Ann Getty: from jetsetter to renowned decorator

Susana Ramudo

Her exquisite taste, her style and her unstoppable energy led her to transform her passion for décor and fashion into a successful professional adventure: Ann Getty & Associates, and Ann Getty House Collection. She started by decorating her own homes and those of her friends with her excellent eye. Read more to find out what happened next.

In Ann Getty: Interior Style (Rizzoli), Diane Dorrans illustrates—through the excellent photography of Lisa Romerein—the work of the American billionaire and her particular style of interior decor. It may seem puzzling, but this is the first retrospective work of the luxurious interiors created by the exquisite Ann Getty.

ann getty, exclusive interior design, getty family
Ann Getty.

The Getty residence in San Francisco is a treasure chest of art pieces that reflect the personality of the lithe redhead. Known for her expensive taste, the designer travels frequently to Paris and other European cities, via private plane, to buy unique decorative objects and to commission her couture gowns. Fashion designers like Valentino, Yves Saint Laurent, Ungaro and Balmain are among her favorites. Oscar de la Renta designed dresses for Getty during his tenure at Balmain, and still maintains her friendship.

Although she still travels in the family´s private jet, “Jetty,” Ann Getty is no longer interested in parties or social events. She is totally dedicated to her customers, her team and her collaborators, among them Maria Quiros, who has been working with her for nearly 20 years. These days she prefers to spend her spare time in the company of her four sons, her grandchildren, in her garden and with her dogs, Yankee and Dandee.

In 1995, and to the astonishment of the residents of San Francisco, she founded Ann Getty & Associates, an interior design firm. However, in private practice Getty had succeeded in formulating a unique design philosophy that is reflected in the residence she shares with her children and husband Gordon, a musical composer and fourth child of oil tycoon Paul Getty. Before launching the Ann Getty House Collection, she designed the homes of a select group of friends who became customers.

ann getty, exclusive interior design, getty family

All her projects reflect her particular style, combining pieces from Italy, France, England, China, Vietnam, and India… from different periods and styles. The walls of her opulent San Francisco home are covered in Chinese gauze that evokes old Venetian palaces. A display of works by Matisse, Renoir, and Degas is mixed with French antiques and 18th century Chinoiserie. Though not shared by many decorators, her style has earned the admiration of design experts and critics in the field.

In 2003, she opened a studio in San Francisco to showcase her work and objects from her travels. Objects that eventually end up in the homes of her affluent clients. The billionaire socialite drives herself every day to and from the office. It is her reality check, a difficult task considering that her speed dial includes Princess Margaret of England, Barak Obama, Bill Clinton, the Kings of Spain, Plácido Domingo, Luciano Pavarotti, and much of the European aristocracy, all of whom have been her house guests. As much as she wants to escape from the world of society, her numerous commitments with museums and charity organizations prevent it.

Getty supervises every detail of her celebrated dinner parties at home. She decorates the tablescapes to suit the occasion, often with table service from the 1750s and Tiffany’s silver. Eight is the perfect number of guests for Getty, and they should be from different fields to keep the conversations animated and entertaining.  ■

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