Interview with Nicolas Roux of Rive Gauche, a London-based interior design company

Rive Gauche is a luxury interior design company for discerning clientele. Offering an end-to-end service, Rive Gauche has worked on projects ranging from crafted interiors for private residences to boutique hotels around the world. We sat with with founder Nicolas Roux to find out more. 

What led you to set up Rive Gauche?

I’ve been working in the interior design industry for the last 17 years, and I noticed projects usually require a number of separate consultants, which is difficult for the client to manage. I felt high net worth individuals (HNWI) needed a single point of contact to advise them, design, and deliver their project. I set up Rive Gauche to provide this, offering an outstanding design and project management service.

Apart from interior design, what other services do you offer?

As well as in-house designers, we have architects and a dedicated project management department. This enables us to provide an end-to-end service; we can review a property’s potential for extension and create a detailed cost plan and programme considering the market value and client intention. Whether we’re providing a 100% interior design with technical drawings, designing and procuring furniture, or locating suitable contractors for construction, we can handle every stage—even down to dressing the property for the client.

How do you work with clients to achieve their ideal outcome?

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It’s important to manage private clients’ expectations; the initial stage of understanding client aspiration is key, enabling us to create tangible and realistic outcomes. Each project is a personal, collaborative journey—we spend time connecting with the client, enriching our methodology and helping us to shape a personal design narrative that truly reflects their vision. There are four key steps before we actually start work.

  1. Preliminary Design: we define the look and feel of the interior, starting with a conversation about the client’s history, places they’ve enjoyed visiting, hotels they’ve liked, and so on. We gain an understanding of our client’s lifestyle to ensure the space is optimised and functional—for example, if they have permanent live-in staff.
  2. Concept Design: we create a unique design narrative considering the client’s ambitions, the property, the environment and our own sensibility. We consider volume as well as shape and form, researching materials and preparing detailed presentations to explain our thought process to the client via materials, sketches and images.
  3. Design Closure:  all design decisions come together into one set of documents, with high-resolution images prepared for key rooms to ensure the client fully understands the design. Budgets and programmes are continually updated throughout.
  4. Detailed Design: we translate the approved design into a set of technical information, including drawings, schedule and specs, which are coordinated with specialists for tender purposes.

We’ve noticed a real trend of clients taking out finance to improve and expand their homes, instead of moving to a larger property, in an effort to avoid stamp duty. Where would you start with this process, and what are the pitfalls?

Renovating or extending your home is a fantastic way to invest your money safely, if it’s done properly—and it’s also a process you can enjoy the rewards of immediately. But before starting, it’s important to ensure that the money you invest will add value to your property. When you invest £500,000 in renovations, your property’s value should increase by £600,000. Not all improvements will add value, and depending on your property and the location, you may not actually be able to add any value.

In terms of pitfalls, living in a house and renovating it can quickly turn into a nightmare if you don’t have the right team and advice in place. The planning stage is essential to reduce construction time to a minimum. All statutory approvals should have been received/applied for and all investigations should have been carried out. A set of detailed drawings and specs should have been produced, a contractor appointed, and long-lead materials ought to have been ordered.

How do you ensure clients get exactly what they want?

Having delivered over 65 projects in 13 different countries, we’ve learnt to anticipate client needs which enables us to make sure nothing is left to chance. We need to understand our client and anticipate their requirements for the next 5/10 years, ensuring their home will fit their needs both now and in the future.

What are your plans for Rive Gauche over the next five years?

I’d like Rive Gauche to be recognised as a leading interior designer for private residence and luxury hotels. Rive Gauche will become the partner of choice for HNWI looking to invest, develop, or renovate property in the UK and South of France. As we continue to grow, Rive Gauche will extend our presence, first in France and then further afield internationally.

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