Ugo Arinzeh wound up in the design field in a roundabout way. The MBA with a degree in finance was working in commercial real estate banking while renovating a rowhouse in Columbia Heights. After firing two contractors, she and a friend decided to finish the job themselves—and the seed was planted.
“My house was a full gut rehab,” she says. After making every decision, from tiles to paint colors, she started getting compliments, then requests for help. Since then, Arinzeh has designed residences, outfitted condo buildings and recently completed an office suite for DC Council Chairman and mayoral candidate Vincent Gray.
Arinzeh strives to help clients define their style through color, art and accessories. “Everybody can find a sofa that they love,” she explains. “What I like is pulling everything together in a cohesive way that expresses who they are.”
The interiors in her home boast vibrant colors, rich textures and a hint of the unexpected. “My wall colors are rich but still allow other things on top of them,” she says. “They’re not jarring.” In the dining room, Arinzeh commissioned artist Eric Nelson to create an iridescent diptych inspired by her luxurious Obsorne & Little drapery fabric. “The dining room is a great place to sparkle,” she says. She selected a more serene color scheme in the master bedroom, where Kravet fabrics on bedding and stools add a bit of punch.
Arinzeh stresses the importance of clients finding a look that resonates. “I like how this room feels,” she says of her living room. “People should have that in their homes, particularly since our lives now are so chaotic. To me, it’s a blessing when someone can come into their home and really enjoy it.”
INTERIOR DESIGN: Ugo Arinzeh, Arinzeh Interiors, Washington, DC.
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