Meet Our Design-Build Team at Douglah Designs

douglah designs design-build firm home renovations team bay area

For more than 20 years, Douglah Designs has had the opportunity to work with hundreds of homeowners across the Bay Area. Our clients have welcomed us not only into their homes but also into their lives. To do what we do, and do it well, we have to get acquainted with our clients’ personalities, lifestyles, and even their daily routines. That’s how we design spaces that bring sophistication and ease to every inch of the spaces they call home.

Today, we’re flipping the tables and giving you an up-close and personal look at the talented people who make up our design team. Sit back, grab a drink, and let the introductions begin, interview style…

leila douglah designer bay area

 

Q: When was Douglah Designs founded, and how did you originally get into design?

I started my business 24 years ago, in 1997. When I was a little girl, my favorite subject in school was math and algebra. I was also fastidious when it came to homework — my notebooks had to be neat and organized, and I color-coded everything. When it came time to decide on college, it was an easy decision: I wanted to be an Architect! I graduated from the University of Technology in Baghdad with a Bachelor in Architecture. Soon after graduation, I immigrated to the United States, and my first job was as an assistant Kitchen & Bath Designer. I loved working directly with clients on improving their homes, and I have never looked back. 

Q: How would you describe your design style? 

While I truly appreciate all design styles, from traditional to contemporary, to mid-century modern, and everything in between, I would have to say that my personal style leans more towards a refined traditional, or what most design professionals are now calling transitional. I feel that traditional lines and colors are timeless, and it feels warm and cozy.  

Q: What is your dream project? 

Designing & building a home for myself – and I am so very grateful that I have been able to achieve this dream. I just finished building a home for myself from the ground up. I designed every last detail, from the overall architecture of the house to all the interior design details on the inside. It’s a true masterpiece! 

Q: Where do you go/what do you do for creative inspiration? 

Pre-COVID, I traveled a lot — from Paris to London and Venice, to Bali and South Africa, just to name a few of my travel destinations. I love seeing different regions of the world, exploring various styles of Architecture, and cultures — it truly inspires me. I am looking forward to being able to travel again as I am feeling the need for some new inspiration. 🙂 

Q: Favorite place in the Bay Area?

So many beautiful places to explore in the Bay Area, but if I had to pick one spot, it would be sitting in my backyard taking in the beauty of the surrounding hills. 

Q: If you could travel anywhere, it would be?

New Zealand. It is my next destination for sure. 

Q: Currently watching/reading? 

I just finished watching Marco Polo — great insight into the Mongolian Empire. Reading A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle. It’s only my 4th time reading it, but I learn so much every time.

Q: Quote you love to live by? 

Be Congruent, Be Authentic, Be Your True Self

linda cooper designer douglah design lafayette

Q: How long have you been at Douglah Designs and how did you get into Design?

I started 6 years ago. Growing up, my mom was constantly updating our home as new trends hit and I was always her assistant; I loved it! 15 years ago, I worked for Home Depot and that was when I began learning the construction side, 2020 design software, and how to accurately specify materials to complete a project. Learning the construction details only made me more excited about designing.

Q: What is your dream project? 

I am currently working on it now. My amazing kids are grown and moving on with their lives, and I recently purchased a home in the foothills that I am remodeling to reflect my own style. It’s such a different experience designing for myself at this time in my life. There is so much I want to incorporate and I can see how helping my clients have had an impact on the materials I select now versus what I would have selected without their influence.

Q: Where do you go/what do you do for creative inspiration? 

I talk to my clients as they are always the main inspiration when designing spaces for them. From there, I collaborate with my team and search for ideas on sites like Houzz and Pinterest.  

Q: Currently watching/reading?

I’m currently re-watching the Netflix show Peaky Blinders; I love the soundtrack.

Q: Quote you love to live by?

Something I’ve always told my kids, “You learn from the challenging times in your life, not the easy times. Welcome those challenges and do your best to grow from them.”

rachel weiss douglah design oakland

Q: How long have you been at Douglah Designs and how did you get into Design?

 I’ve been part of the team for 4 years. As a kid I loved building/creating homes with Lincoln Logs and playing the video game SIMs — although I didn’t care much for actually “playing the game,” I cared more about designing the homes for my characters. I have also always had an eye for color and high-end materials. I always catch myself wanting the newer and nicer things in life, and when I realized you could constantly re-design a home, I fell in love with the idea of becoming an interior designer.

Q: How would you describe your design style?

I have a love for all design styles. I would have to say my personal design style is a combination of transitional and modern/contemporary. I prefer clean lines, functional and bright spaces with a slight pinch of color. Blue is my favorite shade of color to work with, and I always try to bring in a hue of blue in all my projects whenever I can. In my own way, having a touch of blue in the projects I work on, whether it is a cabinet, tile, or even the paint color, it is my way of leaving my mark. 

Q: Favorite place in the Bay Area?

 I am a huge Oakland Athletics fan, so the Oakland Coliseum is one of my favorite places in the Bay Area. I also love the restaurant Jupiter, in Berkeley. It has the cutest back patio and of course, great food and drinks.

Q: If you could travel anywhere, it would be?

Europe and Australia! Both for the architecture, culture, and food. 

Q: Currently watching/reading?

Currently watching Firefly Lane on Netflix. I am also starting to study for my NKBA certifications.

lillian nuno designer douglah design bay area

Q: How long have you been at Douglah Designs and how did you get into Design?

I joined the Douglah team 3 years ago because I craved something that was fluid and allowed me to be creative. Growing up I had dolls but never actually played with them, I used them as a reference to build houses for them using Legos, Lincoln Logs, and anything else I could get my hands on. As I got older I would build forts both inside and outside using whatever materials were around me. Anything from blankets and pillows to branches and cardboard.

How would you describe your design style? 

Clean, fresh, and homey. Traditional craftsman-style homes are my favorite because they are so welcoming and cozy. I’m a sucker for the stained woodwork and built-ins that flank the wood-burning fireplaces and think it’s a shame that they are being phased out. On the flip side, I also love modern buildings because they aren’t afraid to push the envelope and create these amazing spaces with unique elements that most people couldn’t fathom on their own.

What is your dream project? 

There are too many different types of projects I would love to work on. I can’t pick just one!

Favorite place in the Bay Area?

I love going to Marin Headlands and hiking along the coast. It’s very relaxing when you have the trail to yourself.

If you could travel anywhere, it would be?

 I would love to visit Europe like most people. I would love to see the architecture that I spent years studying in school and to be immersed in the different cultures. A more specific country I would love to visit is Switzerland because the landscape looks gorgeous and peaceful.

jessica flemming designer douglah design oakland

Q: How long have you been at Douglah Designs and how did you get into Design?

I’ve been a designer at Douglah Designs for 1.5 years. I grew up with a grandmother and mother who had a knack for interior design. My grandmother’s home always looked like a design showroom or cover of Architectural Digest with beautiful furniture, fabrics and accessories to the nines. My mother always buzzed around our home cleaning everything to perfection and made a huge impression on me to make the home beautiful. When I started a degree in Psychology and then discovered that there was a major in Interior Design, I jumped ship and never looked back! I love this profession in every way. I wouldn’t choose any other career!

Q: What is your dream project?

I would love to design a home from top to bottom in the tropics somewhere, including the architecture, the exterior and interior surfaces, and all the furnishings. The home would be on a bluff and have the turquoise water, palm trees, and lush green mountains as its view. The project would incorporate the style I described above – comfortable contemporary with bright fun pops of color. There would be flowy, luxurious sheer drapery blowing in the breeze at the windows and doors. I tend to have extravagant taste, so of course, my dream project would have a limitless budget!

Q: If you could travel anywhere, it would be?

Jamaica.  

Q: Quote you love to live by?

The best is yet to come.

rachel corbett designer douglah design

Q: How long have you been at Douglah Designs and how did you get into Design?

I started at Douglah Designs 7 months ago. I was in college for about a year when I realized that the degree I was pursuing wasn’t a match for me. My mom suggested that I talk to one of her friends about her career and what she did for a living. She was an interior designer. I immediately fell in love with the idea that I could have a career where I could use my talent and love for art and design. Within the next couple of days I put in an application to transfer to a University that offered a Bachelors in Interior Design.

What is your dream project?

My dream project would be designing my own home one day. I would like to build it using my personal design style. 

Where do you go/what do you do for creative inspiration?

Before COVID, I used to go to art museums as often as I could. I loved learning about artists of all different styles and periods. I also love to paint. It is typically what I am doing whenever I have some free time.  

If you could travel anywhere, it would be

I would love to travel to Amsterdam. I love the architecture, culture, and I would love to visit all the museums, especially the Rembrandt House Museum – he is one of my favorite artists.  

Quote you love to live by?

“The best thing to hold onto in life is each other.” – Audrey Hepburn

tony ibarra project manager douglah design

Q: How long have you been at Douglah Designs, and how did you get into design?

I’ve been part of the team for 6 months. I think it was always in my blood. Growing up, I would constantly rearrange my bedroom furniture, meticulously organize my belongings, pick out my own coordinated bedding, select my own wardrobe, get excited about dinner parties, etc. Once I realized that I was more of an “art” kid, not so much a “math” kid, I needed an outlet. I have a vivid memory of a television commercial for art school/training that involved the requirement of drawing a cartoon pirate or a sporty cartoon turtle — that was my ticket! Turns out art school pretty much lets anyone enroll, so I signed myself up. The inner child said “Interior Architecture and Design,” duh!  I listened and got my degree. Got an internship in my first quarter in art school — been hooked ever since.  

Q: How would you describe your design style? 

Contemporary with distinct nods to glam, mid-century, California casual, and the odd.  

Q: What is your dream project?  

Restoration or preservation of anything by Cliff May – preferably his early Hacienda/Rancho phase.

Q: Where do you go/what do you do for creative inspiration?  

Travel. Period. Well, also I really enjoy hunting for vintage pieces or unique items that tell a story.  

Q: Favorite place in the Bay Area?

Recently I have been loving my old stomping grounds in Sonoma County.  I never thought I would want to go back home, but now I am learning to appreciate being from there.

Q: If you could travel anywhere, it would be? 

Back in time. Mid-1970s at the age of 19… basically That 70’s Show.

Q: Quote you love to live by?

“Well, that was a choice.”

And there you go!

We love working together to create timeless yet unforgettable spaces. If you’re ready to start your renovation, let’s talk!

Warmly,

Leila Douglah