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Interior designer Rachel Dougan believes in taking risks with color and patterns, something she learned as a graphic designer.

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Fine Design

By Michael McCarthy

Photography by Greg Powers

10.03.16

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.”