’s tape on the floor to see it better. And please don’t forget to double check the width of your door, to make sure you can get it into your house.
3. Don’t be afraid of color.
Our house has base cabinets that are painted a fun color, while the rest of the kitchen is white. This may seem bananas to some, but I pulled a performance fabric that compliments that color to put on our new couch. There are now two big elements in the room that tie together within the same color palette, which allows everything else in the room to be free to be different.
Does your couch have good bones but is perhaps starting to feel worn down? As in, the pillows are lumpy, the seat has no support, or the cat shredded the fabric all up? Reupholstering is also a great option. It’s the next step for our bonus room couch, and I can’t WAIT to break up with beige.
CFD Voted Best Interior Designer in Chapel Hill!
If you haven’t done so yet, pick up a copy of this month’s Chapel Hill Magazine, flip to pages, 57 & 89 and take a look at who was voted one of Chapel Hill’s Best Interior Designer of the year!!! WHAT!!!!!! We are so excited about receiving this honor, and want to thank all of you dear readers, clients, friends who got out the vote and made this happen. Our community is so important to us and we love calling Chapel Hill home.
Y’all, last week we took a break from designing awesome spaces, switched gears, and put on our cooking hats! One of my passions, outside of creating amazing spaces, is cooking! So, when presented with the opportunity to cook lunch at the Ronald McDonald House of Durham, we jumped on it.
We recently had the honor of attending the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce’s annual Business Excellence Awards (the BEAs) as a finalist in the Micro-Enterprise Business of the Year category, which is a business with 5 or fewer employees. We had a great time, and as always, The Chamber threw a great party. The team got all dolled up and headed over to Chapel Hill’s Paul Green Theatre. To begin the night, there was a wonderful cocktail reception where we enjoyed tasty beverages provided by Glass Half Full and networking with fellow local businesses.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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!
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!