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

This painted landscape sets the stage for a gorgeous, soft ambiance with plenty of depth- the perfect backdrop for layering in a beautiful design. And although the mural turned out to be glorious all on its own, we didn’t stop there. Carefully pairing contrast with texture, as well as bold pops of color created an entryway scene that’s rich with visual interest. It warmly greets you with a little bit of surprise and then draws you fully into the atmosphere of the restaurant. We love how this pair of fabulous oversized pink wing-backs brings in so much life. The fresh blush color contrasting the walls in blue, and the stately, plush feel of the chairs are just the right amount of unexpected while bringing the vision together beautifully. And that stunning abstract art? It was created by our very own Sarah Hamlett, just for this space. We can’t even, y’all! She’s just so talented.

New Market and Moss waiting area at entry - Cat French Design - Chapel Hill

Cocktails and Creativity

Once your gaze passes the entryway, the next sight to meet your eye is the bar. It’s a central fixture that anchors the space but needed a LOT of design love. We were ready to take on the challenge and started with the surround, bringing in the rich, deep blue tone that ties together the color story of Market and Moss. We let the color add depth while also framing and accentuating the beautiful wood tone of the bar itself. One of our favorite parts was adding custom copper detail to the trim of the bar- a seemingly small change, but one that we knew would bring a sleek, warm finish and add that perfect unique touch to the entire aesthetic. Reinventing the bar was hugely impactful- and once completed, it was easy to see how it brought the space to a whole new level. Here is a look at the before, during, and after:

Previous bar area at Market and Moss
Before picture, captured during the demolition phase
Cat with contractor Alex Sayre, working on the bar detailing
Newly reimagined bar area with copper, blue and hunter accents - Cat French Design
The full bar transformation!

Sip and Stay Awhile at Market and Moss

The final, perfect touch for this bar was pairing it with gorgeous custom bar stools. These gems line the full length of the bar. The lines of the back and unique leg shape beautifully mirror the curve of the bar. And possibly our favorite part- the deep green velvet upholstery. It’s a gorgeous complement against the glossy copper detail of the bar, and just the right contrast to the rich blue landscape around and behind the bar. Color theory strategy played heavily into the combination here- using just the right undertones to make the wood of the bar feel classic and incredibly new all at the same time.

Hunter Green Velvet custom bar stools - Cat French Design
Navy and Green Custom fabrics in Market and Moss restaurant - Cat French Design

As it often happens, we’ve got too much to share for just one post! But we like giving you all the behind-the-scenes details we can, so we’ll be back again with more about this beautiful space, including the custom-made booths, the lighting, and the custom tile ceiling (yes!). We have been excited, humbled, and grateful to see the huge community response to this space and the way it has brought some brightness to folks during a tough year. We were so happy to be part of Annie’s vision and dream, and we love being able to share it with you here.

Catherine French in the all new Market and Moss Restaurant - Cat French Design

Keep a lookout for more on the Market and Moss transformation- we’ll be posting again as well as sharing more snapshots on our Instagram @catfrenchdesign, as well as our Facebook Page. You can check out more of our recent and classic projects by checking out the rest of the CFD Blog, and by viewing images of our work on our Design Portfolio Page. Have a question or looking to start a design project of your own? We’re here to help. You can always reach us in the studio at 919-537-8148, via email at, or on our Contact Page.