Rachel Dougan relaxes on a divan in the Kravet showroom. © Michael Ventura
Deco Japanese lacquered boxes from a flea market in Lyons, France.
The designer’s former Northwest DC row house exemplified her eclectic aesthetic.
A vintage leather chair and a calming abstract canvas imbued the sitting room with a cozy feel.
An inviting den boasted an English butler’s secretary and a papier maché table.
The designer’s former Northwest DC row house exemplified her eclectic aesthetic.
A vintage leather chair and a calming abstract canvas imbued the sitting room with a cozy feel.
An inviting den boasted an English butler’s secretary and a papier maché table.

Hot Talent: Rachel Dougan

A bold, eclectic style characterizes the DC designer's work

Rachel Dougan’s distinctive design aesthetic conveys the bold confidence of many years of experience—yet she’s been designing interiors for a relatively short time. After years in branding strategy and graphic design, she was looking for something more creative—and a home renovation showed her the way. “I had no idea I was interested in interior design, but I couldn’t stop working on our home,” she recalls. “When I landed on it, my husband was so happy—he said, ‘Great, now you can leave our house alone and move onto other people’s houses!’”

An international background informs Dougan’s work. Born in Vietnam and raised in Southeast Asia, she went to school in Europe before ending up in the U.S. She partnered with the late Washington designer Jerry Copeland for several years before launching ViVi Interiors about a year ago. “My approach to design is layered and textured, with lots of different concepts and patterns coming together,” she says. “I think this is from having experienced so many cultures.”

Dougan’s artful blend of styles, eras, textures and price points creates surprising, harmonious spaces. Her firm’s carefully chosen name reflects her design philosophy. “Vivi means ‘living’ in Latin,” she says. “I wanted to help people celebrate how they live with their spaces and their routines. These are not things that should just be cobbled together every day.”

Interior Design: Rachel Dougan, ViVi Interiors, Washington, DC.