Ann Gottlieb knew from a very early age  she wanted to become a designer. By the age of two, she was sketching her own outfits, which her mother later stitched. When—despite a scholarship from the Savannah College of Art and Design—she found herself at Virginia Tech studying political science, a chance encounter with another student convinced her to switch to interior design. It was a smart move, she recalls. “I took classes before applying to the school of interior design, and had the time of my life with friends I have to this day.”

After a decade working for design firms and developing retail spaces, Gottlieb founded her own firm in 2020. Her expansive portfolio includes “boutique hotels and historical restorations, with project locations on almost every continent,” she says. “Over time, I learned how to separate my personal style from what is best for the client, with each project having its own point of view.”

Gottlieb takes much of her inspiration from her clients, striving to achieve unique solutions tailored to their lifestyles. “My goal is to have a portfolio of projects that varies in style, inspiration and diversity,” notes the designer, who admires style icon Iris Apfel for conceiving “relevant products and staying true to her authentic self for 102 years.”

As a LEED-accredited professional since August 2004, Gottlieb avers, “sustainability has always been embedded into my thinking and design process.”

She takes special pride in a project recently published in The Wall Street Journal. “It felt amazing,” she enthuses. “It was an achievement that I know my grandmothers would have loved to see.”