By Michael McCarthy
Photography by Greg Powers
Rachel Dougan, one of the minds behind this year’s Design House, creates a woman’s comfort zone.
Rachel Dougan isn’t shy about her brilliant room in this year’s DC Design House. “The lady lair is the antidote to the man cave,” says the principal of local firm ViVi Interiors. “After all, why shouldn’t she have an escape within the house?” With four different wall treatments in the space, Dougan says the room was inspired by the Orient Express. Bathroom fixtures hail from French luxury company THG. A chic bar emerges from a converted closet. And a mammoth TV hides in plain sight with a custom circular frame faced with black glass. “I kind of went all out, aiming for a balance of the tender and fierce, bonded together with a heavy-duty layer of glam.”
Dougan began her career as a graphic designer, and her skills in that field not only translate to making grand interiors spaces, but also take her work to bolder levels. Her rooms are often parades of color, style and eclectic ephemera. In graphic design, “two individually lovely shades can be either absolutely stunning or absolutely ghastly when one surrounds the other,” says the designer, who was born in Vietnam and spent time as a child in the Far East and Europe. “I’d say these ideas easily translate to the work I do for interiors.”
DC residents are straying from the trappings of traditional design, says Dougan. “We’ll see expectations rise among homeowners that will go beyond the safe-zone preppy and plaid. But I wouldn’t want to see things swing completely off the pendulum by mimicking the latest fashion in New York or Los Angeles. A tad of historical reference and a good smack of soul would help preserve the DNA of this city—being true to the way you live can set trends.” Oct. 1-30, $35, 2509 Foxhall Road NW
Rooftop dining, New Washington Orchestra, libraries, Drop Electric’s albums, Leo Villareal’s installations, Tail Up Goat’s brown rice bread
No-reservation restaurants, parking tickets, flourescent lighting, overly industrial decor, artifical foliage