Mews homes are increasingly being rebuilt behind their original facades to provide modern conveniences and open space, says Duncan Petrie, head of sales at Savills Mews
What makes London so special is its wealth of character and architecture – be that period or modern – at almost every turn. Although they mirror the architecture of surrounding period buildings, London mews have a character of their own. They’re quiet residential havens often tucked away behind busy roads, dwarfed by the properties around them. Mews houses are traditionally thought of as much smaller homes but some surprise with Tardis-like proportions. Particularly impressive are those that have been rebuilt or remodelled behind their original façade, allowing buyers and owners the advantage of living in a period property with all the mod-cons we have become accustomed to in the London property market.
We are seeing an increasing number of mews houses that have been rebuilt behind their original façade, allowing developers the opportunity to incorporate a wealth of new features that would previously be difficult to find, an example being the living wall in Elvaston Mews, and the use of glass walls and floors to increase the natural light.
This is a far greater challenge than buying a plot of land and building from the ground up as the design must fit with the original façade, so it is often done by developers who benefit from more experience and expertise in such matters, rather than by domestic end users. It is worth the effort, nonetheless, to open out and brighten the space with carte blanche than to remodel existing rooms.
We sold a property last year in Linden Mews in which the owners had built a glass box extension on the rear. Until you walked in, you would have no idea how bright it would be inside; it made an incredibly striking impression. On the market now is a stunning house on Coleherne Mews that has been rebuilt with an added basement and this uses glass to great advantage, creating light and spacious rooms. The old brick façade has been painted, presenting the house with a new contemporary style.
We’ve also known owners of mews houses who have taken the opportunity to create a far greener, more energy-efficient home, increasing the insulation to cut out noise from their neighbours, or creating features of their garages with glass walls. With all these opportunities, it leaves it fairly impossible to judge a mews house by its cover, but each is an intriguing discovery of endless proportions.
Duncan Petrie is head of sales at Savills Mews, 020 3430 6605; savills.co.uk