I don’t know about you, but the thing I want most from a home (after space), is light. Oodles of light. And it can often be in short supply in small city homes. So I’m always fascinated by the ingenious solutions that talented designers find, to flood small spaces with this most desired of assets. And London homes don’t come much smaller than the mews house. This one which is a in the heart of desirable Belsize Park, has been redesigned as a bright family home by local architects XUL Architecture.
Take a Look
The architects were presented with a challenging project to renovate a handsome 19th-century former stable and coach-house. It had previously been converted into a two-storey house and a studio apartment, with a separate entrance on the top floor. So not really that small as mews houses go, but a challenge nonetheless to fill the space with light.
Sebastian Sandler, director of XUL Architecture explained “the two dwellings needed to be combined into one coherent family home but we found early on that the window heights and the floor heights were inconsistent throughout creating complex layers and unusable spaces.”
The original plans included a ground floor space with limited natural light, drawn in via small high-level windows and skylights along the rear of the property. This was reconfigured to create a new courtyard and a walk-on strip of glass along the back wall on the first-floor terrace to bring light down into the living area.
The staircase was conceived as a light shaft allowing natural light to pour from its top skylight into previously dark corners and spaces across all floors. Additionally, a glass floor above the entrance door allows natural light from the first-floor bay window to bring light to the hall below. This is a signature of XUL Architecture – considering light from all sides and angles.
Then, the interior design followed the architecture. Warm tones of dark wood were added, as well as black paint. Injections of colour and pattern were injected also in the decoration to add contemporary design into a 19th-century mews house.