Douglas studied architecture at Cambridge university, tutored by Eric Parry and Colin St John Wilson. A year spent working in New York was a catalyst towards becoming an interior designer. The patrician apartments of the upper east side, when moonlighting for interior designers as a perspective artist had infinitely more appeal than the daily grind of door schedules and drainage plans in a Manhattan office.

He returned to Cambridge, and completed the Diploma in architecture in 1988, just as the world economy imploded. He worked as perspective artist, and architectural assistant where his skills as a draftsman remained in demand in the pre CAD rendering days. He spent 3 formative years working at Tessa Kennedy, absorbing the trade, observing the clients, and discovering the obsessive detailing that goes into work on this level.