The New Traditional Family Room

When we set out to design this home, we knew it would be gorgeous- these lovely homeowners have such fantastic taste, and share our love of making things beautiful on a big scale. But this functional, stunning New Traditional Family Room design blew us all away when the day of the big reveal finally arrived. Rich with pattern, luxurious neutral fabrics, and beautiful pops of color, this one is an incredible mix of modern style seamlessly blended with a traditional architectural home. 

Functional for Family

One of the major goals for this space was to make it functional for a busy family of four. This space needed all the right creature comforts to greet a working couple at the end of the day, in addition to embodying the full functionality and durability that’s  required when little ones are about. This always requires out-of-the-box strategic thinking from a design standpoint, but that’s one of the things we love most about working with families- creating a space for them that is equal parts beautiful and liveable. There’s a sweet spot where gorgeous and functional meet, and that’s where we like to dig in and flex that creative muscle. 

A Natural Pair

These homeowners have a love of neutrals and soft, sleek tones. We were so excited to create this room with a base of plush, neutral hues that felt incredibly relaxing and inviting. This busy working couple looks to their home to provide a retreat- a place for family time but also a retreat to recharge. Creating a base of layered neutral hues was perfect to craft just the right feel for their lifestyle. But, we also wanted to reflect their incredible energy into the design as well, and wove a touch of bright and bold into the design of this room.  Carrying through the undercurrent of deep blue, we also layered in pops of rich yellow tones and complemented it with those gorgeous mixed metallics to add hints of spice and spark. 

Playing Angles

But when it comes to great design, color isn’t the only item on the agenda. Creating a space that truly feels complete in every sense means tapping into all the elements. One of our favorite ways to do this is to get creative with shapes- the foundation of pattern. In this room, the pattern-play is equal parts subtle and intriguing, which helps us keep that desired feel of relaxed + unique throughout the space. The rug pattern of concentric angles serves as the base, and we had so much fun drawing out and echoing those shapes in unexpected ways. This view of the rug, chair, and table shows such a perfect moment of how the lines and angles play together, and perfectly layer in against the rich tone and beautiful curves of the chair. This visual moment gives us the best combination of design delight- that mix of relaxing, unique, and interesting all at the same time.  

The Art of Home

Throughout this home design, we got to do a little extra of something we love, which is to get creative with some beautiful art. A gorgeous, large piece can expand a space and bring it to life in such a unique way, threading together and elevating design elements and details. The piece chosen for this room does so with perfect form. Embodying all of the interest and edge we love in an abstract piece, it also carries a soft depth that makes you want to sit and look at it FOREVER (seriously, we could). Those hints of gold put it over the top, serving up a bit more of the sleek element that carries throughout the home.  Layering texture on texture, the elegant addition of the perfect design-forward lamp and textured pillows adds even more visual depth to this gorgeous scene. 

An Inside Look

We were thrilled to be approached by Chapel Hill Magazine about a feature on this family’s story, and the design journey to create their dream home. Chapel Hill Mag put together a beautiful piece, and it’s so worth a read to get to know this incredible couple. You can view the full feature (and more gorgeous photos!) online here.

If you’re looking for more from this beautiful New Traditional home, you can check out the blog for our behind-the-design look at the much-loved Master Bedroom Retreat, as well as that stunning Modern Parlor. You can also view more current CFD Designs over on our Portfolio Page.  Looking for help with a design dream of your own? You can always reach us at, or via our website Contact Page.  For more in-the-moment happenings of our bustling design team, catch up with us on our Facebook Page, or on Instagram @catfrenchdesign.

Market and Moss – The Big Reveal

Big design and incredible food go hand-in-hand at the inspired ambiance of Chapel Hill restaurant Market and Moss. We started to dive into this large-scale renovation and redesign last week (check it out here!) and today we’re showing you all those inside looks here in the last big reveal of this complete transformation. Follow along with us as we give you a peek into all of the beautiful details that made this space complete.

Moody walls, golden sconces and bright artwork - Cat French Interior Design - Chapel Hill

The Long Game

It’s always so amazing to see a huge project come together. Big design can certainly happen fast, but with commercial design, it can sometimes be a multi-phase process- starting with an idea, shaping it into a vision, and then bringing it to reality piece by piece. The owner of Market and Moss had a big dream for this space, and together the vision we created for this place was one of great design, but also community, enjoyment, and – of course- delicious food! We love working with business owners because we’re not only creating a perfect place for them, but also for every patron that walks through the door. Making their experience in the space beautiful and memorable means creativity, planning, and strategy go into every square inch, right down to the last drawer pull and tabletop. It’s a huge collaboration to bring a space like this together, and oh my, do we LOVE the challenge. It also gives us an opportunity to do one of our favorite things, which is to discover and bring in local talent- artists and tradespeople who can help make every element even more unique and incredible, infusing it with meaning and fostering connection.

Peach, navy and hunter green looking amazing - Cat French Interior Design - Chapel Hill

Hand Crafted

One of the most impactful elements we brought into the space was the seating we created with Carolina Custom Booth. Seating design for a restaurant may seem like a regular line item, but in actuality, it’s hugely important. Restaurants are BUSY places- and though it may not seem that way when we are sitting at a table chatting and relaxing, we as designers know that the first critical component of a seating space plan is movement. Staff, servers, patrons entering and exiting- seating is a big part of what will create this pattern, as well as determine how efficient and comfortable it will be. At the same time, we want to strategically maximize seating capacity so that more people can be served, but in a way that still appears intentional, organized (but not too predictable), and maintaining the perfect amount of space to create that perfect cozy-but-not-crowded feel. Easy access to the kitchen and the outdoor seating area was also a must for this beautiful space. If it sounds like a tall order, that’s because it truly is- and smart strategy is key to creating a space that looks incredible, but is also designed for optimal function.

Hunter green velvety barstools - Cat French Interior Design - Chapel Hill

Complementary Seating

Once the Master Design Plan link was in place, we set out to create a seating space plan that would maximize the space. This meant planning every inch of where booth seating would go, as well as how tables would be laid out in the open center and along certain walls. A mixture of both booth seating for larger groups as well as intimate table arrangements helped us balance the space and flow of movement throughout each area. Working with local makers Carolina Custom Booth (CCB) helped us to create just the right feel for the space. Choosing the style, color, height, and finish of the booths was key to making them feel that they were a cornerstone of the design, and every inch placed with intention. Varying the color (a sleek camel brown complemented by rich, dark green) as well as the tufting style and the shape/length of the booths were key to layering in depth and visual interest to this large seating set.

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Market and Moss- Restaurant Reimagined

This gorgeous restaurant transformation brought a brand new concept to life, and we are so excited to share how this space was completely reimagined into the vibrant scene that is Market and Moss. If you’re local or you’ve been following us for a bit, you know that we’ve worked with Chapel Hill entrepreneur Annie Johnston, and also worked with her to redesign La Vita Dolce Cafe (home to the most delicious coffee and gelato ever). When she had the vision for a brand new local fine dining restaurant, she approached us about working together again for a perfect custom-designed space. We couldn’t say yes fast enough!

Market and Moss front patio dining area - Cat French Design

Beginning to End

Many of you have been with us on this design journey since the beginning- back when Market and Moss was still in the demolition phase when the pieces of this huge renovation were just starting to take shape. Working closely with the contractor, as well as other talented tradespeople was key to making the big changes needed to re-create the core elements of the space. It was a sweeping task that touched every corner, from ceiling to tile to paint to furniture and more. A while back we shared a mid-project update that showed some of the “in-progress” work. There are too many before-and-afters to fit into one post, but to give you an idea here are a couple that will help to show you where we started. On the left was during demolition, and on the right is a snapshot we took just after new tile had been laid.

Artistry and Community

As you can see, this was a big undertaking. But the owner, Annie, is a true visionary and entrepreneur- she has big dreams and the drive to make them happen. We love her out-of-the-box thinking and her creative spirit, so working with her is a truly wonderful match. We knew from creating side-by-side with her on La Vita Dolce that we could do some pretty incredible things together, and that made us even more excited to transform this old restaurant space into a place that was both stunning and unique. The concept for the space was a reflection of Annie’s dream for a truly unique, beautiful custom eatery that would become a place of community and connection. Bringing in rich, deep tones mixed with bold colors, beautiful lighting, and artistic elements gave the space a feel that was true to her vision.

Copper accented bar elements - Cat French Design - Chapel Hill

A Warm Welcome

First impressions matter, and the entryway/lobby of Market and Moss was a huge focal point for the overall design. When you come through the front doors, the space immediately greets you with vibrant color and beautiful detail. Annie’s signature feel is a European vibe, and so we created the overarching vision to include many hints of old-world charm mixed with unexpected modern touches. We wanted the first look into this space to be full of creativity, unique details, and just the right amount of the unexpected. Staying true to Annie’s love of local, we brought in NC scenic artists Majestic Scenic to create a paint a custom mural for the arched wall opposite the front doors.

Before photo of Market and Moss entry

Crafting the Vision

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Great Room | Beautiful Blue

We’ve loved taking you on a tour of this beautiful blue Modern Coastal home design. And today we’ll show you the final, incredible finish of this multi-room design- the Modern Coastal Great Room. Oh y’all, this one is just so glorious! Not only do these homeowners have great taste, but we really got to have so much design-fun with this space- bringing in extra plush seating, artfully layered patterns, large art, and all the unique coastal-inspired details we love.

Beautiful blue accented great room - Durham NC - Cat French Design

Coastal Charm

If you’ve been following along, you know these homeowners have an inland home here in Durham, but are originally from the New England coastal area and are life-long beach lovers. If you’re just catching up, you can also read about their beautiful Modern Coastal Kitchen and Keeping Room also here on the blog! This design was so much fun to create for this lovely couple. The coastal theme is a beloved traditional aesthetic, especially here along the East Coast. But for an inland home, we wanted to envision a new take with unique patterns and modern inspiration, reinventing this concept in a completely unique way, while still capturing plenty of that classic coastal magic.

The Light Hues

The undercurrent of this multi-room design is a beautiful blue and white color story. With strategic design, you can add so much depth and visual interest, especially by layering different saturations and intensities to create a full, dimensional color palette. The soft blue walls of this room were perfectly primed for contrast, and we couldn’t resist bringing in some big visual interest with a pop of moody, deep blue-green on the ceiling. You’ll recognize this color as the one that also graces the kitchen island! We love the way this adds surprise to the space and also draws your eye upward along the glorious large window (yes!) and highlights the cathedral-style ceiling height in this room. It also provides depth and complement with the lighter layered blues that accent the furnishings and rug below. The beautiful, plush neutral chaise and couch let the contrasting blues and layered patterns shine in this space, letting your eye appreciate all of those delightful light-soaked shapes and hues.

Navy Blue ceiling with lovely blue accented walls in a coastal inspired great room - Durham North Carolina - Catherine French Design

Great Room Texture

When you’re working within a streamlined color combination like this blue and white design, pattern and texture combinations can make a huge impact when it comes to creating a space that feels both custom and timeless. We could talk about pattern in this Great Room for DAYS, y’all- and we would start with these glorious chairs. The pattern is both classic and bold, and provides a playful and unexpected design moment in this room. The traditional frame paired with the contrasting blue and crisp white is just a beautiful match, and layering in that dot pattern pillow takes it over the top. We love this shot because it also highlights some of the accents in the room. This abstract art piece is steeped in texture, with subtle warm tones that perfectly echo the feel of sand and sun. Set against a gorgeous mixed metal mercury-glass inspired lamp, the visual is just the right balance of sleek, modern, and grounded- bringing in warm earthen elements to complement and contrast to the bright crisp blues.

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The Modern Coastal Keeping Room

Creating a seamless transition from room to room is one of our favorite facets of a perfectly finished space, and this beautiful Modern Coastal Keeping Room was the perfect opportunity to work that creative design flow. With a bright, open area encompassing the kitchen, dining room, and keeping room, writing a gorgeous color story and weaving in those fresh coastal details made this entire space feel synchronous, polished, and complete.

Coastal Reflection

If you’re just joining us now, we’re taking you through our custom design of this light-filled home, owned by an absolutely wonderful couple who also happen to be lifelong beachcombers. Their true “happy place” is by the water, and they wanted some special beach items and maritime charm written into their custom design story. Since this is actually an inland home located on a lake here in North Carolina, keeping the design clean and unique allowed us to create an inspired, fresh take on that beloved and time-honored coastal style. We started with their gorgeous kitchen (you can take a tour here!) and today we’re moving right along to this cozy coastal-themed keeping room.

modern coastal sitting room - catherine french design
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Kitchen Design|Modern Coastal Blues

Bringing some modern coastal charm to this crisp, beautiful kitchen allowed these homeowners to connect with their happy place. This modern coastal kitchen design is full of rich blues, just the right maritime touches, and a modern, sophisticated update on a classic style. We can all use a little light and warmth right now in these long days of winter (especially this year!), and we’re here to spread that sunny vibe as we take you on a tour of all the design moments we lovingly created for this home.

Durham NC kitchen remodel - cat french design

Coastal Connection

Here in NC, we are fortunate to be within driving distance to the coast, which a lot of folks love to take advantage of throughout the year. This couple happens to be originally from New England, and are life-long beach lovers. Though their home is actually located at a beautiful lake local to Chapel Hill rather than beachside, they wanted to be surrounded by visual elements that reminded them of their happiest times and shared love for that glorious beach life. So, we created a coastal-inspired design just for them, including tons of beachy touches but with a fresh, updated take that was the perfect match for their inland home. Beginning with a Paint Color Consultation and then shifting into space planning and furnishings, this multi-room design was a vision that brought their waterside days to life.

modern coastal kitchen - cat french design

Deep Blues

The kitchen is the hub of this large open space in their home, where the dining space and family room also converge. The homeowners love a chef’s kitchen and spend a great deal of time whipping up culinary wonders in this space, making it a focus in their home. The design challenge here was creatively integrating variety, depth, and layered hues into the design to keep things gorgeous and interesting, while still in keeping with these homeowner’s true love of a blue + neutral color scheme. To keep things light and bright, we chose a fresh white tone on the cabinets to complement the countertops. They have a divinely large kitchen island and this was a prime spot to introduce some key visual interest. We painted the island in this engaging marine hue, which is a deep, moody mixture of blue and green that reads beautifully against the crisp white of the island countertop and the surrounding cabinets. It also provides some depth and subtle contrast, simultaneously streamlining and gently contrasting with the other blue hues throughout the adjacent dining and living areas.

wonderfully painted cabinets - cat french design

Color Current

Speaking of that dining room- let’s take a look around. This sunny nook is just off the kitchen and gets a ton of natural light (a moment to take in those windows- wow!). Beautiful, smooth wood in a deep tone for the dining table was a perfect complement to ground the space and bring in dimension. The rich, bright cobalt of the custom upholstered dining chairs pops in the loveliest way, drawing on the blue tones in the kitchen wall art and accent pieces, as well as providing even more beautiful contrast against that crisp white kitchen. We love how the blue looks even more gorgeous against the lush green forested view. The upholstery itself has a light texture, giving an airy feel that’s the perfect match for the breezy coastal undercurrent throughout this design.

breakfast nook - cat french design
navy fabric with tan pillow - cat french design

Embracing the Elements

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Plush | A Neutral Bedroom Retreat

When it comes to great bedroom design, comfort and beauty go hand in hand- and that’s what we love the most about this neutral-inspired bedroom retreat. With plush texture and gorgeous tones tucked into every corner, this serene spot is crafted to be its own relaxing world. We’re taking you on an inside look at this gorgeous scene, from the tonal color-scape to the layers, light, and carefully chosen design nuances that bring it all together.

Bedding Cat French Design - Chapel Hill NC

Stay-cation for Two

If you’ve been following along for a bit, you saw a peek of this room in our last post, where we shared how this home was featured in Chapel Hill Magazine. If you’re just joining us now (welcome!), you can also check it out on the blog here. This New Traditional Living home design included much more than just this bedroom retreat, but this space came to such a gorgeous finish that we wanted to take some time to share all of the details with you. These wonderful homeowners are working professionals in the Chapel Hill area who were looking to merge a traditional style house with their more modern, sleek tastes. The result was a beautiful fusion of art, light, and tone-on-tone loveliness that serves as a very functional family space as well as a beautiful, timeless forever home.

Snapshot from the Chapel Hill Magazine feature- check out the full article here!

Capturing the Light

One of our favorite ways to get creative with design is to think outside the box about how a room can be more useful, purposeful, and intentional. This often looks like finding ways that a space can be enjoyed in multiple ways, ideally more than just one time a day. Bedrooms can sometimes be an afterthought especially for those that spend most days outside the home. But there’s so much appeal and potential when it comes to making this room more than a sleeping space. We wanted to give these busy folks an extra place for respite, relaxation, and connection. This plush chair duo was the perfect match for this space- a spot to sit, read, or catch up with each other on the day’s events. We love how the triple window drenches it with light, drawing your eye right to the pristine forested surround.

Bedroom Seating Area Cat French Design - Chapel Hill NC

Neutral Haven

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New Traditional Living: CFD in Chapel Hill Magazine

This New Traditional Living design for an incredible family was a dream project in and of itself. But when the folks at Chapel Hill Magazine said they were interested in showcasing this wonderful couple and their beautiful, New Traditional Living style home in the December issue- well, we just could not have been more thrilled. For us, doing our very best work and seeing homeowners so happy with their custom design is what it’s all about. But even so, seeing our clients in a gorgeous print spread enjoying that perfect finished space gives us the big happy feels and all the best design joy. We’ve had to keep quiet about this one as it was going to print, and we’re SO excited it’s here and we get to share it with you today!

New Traditional Living

But we know y’all love a good behind-the-scenes, so let’s get into some of that design backstory! If you’ve been following for a little bit we know you’ve caught a few sneak peeks of this space over on our social media, as well as a look into one of our favorite spaces to date- their gorgeous Modern Parlor. This home was new construction with tons of classic charm already woven in throughout, such as traditional moldings and wainscoting, tray ceilings, and tall windows. These homeowners are working professionals and parents who share a streamlined, sleek taste and were looking for a design vision to seamlessly bridge and blend their traditional home with modern design and furnishings.

Design Dimension

This couple’s natural love of neutrals led us to create a custom color palette with lots of fresh, crisp cream and ivory tones. To add depth, dimension, and richness we layered in blues, then let the colors pop with hints of warm and bright earth tones. One thing we especially enjoyed about this design was adding in sleek, sophisticated metallics throughout the decor, lighting, and styling touches. The finished effect was a stunning union of serene + bold, with both classic and design-forward elements beautifully highlighted. These homeowners also let us get creative with art, adding in custom pieces throughout the home that brought life, energy, and character to the space. Building out a robust master design plan and layering in each and every detail allowed us to create full customization and deep personalization in the space.

Beautiful, Liveable, Home

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The Modern Parlor | Formal Living Room Design

Modern, beautiful, formal, and a truly unique all-in-one – this Parlor design is something we could not WAIT to share with you. Part of a large-scale home design for a wonderful family, this Formal Living Room space embodies classic beauty with a modern feel. With a unique centric space plan and sleek, art-forward design paired with some gorgeous lighting, this space competes for our favorite room in the house. We’ve got a lot to share, so let’s sit down for some Parlor Talk as we dish out all the details on this stunning room.


In the original building plan, this space was actually slated as a Formal Dining Room. But for this couple, they knew that wasn’t something that would serve them best, and we were excited to create a completely new vision. We fully re-imagined the space to be a place this family would use and truly enjoy, as well as adding lots of beauty and style. As one of the first rooms you see upon entering the home, part of our Master Plan was to create a completely unique concept, while still keeping it functional and comfortable for family living. Rather than a couch + loveseat or 2 chairs, we got creative with seating and designed an interior layout of beautiful custom chairs anchored by a round cocktail table. One unique detail is that the subtle curve on the front of the swivel chairs echoes the curve of the cocktail table itself, creating a lovely flow. This also served to bring focus to the gorgeous light fixture (more on that below!). The chairs are covered in a dreamy neutral upholstery, which serves the double purpose of making them extra inviting, while also letting the layout, lighting, and art take center stage. The combination and careful synthesis of a strategic furnishing placement plus striking art creates a space that is both engaging and serene- perfect for entertaining or just relaxing and enjoying the room.

The Lighter Side

THIS light fixture. One thing we love about lighting is that when well-chosen, it can be so dynamic- showcasing and bringing together so many design elements in one feature. This fixture is striking with a bold, design-forward look, but also brings in lots of classic character and charm with a traditional shape. We get the best modern + regency vibes from this one, especially with that hint of gold leaf embellishment at the base. The intersection of style makes it perfect for a traditional room in a home with a modern design flow. And that deep charcoal against the brass? We’ll stare at that goodness all day long.

Regina Andrews Beaded Pendant - Cat French Design

Creating the Landscape

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Studio Design and Radio Time- Fall Happenings!

The year-end hustle is in full swing here in the studio! It’s a bustling time, with lots of projects at many different stages. And although the circumstances have never looked more different than they do this year, we are beyond grateful to be designing and creating our hearts out more than ever as we wrap up the whirlwind that has been 2020. Connecting with people through design is the thing we love the most, and our amazing clients and CFD community have kept us going in an incredible way. We wanted to take a moment to share a couple of good things that have come out way lately!

Catch us on the Radio!

We love being part of the Chapel Hill community (as a business and as residents!), so we were thrilled when WCHL Chapelboro Radio reached out to us about working with their station. We are always looking for new ways to connect with our community, so this was an enthusiastic yes for us. We kicked it off with an interview of Cat with local radio persona Aaron Keck, talking about all things CFD, our studio, and design. After chatting a bit about who we are and what we do as a company, the hot topics on the docket were Market and Moss, the trends we’re seeing in the studio this year, and how we’ve worked with clients on navigating the changes of 2020.

If you weren’t able to listen live, you can hear the interview recorded on the WCHL website. The wonderful Ali Evans also wrote an article to go along with the recorded interview, talking a little more about who we are as a team and a company, and how we can help both business and homeowners create spaces that are not only beautiful but truly functional and liveable. Check it out via the link here! We will also be featured in a special edition print calendar that WCHL is producing this year, featuring a rockstar crew of all-women business owners in the Chapel Hill area, and we couldn’t be more excited to be included. Look out for more info about where you can grab one!

Cat French featured in

High Point by Design

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