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FIRST LOOK

Vivid colour accents Cottrell & Vermeulen’s Camberwell Grove mews house

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The new 98m² two-storey home in south London replaces a 1970s garage in a historic conservation area

Sitting between two residential properties, the mews house is designed to blend in with those in the Camberwell Grove Conservation Area. While the stock brick and stained timber on the façade complement the Georgian houses, vivid colour accents elements like external polycarbonate soffits, and is picked up again in internal surfaces and exposed steelwork.

A garage port remains open at ground level, sitting next to a porch, with each defined by the contrasting colours of the soffit above. Inside, a red clay quarry-tile floor connects through to the main living space: an open-plan kitchen and dining area. Full-height glazed doors open out on to a garden, above which the upper floorplate projects, again exposing a brightly coloured soffit.

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Dsf9355

Source: Anthony Coleman

A birch-faced plywood staircase leads up to three bedrooms, a study and bathroom on the first floor, and then continues up to the green roof. 

Small ground-floor windows ensure privacy, while first-floor windows are larger but scaled or set back behind balconies to minimise overlooking of neighbouring properties. Meanwhile clerestory windows draw light into the stairwell as well as first-floor rooms. 

The mews house backs on to a Georgian house, for which Cottrell & Vermeulen has also refurbished the façade and front garden. 

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Dsc5686

Architect’s view

Stories Mews is sandwiched between two remarkable Georgian streets within the Camberwell Grove Conservation Area: Grove Lane and Camberwell Grove. The mews is a hotchpotch of former light industrial and stable-type buildings that would have originally served the grand terraces backing on to it. It also contains more contemporary domestic projects that have recently begun to spring up.

Our client, who owns one of the original terraces facing on to Grove Lane, approached us to develop proposals for turning the portion facing the mews into a family home. The site was occupied by a double garage from the 1970s, with one neighbour having already developed their site into a home in 2007 in a traditional stable-type form, and the other being a recently completed contemporary Passivhaus standard home. Our approach was to respect the two-storey building line established by the neighbours and create a simple and robust insertion in the gap between the two houses.

At only 6 metres wide, we developed the plan to include an integrated car park space: a precious commodity on a narrow mews. The main space on the ground floor is an open-plan kitchen/living/dining area that opens on to a brick-paved garden area to the rear. The restriction of the building height line led us to create minimal roof and floor build make-ups in order to maximise ceiling heights. The first-floor joists in the entrance hall and living space have been left exposed so that a height of 2.7 metres was achieved in these spaces that would have otherwise been set lower.

To keep the staircase compact, tapered treads have been used at the top and bottom. The walls, risers and goings of the stair have been finished in birch-faced plywood to offset the natural quarry tiles of the entrance hall and kitchen. At first-floor level, Southwark’s planning team was concerned when we initially proposed large windows to the rear, due to overlooking. We turned this issue into a positive by introducing two covered balconies and setting the line at an angle so that there was no direct overlooking from the bedrooms and providing some additional external area.

While we chose the stock brick as the overriding material externally, this has been used with panels of black-stained ‘waney-edge’ timber larch cladding. Some much-needed colour has been introduced with the yellow front door, pink-rendered soffits, an illuminated yellow polycarbonate soffit panel at the entrance and brightly painted exposed steelwork internally.

Paul Taylor, associate, Cottrell & Vermeulen Architecture

0398 3d sketch view site 1

0398 3d sketch view site 1

Project data

Site Start November 2017
Completion 
August 2018
Gross Internal Floor Area 
98m²
Contract type 
JCT Intermediate Building Contract with CDP 2016
Construction cost Undisclosed
Architect 
Cottrell & Vermeulen Architecture
Client Private
Structural engineer Engineers HRW
M&E engineer OR Consulting
Main contractor Onyx Investment Ltd
Building control Approved Inspector Services
Party wall surveyor Set Square Surveyors 
CDMC The Quoin Consultancy

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