Design Sessions- Spaghetti Day at the Studio!

Today we’re giving an insider-look at something we’ve never shared before- the infamous “Spaghetti Day” at the studio. Our clients tell us over and over how much they love this part of the process, and it’s one of our favorite ways to open the door to deep creativity and true personalization on each custom project. We’ll show you the magic behind this unique monicker, and all the teamwork that goes into making this term synonymous with BIG design sessions at the CFD studio.

Our spaghetti day room - cat french design

Reinventing the Recipe

If you’ve been following for a little bit, you know one of the facets of the CFD way is full custom design- meaning that every client, every space, every design concept- we’re planning and executing from scratch. One of the biggest reasons we do this? Because it serves our clients in the best way possible- to make a space that is the perfect fit for them. But, that also means there is a lot (a LOT) of time, strategy, artistry, and creative elbow-grease that goes into each design because no two are ever alike, and that’s a good thing. Although we create custom designs day in and day out, each project has a vision and a scope and a life of its own- it’s design reinvented, and we love to break the mold one unique space at a time.

All about Taste

We start to lay the groundwork for each design starting with that very first conversation we ever have with a client, but much of the critical design direction happens when we get them into the studio. Beforehand, we take the time to collect information and images about what our clients find beautiful, inspirational, comfortable, and meaningful. This can be everything from “I’ve always wanted a super comfortable armchair” to “my dream is a chef’s kitchen” and literally everything in between. A dedicated playroom with storage everywhere? That gorgeous dining room picture you clipped from a magazine and have held onto for years? Yes and yes. We want to see it all, because what matters to our clients exactly where we want to start. Building on everything they want for their space is how we create a vision that’s fully unique to them.

reviewing selections prior to a design session in the CFD studio - Cat french design

The Key Ingredients

Once we’ve done our homework, the big day is HERE. We bring clients into the studio for a focused, individual inspiration and design-athon. They get to come back to our workroom- one of our favorite spaces ever that also houses every beautiful sample under the sun. We put out all their inspiration photos and we start to get creative- we draw on the themes in their favorite images or from requests they’ve made and we start to pull textures, tones, and shapes. This is not so much about style as it is about visual undercurrent and design connections. Rooted in an artistic background, we’ve found that so much creativity happens when we remove the barriers of popular “design terms” and see what a client is naturally drawn to- what forms, elements, and colors really speak to them. It’s a judgment-free zone- we invite any and all reactions (good or bad!) because we truly want the end result to be a space they will love for a lifetime.

sample of our design sessions board pinned up and ready to show a client - cat french design

Chef for a Day

Next, we gather up images, textures, shapes, tones, and even specific pieces and we throw ’em up on the workroom wall. We give that client a big marker and we have them go through and mark up what they love and don’t love- what brings them the big joy and what doesn’t. Sometimes even clients are surprised at what emerges- they often find themselves loving something that they previously never thought of or connecting very strongly to a piece that they never would have imagined in their home. We pay close attention as themes arise- we notice things such as when a client is particularly drawn to jewel tones or loves classic, leggy sofas (for example). The details matter- and this is how we flush them out. This is also one of the ways we gently push creative boundaries to build a space that is truly novel and can be so much more incredible than a client may have imagined. By the end, we have a tremendous amount of insight into their vision- just like when you throw spaghetti up on the wall, we find those over-arching design elements that are going to “stick” for each client.

double checking upholstery selections - cat french design

Perfectly Combined

You know by now that we’re always, always mindful of function (yes, it is so important!). Throughout the session our logistical design-brains are working hard in the background, and we’re talking about the furniture plan layout, dimensions, and that key ingredient that makes it all work- SCALE. We’re going through the nuts and bolts of the space with the client in real-time as we’re looking at design inspiration. This allows us to form a cohesive, streamlined plan, with the client getting a direct understanding of what would fit where, and how the room would flow with big pieces in place. If it sounds like there’s a lot going on in this session- there is. But a lot of experience and knowledge has taught us how to make this not only extremely productive but also a wonderful experience for our clients.

Alina and Sarah reviewing the selections at the CFD studio in Chapel Hill - Cat french design

Welcome to the Team

One of the things we value the most is to be able to give our clients true personalized attention, and Spaghetti Day is one of our favorite ways to deliver it. Instead of using a top-down method, we like to put our clients right at the center of the creative process, and build every bit of the design around who they are and what will make a space their forever happy place. Spaghetti Day isn’t our only day with them in the studio, but it’s one of our favorites because it’s when we get to show clients that they are truly part of our team, and how much we value being able to share their vision. At the end of the day, the work is far from done, but it’s incredible to see our clients’ full of excitement as they see their design really starting to take shape.

Cat curating the spaghetti day design session board - cat french design
exterior finishes selections - cat french design

If you love learning about the design sessions process, check out our post on initial steps here! If you’re looking for help with your own dream space or have questions, you can always reach us at or via our contact page. For more of the happenings and goings-on of this busy team, check us out on Facebook or via Instagram @catfrenchdesign!