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Meet Annie Santulli

Today we’d like to introduce you to Annie Santulli.

Annie, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
When I was a young fashion model, traveling all over the world, I met an extraordinary London-based interior designer. She introduced me to the craft and gave me a glimpse into the world of finishings and accessories. That sparked my curiosity and future obsession. I was like a kid in a candy shop and there was no turning back.

I started working in the homes of friends and family. Then I began staging high-end luxury homes for Realtors, which allowed me to forge working relationships with industry professionals. But there were challenges. As I developed my network of outstanding and reliable local vendors, I also encountered a few undependable ones. That taught me how to weed out the bad vendors while making personal connections with others that would continue for many years.

As my client base grew, so did my need for a professional support staff. But I didn’t want to spread myself too thin. After all, what attracted me to interior design was the hands-on creative process and collaboration with clients. The most fulfilling part of my job is the interaction that allows me to meet so many different people from different backgrounds, each with their own story. Interior design is both a personal and invasive process. I practically live in my clients’ homes at certain stages of each project. So the more comfortable I make my clients feel, the more I really get to know their stories, the more personal the space will be. I made a pivotal decision to remain a smaller firm. Now, more than 20 years later, I’m still a boutique firm, but my client list is a little more exclusive.

Has it been a smooth road?
When people ask me about struggles along the way, I have a hard time answering. I have always considered myself lucky in both life and business. I am fully aware that others have had greater obstacles, fewer opportunities, and steeper hurdles. I’m grateful for the success I have been extremely fortunate to achieve.

I would say that one of the greatest challenges has been dealing with the growing pains. As my business and client list expanded, it required a lot of effort to manage all the moving parts. That began to consume most of my time, even with a helpful staff and the support of excellent vendors. Of course, I know this sounds like “Rich People’s Problems”. But I realized I didn’t go into interior design to launch a career as a project manager. I craved the interaction with clients, to hear their stories, and I noticed the results had suffered too. My work has always been about more than creating great spaces. It has also been about revealing my clients’ personalities, and some of those subtleties had gotten lost.

Today, a priority for me is to accept only as many clients as I can personally handle so that when the phone rings, they know I will be there to answer it myself. I make myself available to get to know them on a deeper level. That kind of intimate relationship is very special and rare, and I really value it. We go shopping together, and I get to know not just their living space but their minds and hearts. I create spaces filled with pieces that speak specifically to each client and their style, personality, and vision. Sometimes those pieces are as large as a uniquely shaped lighting fixture, or as small as a tactile throw pillow to occupy fidgety hands.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Annie Santulli Designs – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of and what sets you apart from others.
I’ve been an interior decorator for more than two decades, and I have a boutique business serving exclusive clients. I established myself as a luxury designer for high-end homes and luxury yachts. Most of the residences I design are in the Palm Beach area, but I’ve worked in homes in the Hamptons, Cape Cod and even The Bahamas. I don’t associate with one signature look. My clients value my knowledge and skill in multiple styles, and the attention to detail I bring to each project. But they also gravitate toward me because I rely on experienced intuition to guide me to create designs that beautifully resonate. Each design plan tells a unique story because each client has their own unique story. Whether it’s transitional, traditional, eclectic or contemporary ─ a sprawling luxury home, high-rise penthouse, or 150-foot yacht ─ I want it to express the true essence of the lifestyle and personality my client.

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
I love being in South Florida with its unusual combination of lush bold foliage and cool oceanfront tones. Homes in South Florida tend to incorporate the surrounding atmosphere into the indoor space by using oversized windows and glass doors, so the location becomes an integral part of my design plan.

The Palm Beaches attract people from all over the world with myriad styles and budgets. I’ve had the opportunity to work with many wonderful people, not only from all over the United States but from all across the globe. As a designer, I love to produce unique fresh work, and having a deep and diverse client pool allows me to continue to stretch my creative muscle.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Robert Brantley Photography, Holger Obenaus Photography

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