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

One of the most enjoyable parts of designing this kitchen was styling in the perfect modern coastal details. Over the years, these homeowners had saved some special items that were reminiscent of beautiful beach days, and we loved incorporating these into their design. Bringing together a few meaningful existing pieces with new custom items when creating a brand new design vision is one way we can foster that connection between a homeowner and their space. Layering in both modern and classic water-inspired elements that would align with their dreams for the space was where design magic happened. This is such an important part of the process- ensuring that the space feels fresh and new but still surrounding homeowners with those small familiar details, making the home feel just like a home should.

Beautiful Kitchen in Durham NC - Cat French Design

Modern Coastal Touch

We love the light and subtle touch of marine patterns and images- just the right balance between the blues and the clean whites in this room. This design had such a beautiful mix of classic architecture and coastal elements, but with a modern, fresh feel that gave new life into the beloved blue and white color story. Tucking in little design hints of the waterside life in this inland home brings together the best of both worlds. Bringing in new patterns, timeless whites, creative, unique blues, and keeping the details light and fresh were the keys to making it feel effortless- just like a day at the beach.

Coastal Kitchen place setting - Cat French Design

We can’t get enough of this gorgeous modern coastal design, and we’ll be sharing more rooms from this beautiful home here on the blog this month! If you’d like to check out some of our other projects, head over to our Portfolio Page to see some recent and classic CFD designs. Thinking about a design project for your own home? We’re here to help- reach out to us at hello@catfrenchdesign.com or on our website via the Contact Page. For more in-the-moment happenings of this busy team, catch up with us on Instagram @catfrenchesign or follow us over on Facebook!

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Catherine’s Bio


Cat has a Master of Fine Arts in Interior Architecture. She has designed spaces for others for years and launched Catherine French Design to fill those design needs throughout the community. She is originally from Winston-Salem. However, now she and her family in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

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