Overview

The interior designers on this list are not only the top designers in Washington DC, but also in the nation and worldwide. Many note that their style is influenced by both classical and modern elements. Statement furnishings, as well as custom fabrics, are go-tos for these interior designers. Many of these designers have also collaborated with home furnishing companies, as well as started their own unique collections. Perhaps not so surprisingly, a few of these designers started their professional careers as lawyers before switching to interior design — reflective of one of DC’s top industries. That breadth of knowledge and precision is present in their designs. Their work has been published in a variety of websites and print magazines.

Top Designers

10
Residents Understood

Designer:
Kiera Kushlan
Jessica Centella

Address:
2126 Connecticut Ave NW #9, Washington, DC 20008

Contact:
202-630-6184 |
info@residentsunderstood.com

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About Residents Understood

A firm founded by two young professionals, Residents Understood’s focus is on clients like them in the bustling city of Washington DC. Kiera Kushlan and Jessica Centella both founded the firm. They met at the University of Florida, where they attended graduate school for interior design. Kushlan calls herself a wallpaper connoisseur, while Centella has a fondness for fonts. They offer various levels of service for demographic, including a “remote redesign” option to assist people virtually. They’re especially interested in providing people a personalized design process. Though a relatively new firm (founded in 2010), their projects have already been featured in the Washington Post, Modern Luxury DC Magazine, Refinery29, Southern Living Magazine, Better Homes and Gardens Refresh Magazine, and the Washingtonian.

Featured Projects

Kushlan’s own design for her personal apartment is especially creative. The 1,200-square-foot apartment is in a building from 1910. The design honored the original moldings and wood floors. Because the space was renovated multiple times, many original elements had been stripped away, so herringbone floors, molding, five panel doors, and the fireplace were included in the vision. Residents Understood also designed a Wesley Heights home. A dark-navy Shaker style in the kitchen was the original jumping off point for the design. A unique, hand-painted clay backsplash is a favorite feature there. The family room was also painted in dark blue to complement the kitchen’s cabinets. They also removed a breakfast nook to create more pantry space and a bar area for gatherings.

9
Lauren Liess

Designer:
Lauren Liess

Address:
Great Falls, VA

Contact:
571-926-7825 |
mail@laurenliess.com

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About Lauren Liess

Lauren Liess runs her interior design firm and textiles company with her husband, David, right outside DC in Great Falls, Virginia. Their style is self-described as “relaxed luxury.” Liess’s childhood love of botany led to her creation of her own fabrics. Wildflowers and unique plant life are of special interest to her. She’s known for including these organic elements in her designs in order to relax the typical tailored style in the DC metro area. She started her popular blog Pure Style Home in 2008. Liess also wrote a book, Habitat: The Field Guide to Decorating, which was published in 2015. Lauren and David are also done with the new HGTV pilot Best House on the Block, which focuses on giving suburban homes a face-lift through creative interior design, and currently working on the first full season.

“Just out of college I was working in public relations and began decorating my first apartment. One day I realized I realized how much more I loved decorating than my job and decided to make a change. I enrolled in a distance learning design course at the New York School of Interior Design and eventually began taking on clients. My hope was for it to be a part-time career but that didn’t last long and eventually, we grew to the point where my husband decided to leave his job and come work for the company too.” – Lauren Leiss

Featured Projects

Their Fox Vale project is an especially beautiful and dear design, as it was the home of Lauren and David themselves until 2 years ago. The house was built in the 1970s, and they stripped it down to the studs. With the use of wooden details and one-of-a-kind textiles, the space is warm and inviting. A gorgeous light fixture in the living area is a noteworthy aspect of the design, as is wall-to-wall bookcases in the library. The master suite features a curated wall of framed pictures. The home was featured in Domino Magazine in 2014. Another project is their Consulate Revival. By removing dropped ceilings, old carpeting, and commercial finishes, this former consulate took on a whole new style with new fabrics and finishes, as well as re-upholstery and repainting.

“Nature. I don’t think there’s anything more beautiful than what’s outside. I love to bring the outdoors inside by using natural elements and attempting to blur the lines between in and out through architecture.” – Lauren Leiss

8
Zoe Feldman Design

Designer:
Zoe Feldman

Address:
1052 Potomac Street NW, Washington, DC 20007

Contact:
202-719-8062 |
hello@zoefeldmandesign.com

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About Zoe Feldman Design

A boutique interior design firm in Washington DC, Zoe Feldman Design has been recognized nationally. Feldman studied design at Parsons School of Design. After school, she worked for four years as a designer for Alexa Hampton at the top NYC-based design firm, Mark Hampton, Inc. As an iVillage Home and Garden expert, she has written several pieces on decorating and appeared on the television show iVillage LIVE. She has also appeared on the Today show. She earned a “One to Watch” award from the DC Design Center in 2011. Most recently, she has designed houses in the Washington DC area, NYC, the Hamptons, and South Florida. Her work has been featured in Best of DC (Runner-Up for Best Interior Decorator), The Washington Post, Lifetime, and Apartment Therapy, among others.

Featured Projects

For her DC DesignCenter Dream Home room inspired by a gold and diamond ring from Shah and Shah Appraisers, Feldman started with marbleized gold, silver, and cream wallpaper in this master suite. She then dressed the bed in luxurious covers, which she notes is one of the most important features of a bedroom. Gold accents are present throughout the room, especially in a unique coffee table. Yellow accents provided by benches at the foot of the bed give a pop to the room as a whole. Feldman’s own apartment has been featured on several websites. Feldman started with the paint colors throughout the 1,200-square-foot apartment. Each door was repainted to be a decorative point in the home. Classic furniture is paired with eclectic artwork.

7
Lori Graham

Designer:
Lori Graham

Address:
1412 14th Street NW, Washington, DC 20005

Contact:
202-745-0118 |
info@lorigraham.com

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About Lori Graham

Lori Graham founded her firm and lifestyle showroom in Washington DC. She has described her style as “old warm charm with urban flair” and “SoHo-Boho.” She rocketed to the top of her industry when one of her projects landed on the cover of Metropolitan Home in 2007, and she was designated as one of five top young designers of the “Who’s Next” issue. More recently, Luxe + Gold named her on their 2014 Gold List — a collection of top designers across the nation. Her showroom contains unique collections from all over the world, in addition to her own collection, LG Place. Graham studied art history at Georgetown University and design at the Corcoran School of Art. Prior to designing, she practiced law in Washington DC.

Featured Projects

A recent project was her work on a townhome. The family had four children under the age of 10, so Graham was tasked with making the space more open and kid-friendly, while still looking elegant. Graham focused on multi-functional spaces, such as a homework room/mudroom off of the kitchen. The walls pop with a deep turquoise and warm yellow. Her showroom, Showroom 1412, embodies a classy West Hollywood vibe, which is in contrast to the normal DC style. The showroom is a hybrid design boutique and art gallery. Graham’s idea is to have the space, which is full of chic pieces, inspire people when they come in and encourage them to bring those ideas back to their homes.

6
Paul Corrie Interiors

Designer:
Paul Corrie

Awards:
Traditional Home Favorite Young Traditional Designer of the Year

Address:
1739 Kenyon Street NW, Washington, DC 20010

Contact:
202-234-0653 |
info@paulcorrie.com|
https://paulcorrie.com/portfolio/

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About Paul Corrie Interiors

Established in 2005, Paul Corrie Interiors has been recognized both regionally and nationally. While his designs are more contemporary, they are still influenced by the elegant and historical style of the DC neighborhoods. Paul Corrie received the honor of being chosen as “Favorite Young Traditional Designer of the Year” by Traditional Home in 2010. The firm was added to Luxe Interiors + Design’s Gold List for 2014. In 2012, Corrie opened a brick and mortar home furnishings studio in DC. One can find one-of-a-kind vintage and antique goods that Corrie personally curates from flea markets, estate sales, and dealers worldwide. He is interested in making high-quality items available, affordable, and accessible. His work has been published in several publications, as well as on HGTV’s Small Space, Big Style.

Featured Projects

An exquisite design is the Mount Pleasant residence, Corrie’s own residence. Because the row house only receives light from the back and front, he started with a lighter color palette. This included furnishings with ivory fabrics and raw wood with lighter undertones. The living space boasts a tailored couch covered in Ultrasuede. A major renovation in the kitchen was necessary, and a white palette gave the space a modern update. Another noteworthy project is the Foxhall Crescent Renovation. Corrie transformed the five-bedroom, five-bath residence into a sophisticated space. Glamourous touches were included all throughout the home, especially a disco ball-like light fixture in the dining area. Unique window fixtures were installed to allow for more light.

5
Darlene Molnar

Designer:
Darlene Molnar

Awards:
Home & Design Hot New Talent

Address:
11317 Bright Pond Lane, Reston, VA 20194

Contact:
202-670-3665 |
studio@darlenemolnar.com

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About Darlene Molnar

Darlene Molnar founded her firm in 2011 after working at firms in the UK and US. Educated at Parsons New School of Design in Paris, Sotheby’s Institute of Art in London, and the Royal Academy in Copenhagen, she earned her Master of Arts degree in Interior Design from the Corcoran College of Art & Design. Molnar is NCIDQ certified and LEED accredited, with a specialization in interior design and construction. She has collaborated with Crate & Barrel and Umbra. Formally, a professional member of and national media spokesperson for the American Society of Interior Designers and an adjunct instructor in the Interior Architecture & Design Department at George Washington University, Molnar has also been featured on HGTV. She was also named a “Hot New Talent” by Home & Design.

“Ever since I was a kid I wanted to be an interior designer, but my got my professional start after grad school when I was laid off during the economic downturn in 2009. I started doing small projects here and there, which turned into bigger projects, referrals, and repeat clients that has grown ever since.” -Darlene Molnar

Featured Projects

Her design for her previous Mid-century residence holds a mixture of vintage finds, DIY items, and typographical details. An old DC metro bus map serves as a main focal point in the kitchen. Molnar collaborated with her father, a leather maker, to design a custom Bertoia chair. She also designed a quiet space on the small balcony of the unit, which overlooks the building’s courtyard. Her biggest splurge was reupholstering a Mies van der Rohe side chair in a wool plaid fabric by Paul Smith for Maharam. She also designed a bold kitchen for HGTV’s Showhouse Showdown. The kitchen featured painted lime green walls with stainless steel appliances. She also used prominent floral accents. New light fixtures were installed to make the space brighter over the island. Spacious cabinet space was installed to allow for maximum storage.

I can’t help but look at the backgrounds in movies and on tv shows.  I am currently loving the set of the new Will & Grace – it’s masculine and cozy and full of details. –Darlene Molnar

4
Kelley Proxmire, Inc.

Designer:
Kelley Proxmire

Awards:
Designers’ Choice Hall of Fame

Address:
4519 Wetherill Road, Bethesda, MD 20816

Contact:
301-320-2109 |
kelley@kelleyinteriordesign.com

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About Kelley Proxmire, Inc.

In her 20-plus-year career, Kelley Proxmire brings a passion for interior design that began in her pre-teen years as she observed interior designers transform her parents’ home. She went on to study the work of classic greats such as Billy Baldwin, laying the foundation for a design style that incorporates pretty, yet practical elements. Kelley has developed a matchless eye for crafting tailored traditional interiors, exuding warmth and hospitality while maintaining excellent balance, proportion and scale. Her love of color is combined with an appreciation for the sophistication of white and the elegance of black. Adept at mixing traditional pieces with unexpected finds, Kelley creates environments that are attuned to the client’s world and faithful to the architecture and setting of a home. Kelley was named the 2016 Designers’ Choice Hall of Fame Designer by Home & Design magazine and has participated in 25 show houses in 16 years. Her work has been featured in numerous local and national publications including Traditional Home, Southern Home, Southern Living, Luxe, Coastal Living, Washingtonian and The Washington Post Magazine, among others.

Featured Projects

A project featured in Home & Design is a residence in Vienna, Virginia. Proxmire started with a palette of mostly primary colors, which set the tone for the rest of the house. She connected the rooms through this flow of color, but decreased the intensity for the master bedroom with calming blues and greens. The children’s rooms are a bit more vibrant, and Lilly Pulitzer duvets inspired the design for one. Proxmire’s designs were featured in the 2016 DC Design House, which selects top DC designers to design a room in a residence. She designed the family room, which she painted a warm coral hue. Splashes of blue, white, and gray accent the room. There’s also a grand fireplace, one of five in the home.

3
J.D. Ireland

Designer:
Joe Ireland
Julie Weber Gligor

Address:
1508 19th Street NW, Washington, DC 20036

Contact:
202-986-4870 |
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About J.D. Ireland

Founded by Joe Ireland and Julie Weber Gligor, this Dupont Circle-based design firm is well known and sought after. The founders met in 1991, and after discovering a shared love for design and a similar aesthetic, they decided to combine forces. Ireland is self-taught and learned as an apprentice, while Weber Gligor has a degree in interior architecture from Marymount University. J.D. Ireland’s work can be spotted in local and national publications. House Beautiful named them on their “Next Wave” of top national design firms list, and H&D Portfolio recently awarded them a Top Interior Designer honor. They have extensive experience designing interiors for both residences and retail spaces. Partner Edith Gregson and Senior Designer Claudia Sans Werner also contribute their knowledge and expertise to the team.

Featured Projects

Their work on a Woodley Park row house is outstanding. A granite-topped bar replaced a wall to the kitchen, and sturdy, kid-friendly furnishings were used throughout the home. The dining area is especially stunning, with a Grange table, transparent Philippe Starck ghost chairs, and a Baker pendant. Their design for their own firm’s offices in Dupont Circle are also excellent. The bright and airy row house needed some updates. The main level of the house is a library, and architectural columns were placed around the windows. There is also a 10-foot table that allows for maximum gathering space, as well as a private area to meet clients. They paid special attention to unique furnishings and striking fabrics.

2
Thomas Pheasant

Designer:
Thomas Pheasant

Awards:
Design Icon Award,
International Designer of the Year,
Architectural Digest Dean of American Design Award

Address:
1029 33rd Street NW, Washington, DC 20007

Contact:
202-337-6596 |
info@thomaspheasant.com

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About Thomas Pheasant

With over 30 years of interior design experience, Thomas Pheasant is known all over the world. He opened his own firm at age 24. Based in DC, he was honored by Architectural Digest US with the distinction “Dean of American Design” in 2005. He has several furniture design collections, including the Thomas Pheasant Collection for Baker, Thomas Pheasant Collection for McGuire, and his own collection, Thomas Pheasant STUDIO. Notably, he was the first American designer invited to exhibit his custom furniture at the Pavillon des Antiquaires et des Beaux Arts in Paris. Pheasant was also awarded the Andrew Martin International Designer of the Year Award. In 2016, he received the Design Icon award. Notably, he has been named on the AD100 list several times. He also has published a book called Simply Serene: The New Luxury for Modern Interiors.

Featured Projects

One of Pheasant’s recent and most interesting projects is work on the Blair House, the President’s Guest House on Pennsylvania Avenue across from the White House. He had to account for earthquake damage and also revitalize the guest rooms with a modern flair. He also designed BET’s co-founder Sheila Johnson’s home in Virginia’s Fauquier County. The property, called Salamander Farms, contains various homages to the salamander. Pheasant designed the home to be a serene retreat for the non-stop businesswoman. He designed custom rugs with nature motifs to connect with the nature surrounding the 177 acres. The color palette includes chocolate, ivory, and pale blue. In the rear of the lower level is a gallery space with grand French doors to allow for the many gatherings Johnson enjoys holding. Pheasant also included oversize sculptures of apples, cherries, and oranges in the kitchen and the view-filled breakfast room.

1
Darryl Carter

Designer:
Darryl Carter

Address:
1320 9th Street NW, Washington, DC 20001

Contact:
202-234-5926 |
info@darrylcarter.com

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About Darryl Carter

Now one of the foremost and sought after interior decorators in the country, Darryl Carter has had an interesting path to interior design. Starting as a lawyer, Carter redid and flipped real estate on the weekends. After one of the properties he was living in was featured on the cover of Metropolitan Home, he received a number of calls asking for private commissions. He notes his style icon as a cross between John Pawson and Thomas Jefferson. His first book, The New Traditional, covers modern sensibility with a classical aesthetic. He also has a second book, The Collected Home. Carter has collections with The Urban Electric Company, Benjamin Moore, and Baker Furniture. Carter was named on the AD100 list in 2016 and his work has been featured in several publications, such as Architectural Digest, Metropolitan Home, Elle Decor, O at Home, and InStyle Home.

Featured Projects

Carter notes that one of his dream projects was designing his own showroom and design studio. He renovated a mid 19th-century building, which became the showroom, and a carriage house (some parts dated back to the Civil War), which turned into the design studio. In between the spaces is a courtyard with a gathering and gallery space. The existing masonry was kept whenever possible, and crisp, white walls brought a modern touch to the space. Another noteworthy project is the Darryl Carter Collection for Milling Road. Combining classical looks with clean lines, the mid-20th century furniture collection includes case goods, textiles, upholstery, lighting, and accessories. He incorporates juxtaposition into many of the items in the collection, which can exclusively be found at Baker in DC’s Cady’s Alley.

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