Regan Billingsley Interiors (RBI) was built upon the belief that that our homes should be a true reflection of the way we live, and that beauty need not be sacrificed for practicality.
RBI creates homes that combine the tailored classicism of the east coast with the laid-back lifestyle of California—every space is layered, lived-in and full of life.
With locations in Washington, DC and Connecticut, RBI is currently working on projects across the country, including: Maryland, New York, Los Angeles, Florida, and Nantucket.
The firm’s work has been featured in publications such as The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, DC Modern Luxury, and Apartment Therapy.
We had a chance to sit down with Regan to chat about her stunning work.
1. How would you describe your signature style, why clients most often choose Regan Billingsley?
Unlike other designers, we don’t have a specific aesthetic that we adhere to for every project. We make it our job to get to know our clients, who they are and how they live. We spend time with them, their kids, their pets, so we understand not only their style preferences, but also their lifestyle. And our most important design principle is that clients feel a sense of home when they walk through their front door.
Life is busy and throws all sorts of things your way. The comfort of home allows you to wind down after a long day, spend time with family, and wake up ready to tackle it all again. We don’t try to match the house next door, or a catalog, we embrace the differences between all of us by creating designs that speak uniquely to each of our clients and offer them a sense of comfort. This is why our motto is, “Real Life, Beautifully Designed”
2. Your clients are from all over the country. What distinguishes east coast from west coast design projects?
I grew up on the east coast, but started my career on the west coast, so all of our projects have underlying fundamentals from both coasts. The foundation of our designs is always rooted in the traditional and timeless aesthetic of the east coast such as straight lines, symmetry, proportion, and tailored details. Layered onto that foundation are principles influenced by the west coast such as natural materials, air, space, light, and comfort. You’ll hear me say our designs are, “a fresh twist on classic design”, because we try to give our clients the best of both worlds.
3. We love how you’ve included people in your portfolio! What are the most important elements that go into making a home look lived-in?
Thank you! Our projects are all about the people and pets that live in them! The best way to make a home look, and feel, lived-in is to design it around the people who live in it. Everything we select for our projects, from fabric to furniture to accessories, is chosen based on how our clients live.
The final design phase for every project is styling, which is essential to making a home feel personal. If you’ve ever been in a staged home, you might remember it feeling like a hotel. They are anonymous. We style with our client’s existing art and accessories, completing the design with found objects that are both functional and match our client’s personalities. After that, it’s up to our clients to do all the living. We love going back to projects months later to see how they’re enjoying their homes.
4. What’s your favorite phase of a project?
At the beginning of every project, I always warn clients there will be peaks and lulls. The development phase is all about pushing creativity, finding, seeing, and touching beautiful pieces, envisioning how a project will come together. That’s really fun! Once all of the big decisions have been made there’s a waiting period for all of the pieces to come together to make the design a reality. The final reveal, and when we know we’ve met our client’s goals, is our favorite.
5. You’re known for your skillful use of color and pattern. How do you decide on a color palette?
We love color and pattern. Whether a design is traditional, modern, or somewhere in between, we always emphasize layering color and pattern.
We turn to our clients for direction on a color palette as we believe surrounding yourself with the colors you love is part of what makes a home comforting and personal. Colors can be very trendy, so we ask questions aimed at understanding which resonate with our clients on a deeper level. Once we have a grasp of what colors speak to them, those become the foundation for the design. We have a formula we use for color development that allows us to achieve a design that is personal to our clients, while also allowing us to control color and keep the design sophisticated. That said, we never shy away from an unexpected pop because sometimes rules are made to be broken!
6. What’s one of your favorite design elements or pieces of furniture in your own home?
People always tell me I must have the most beautiful home, but the truth is that my own home is always a work in progress. As a designer, I am constantly exposed to new products, designs, and trends from around the globe, which I love, but also makes me very selective about the pieces that come through my front door. Everything has a story or holds some significance. I have antiques that I have restored from my childhood home mixed with contemporary artwork by friends. I have things that I have collected over the years, including everything from shells and rocks to vintage textiles. I even designed a room around my piano and my grandfather’s old sheet music chest. It could take me six hours, six months, or longer to find a chair that feels right. The end result is that everywhere I turn in my home, there is a reason to say, “I love that piece, and here’s why.”
7. What are the most often requested features when a client is remodeling?
On a larger scale, most of our clients want flexibility in spaces, and they want every space of their home to be useful. They want a room that can be used as a den, a home office, or a piano room. They want their great room to be used for entertaining, playing board games, and family movie night. The challenge is to ensure the architecture, millwork, and furniture all meet our client’s need for rooms that can multitask, which is why we like to team up with architects and builders from the get-go as it ensures each element of the design supports the other.
8. How important is ageless design to your clients?
The intent of all of our designs is that they will age with our clients so that if they change jobs, or have another child, or even move homes, we know they can take our design with them because it will always speak to their lifestyle and personality.
An important aspect of ageless design is material selection. When it comes to finishes such as flooring or countertop selection, durability is always in the forefront of our client’s minds. We also think that durability in fabric selection is just as important. Slime projects, muddy paws, popcorn, and red wine spills are a reality in life and we want to ensure you can enjoy them all without worrying about how your furniture will hold up.
9. What is one of your favorite projects and why?
Our favorite projects are those where we’ve developed a relationship of trust with our clients. We love it when a client pushes us in an unexpected direction and trusts us to run with it. We had a client who was an artist and worked with wild, bright colors. When she asked for a hot pink sofa, my eyes started dancing. It was not a typical request, and while a lot of people might think a hot pink sofa would be the feature piece in a room, we instead designed the entire space as a fun, colorful explosion to embrace it. When you walk into the space now, hot pink seems like the logical color choice for the sofa as anything more subdued would be out of place and boring.
10. What mistake do you most often prevent your clients from making?
A lot of clients come to us because they’ve tried to tackle the design themselves and feel like “something is missing”. Almost always a space feels this way because the design is disjointed. The scale of the furniture is too large, the rug is too small, or every wall has a piece of furniture on it, giving the room a sense that it is being filled with stuff rather than coming together as a cohesive design. In this situation, I’m always grateful clients turn to us rather than continuing to make expensive mistakes in their home. We educate them on scale, proportion, balance, flow, and space. No matter how beautiful the furniture in your home is, the design will feel off if you haven’t addressed the basic principles.