Rees+Lee Architects designed and managed the complete refurbishment of this tired mews property in the Queens gate conservation area of South Kensington, London. The clients brief was to produce an open, bright and warm environment that would make use of every available inch of space. Also key to the brief was to modernise the house whilst retaining key aspects of the existing mews to add character and atmosphere.
The majority of the existing structure was in a bad condition and defective, the most logical approach was to completely stripped back the property by removing the entire first floor, roof, staircase, half of the front facade (including the brickwork and windows) plus all the internal fixtures & fittings, plumbing, electrics and finishes. The subtle but extensive changes planned for the front facade required both planning and conservation consent this included rebuilding the front facade with an additional window and Juliet balcony to first floor level, introducing a larger window on the ground floor and updating the large doors on the ground floor. These strategic moves helped to maximise daylight into the building while retaining it’s character. Internally the addition of new steelwork within the new first floor allowed us to completely open up the ground floor to create one open planned space and provide the maximum possible ceiling height. The layout of the ground floor remains open with distinct areas to allow a smooth flow around the house. Towards the back of the room is the kitchen with a protruding island, the client was keen to make this this the heart of the house where most social activity takes place and is the showpiece. The glossy white surfaces help to reflect light around the room to really enhance the natural daylight deep into the plan. The dining space sits in front of the garage doors so that when opened it allows a connection to the outside whilst the lounge area sits on the opposite side which is more secluded and intimate.
Tucked into the corner is the bespoke oak staircase designed by Rees+Lee which winds around the corner up to the first floor, the open treads allow southern daylight (from the new roof lights) to filter down into both the ground floor and first floor while also being as un-intrusive as possible within the layout. The roof was rebuilt with the existing timber structure exposed, additional roof lights were added over the stairwell and the vaulted ceilings were provided to give height and high level storage. Overall the project was finished to the highest standard possible within the clients budget and added significant value to the property. Rees+Lee have worked with the clients brief through the insertion of strategically placed windows and roof lights, plus the design of the layout has provided a house that is continually flooded with daylight. The addition of thermal insulation to the roof, walls, floors and windows, as well as a newly designed heating system has given the property a year round warmth and space has been maximised providing additional usable floor area and storage. Through simple decisions we have managed to retain and enhance the existing character of this property throughout this project, with additional areas of exposed structure internally also contrast with the modern finish to provide a beautiful restoration to this charming mews property.