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New takes on old mews houses

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Prince’s Gate Mews SW7


‘We often do what we call nuking,’ explains David Spence of Spence Harris Hogan; ‘we gut the whole place.’ The £198,000 refurbishment of this two- storey mews in Knightsbridge included filling in ‘a grimy lightwell’ to increase the total floor area to 165m2, and took six months to complete. The staircase has been replaced with a suspended stair which hovers some 50mm above the black and white Spanish limestone floor and has ‘just enough spring in it to really enjoy’. The staircase is top-lit by a rooflight, and enclosed at first-floor level by a low, painted mdf curved wall. ‘Once we had persuaded the client to go down to bed rather than up we were away,’ says Spence. With bedrooms tucked away on the ground floor, the first floor - which enjoys a roof terrace and the best views - has been given over to a kitchen and large dining/living area. The open-plan space serves as a showcase for the client’s Philippe Starck furniture, and paintings including an original piece by Damien Hirst, while a porthole on the hallway showcases the client’s car - ‘it means the client can peer into the garage on his way to bed,’ Graham Harris explains. ‘He loves his car.’


Queen’s Gate Place, SW10


‘Look, I’m not a real Modernist, but I like it half-way,’ was how the client for Queen’s Gate Place described his architectural taste. shh spent six months and £170,000 on gutting the house, and turning it into a 226m2 three-bedroom home. Once again, garage and bedrooms are on the ground floor leaving the first floor free for a kitchen and open-plan living/dining area. An existing planning permission for a mansard roof has been exploited to create an additional floor containing a bathroom and master bedroom, complete with walk-in wardrobe hidden behind a sliding mirror. An internal window in the master bedroom, described by Spence as a ‘Romeo and Juliet window’, overlooks the double-height living area. Despite the boldness of this double-height space, the room has some surprisingly homely features - a dado, a bespoke fireplace, and tongue-and-groove doors. Spence says the cosy touches are deliberate: ‘We wanted to keep a cottagey style.’

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