The 15 Best Interior Designers in Washington, DC

washington dc

Washington DC is famous for its local style setters and impressive Georgetown design district, which includes over 70 interior design stores and art galleries, as well as an array of fashion specialty stores on M street. Even so, our nation’s capital may be known more for its lawyers than designers. Quite a few of DC’s top interior designers practiced law before following their hearts and pursuing their passion for design. Between the designers that found their true calling later on and those that honed their artistic skills from an early age, Washington DC is home to several celebrated interior designers. A multitude of up-and-coming young design professionals make their home here, too.

Listed below, in random order, are the area’s best 15 interior designers. From rising stars to internationally acclaimed style makers, these 15 designers are the best and brightest of Washington DC. Their personality, artistic vision, and exceptional taste make them successful, stand-out decorators.

Take a look, and don’t forget to cast your vote below to determine DC’s best interior designer!

Lauren LiessLauren Liess

Five years ago, Lauren left behind a career in public relations to open her own interior design company. She and her husband David grew Lauren Liess & Co. from a start-up in her parent’s basement into a studio and home furnishings boutique specializing in luxury interior design. Together, they also run a textile company, Lauren Liess Textiles. When not at work decorating, the mom of three keeps busy with her popular style blog, which has over 70,000 followers.

Thomas PheasantThomas Pheasant

A constant on Architectural Digest‘s AD 100 list, Thomas has received international recognition for his interior designs and furniture collections. Thomas established his own Georgetown firm in 1980, and recently was honored to undertake the redesign of the Blair House, the President’s Guest House on Pennsylvania Avenue. Not content to stay at home, the fourth-generation Washingtonian has completed projects in New York, Paris, and Moscow. However, he keeps a local presence with furniture collections at the Thomas Pheasant Studio, as well as a new line for the Baker store.

jose-solisJosé Solis Betancourt

The Puerto Rican native started drawing and painting at an early age before further developing these skills as an architecture student at Cornell University. After gaining experience at two distinguished firms, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and Saladino Group Inc., Jose established Solis Betancourt & Sherrill. Their projects have been featured in Architectural Digest, House & Garden, and House Beautiful, among other national publications. A book by Solis Betancourt & Sherrill, “Essential Elegance,” celebrates twenty years of the firm’s work.

Darryl CarterDarryl Carter

Unsurprisingly for a native Washingtonian, Darryl started out as a lawyer before discovering his true calling as a decorator and furniture designer. In addition to collections for Benjamin Moore and The Urban Electric Company, Darryl has authored two highly-rated books on design. In 1998, he established his own Embassy Row design firm, and has been featured in Elle Decor, Architectural Digest, and Veranda. Recently, the top designer opened a home decor shop and studio in DC’s Shaw neighborhood.

Joe IrelandJoseph Ireland

Along with partner Julie Weber, Joe is a principal owner of the architectural and design studio, J.D. Ireland. The self-taught designer joined the local design firm of Jose Solis Betancourt before starting his own firm in 2001. The Dupont Circle firm has been highlighted in The Washington Post and national TV programs like HGTV’s “Curb Appeal.” Home Beautiful picked Joseph and Julie as part of their “Next Wave” of interior designers to watch in 2010.

paul corriePaul Corrie

Paul personally selects the antiques and curiosities available at Paul Corrie Interiors. He has been named a “rising star” by Home & Design magazine, and a favorite young designer by Metropolitan Home. In 2010, he was honored by Traditional Home as their favorite Young Traditional designer. Paul’s work has also been featured in the DC Design House and on HGTV’s “Small Space Big Style.”

dana-about1Dana Tydings

Over the past 15 years, Tydings Design Inc. has developed a loyal clientele and reputation for livable luxury. Dana’s firm specializes in restoration and renovation of high-end residential and commercial properties. Another DC lawyer turned designer, her work has been spotlighted in Chesapeake Home & LivingThe Washington Post and on ABC News Channel 8. Known for her exceptional project management skills, it seems the organizational skills Dana learned in law school are still being put to good use.

portrait-baglinoPatrick Baglino

Patrick established his own firm, Patrick J. Baglino Jr. Interior Design, in 1998. Branding a style he calls “urban sophisticated,” his work can be seen in shelter magazines like Elle Decor, Home Magazine and DC Modern LuxuryHouse Beautiful named him one of America’s Top Young Designers. Patrick was the winning designer of of the Washington, DC episode of HGTV’s “Showhouse Showdown.”

paula1Paula Grace

Paula is the president and principal of designer of Paula Grace Designs, Inc., founded in 2004. She earned Masters Degrees in Clinical Social Work and Business Administration prior to studying interior design. Through her studies, Paula has cultivated an understanding of her client’s emotional needs as well as their design wishes. Her work on The Psychology of Design was published by Washington Women’s Weekly, and her interiors have been displayed in Home & Design Magazine, Rug News and Design, and Home Accents Today.

nicole-lanteriNicole Lanteri

Nicole is a self-taught interior designer who specializes in decorating for clients with busy lives. A native of South Florida, she studied Latin American Studies and Political Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. A semester abroad influenced her aesthetic and love for travel.  Nicole earned a law degree from the University of Virginia in 2004, but after practicing in New York City at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, she decided to start her new career as an interior decorator.

M_headshotMargaret Carter

Growing up in Connecticut and London, where she acquired an understanding of antiques and minimalist style, greatly influenced Margaret’s signature interiors. Leaving behind a career in medical sales, Margaret combined her design intuition and customer service skills to become a principal of Carter Home Collection in Colorado. Returning to her East Coast roots, she opened Margaret Carter Interiors in DC. Her firm was recently featured in Arlington Magazine‘s “Best Of” issue.

zoe-feldmanZoe Feldman

In addition to a decade of decorating East Coast homes, Zoe is an accomplished freelance writer and television personality, even appearing as a guest decorator on NBC’s “Today Show.” She studied at the Parsons School of Design, and worked for the acclaimed Manhattan design firm, Mark Hampton, Inc. Zoe’s work can be seen in publications such as The Washingtonian, DC Modern Luxury, and The Washington Post. She was presented the “Ones To Watch” award by the DC Design Center in 2011.

kieraKiera Kushlan

Kiera is a design principal for Residents Understood, a firm she started four years ago with friends from graduate school. Residents Understood specializes in affordable and personalized design, and is tailored to the lifestyle of DC’s young professionals. Prior to opening her own business, Kiera studied business administration at Ohio University, and received her Master’s in Interior Design from the University of Florida. You can find an eight-page spread featuring Kiera and her husband Michael’s DC home in the Summer 2014 issue of Better Homes and Gardens’ Refresh Magazine.

EPDC_SantaCruzNestor_optNestor Santa-Cruz

Nestor holds a Master’s degree in Architecture, and was inducted into the Washington Design Hall of Fame in 2004. The award-winning designer is also included in Washingtonian‘s Top DC Interior Designers list and Home & Design‘s Interior Design Hall of Fame. His design projects have been featured in national magazines like Elle DecorO at Home, and Veranda, to name a few. Nestor is known for his attention to architectural details, and classical as well as contemporary inspirations.

kelley-portrait2014Kelley Proxmire 

Kelley discovered her passion for design during the remodeling of her parent’s living room, and became inspired by the rooms of famous designers like Billy Baldwin and Mark Hampton. She describes her interiors as “tailored traditional,” a combination of warmth and hospitality with balance and proportion. Over a 21 year career, her residential projects have been been showcased in publications such as Traditional HomeWashingtonian, and Home & Design. In 2009, Kelley was inducted into the Washington Design Center Hall of Fame.

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