In Conversation with the Founder, Julie Gauthier

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Julie Gauthier
Founder & Director, Art de Vivre

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With over 20 years experience in luxury property rentals, Julie founded Art de Vivre as the ultimate in bespoke designer villa and chalet rental consultation for her discerning clients looking for the most beautiful properties to rent in the world.

Tell me about your early life…

From an early age in rural Buckinghamshire, I was surrounded by art and travel, aspiring to be an architect like my award winning father. My mother was an artist and music teacher, and I had two older brothers. We lived in a modernist house built by my father in a fruit orchard with floor to ceiling windows, an open plan kitchen and Scandinavian furniture. We spent summer weekends in the Chilterns or at our seaside home in Pembrokeshire and in the winter visiting Oxford and London galleries or attending concerts.



Where did your love of Travel and Art & Design come from?

Due to my parents' passion for creativity, art & design has always been around me. Holidays were always a big adventure either at our coastal home in Pembrokeshire, also built by my father, or travelling to Florence, Venice and Paris by train. I’ve always loved history and fashion and also had a natural gift for languages so after a three week trip to the Far East at the age of 17, I was going to study Japanese at Cambridge University. Instead I went on to study German and French at University of London, immersing myself in german life for five months. On graduating after a short spell as a ski guide in the Alps, I met my husband and worked around the world in Luxembourg, Hong Kong, South Africa, Cyprus and Mauritius. My love for art & design as well as worldwide travel has been dominant throughout my life.

 

How did you come up with the concept of Art de Vivre?

For the past 20 years, through Villas de Maitre Ltd, we have been matching our clients with exclusive homes in the Indian Ocean, primarily Mauritius and Seychelles. Some of our VIP agents were impressed with our new designer villas and service, therefore asked for more elsewhere. This was the catalyst to create a designer collection using our contacts, expertise and love of art and design. We are not a listings site but aim to highlight, inspire and show off the best architecture and interior design. The properties are mostly whisper properties aka off market. Discretion is key to our owners and our discerning clients.
 

Tell us more about the Seasonal Collections…

We are so excited to launch Seasonal Collections where we take inspiration from a seasonal fashion collection, to bring a curated group of beautiful properties based around a visual, narrative or conceptual theme. We will be launching a new set of collections for Autumn/Winter and Spring/Summer every year. These collections are intended to inspire our clients and keep Art de Vivre fresh and alive.
 

What is key to Art de Vivre’s success?

- Our passion, experience and knowledge of designer villas & chalets for rental

- Our bespoke consultancy approach to finding the perfect property for our clients' needs

- Our unique portfolio of architect-designed properties for rental

- The premium level of the villas and chalets with the outstanding experiences they provide

- Our close relationship with the owners

- Our network of loyal clients, agents and partners

 

After operating for over 20 years, what has been the secret of your success so far?

We are proud of our company’s journey with the evolution of the internet as our first villa rental company was one of the first pioneers of internet marketing. We have also always seeked out high-end properties that are fresh and interesting to us, helping us to adapt to our changing aspirations and markets. We realised the importance early on of word of mouth and social media for a niche company which let us reach an audience that is as enthusiastic as we are about our outstanding properties. We have also been fortunate to be in the right place at the right time with loyal clients, stunning properties and excellent partners.

 

What are your core values?

- Honesty, integrity and respect

- Creativity, flexibility and proactivity

- Pleasure of providing an excellent service

- Long term relationship building with clients, agents and owners

 

What are you up to outside your work?

I am lucky to have four beautiful children (one girl and three boys) which have always kept me busy outside working and travelling. Weekends are spent out in the fresh air of the Chiltern Hills where possible and winters visiting museums and galleries, rekindling my baking skills or reading by the log fire. My parents, still alive in their mid 80s, continue to give me enormous encouragement.

 

Where do you see Art de Vivre going in the Future?

Art de Vivre has exciting plans for the future; we have launched a few seasonal property collections, there are some beautiful new properties in the pipeline, as well as some original creative content for our blog. Each of the properties for rental has a unique art & design edge to it which we find not celebrated enough in the industry and we really want to change that. We want to feed the curiosity of our art & design clients, so they can gain access to the inspiration behind the buildings, the interior design and the owners’ art collections. We are very excited by our journey so far, who knows where it will take us next...