Rachel James transformed a builder-grade condo into a hip bachelor's pad.
Designer Rachel James.
Top-down, bottom-up Hunter Douglas blinds offer privacy in the cozy yet practical bedroom.
James added a bar in an alcove near the dining area.
A deck with views of Arlington offers al fresco dining.

Hot Talent: Rachel James

Working with clients to develop their own signature look

Rachel James’s decorating career took a different turn in 2006 when she first appeared as a featured guest designer on HGTV’s popular show “Kidspace,” which focused on children’s room makeovers. Before launching her own firm in 2003, James worked as a guidance counselor for students in all grade levels—a background the producers loved.

“My training on the show really got me into design,” says James. “The staff and I did virtually everything, from painting murals on the walls to sewing custom window treatments to construction. It was like being on the front lines.”

She has since continued to apply her skills and further build her boutique interior design firm, taking on a wide variety of jobs over the years. James, who holds a minor in art history, is equally content—and comfortable—doing contemporary, transitional or traditional projects. And her laid-back attitude immediately makes clients feel at ease. As she says, “I’m more interested in helping clients develop the very best of their own look, rather than putting my stamp on their style.”

INTERIOR DESIGN: Rachel James, Rachel James Interiors, Vienna, Virginia.