David Spittles | Evening Standard
New houses in central London are few and far between - and new houses in a prized Georgian conservation area in Bloomsbury are rare indeed. Hence the appeal of 21 Brownlow Mews, a scheme of four modern homes tucked away in a classic cobbled street.
Originally, Brownlow Mews was lined with stables serving prestige town houses on Doughty Street but, as elsewhere in London, the buildings were turned into garages, workshops and offices. When a run-down plot came up for sale, niche developer Marldon spotted an opportunity to create a discreet terrace of modern houses. The homes are not visible from the mews itself; they sit behind a double-door entrance that leads to an enclosed courtyard. This deepens the sense of privacy in the retreat-like setting.
‘Being sandwiched between two rows of buildings, the biggest challenge was to get light in,’ says Simon Smith of SSMB Architects. This has been achieved by opening up the back of the houses, creating outside space on each of the three levels. They are sleek, three-bedroom homes ranging up to 1,800 sq ft, plus 600 sq ft of terracing.
Marldon specialises in heritage buildings, and its trademark is bespoke joinery. This feature has been given a contemporary twist at Brownlow Mews. Full-height doors, floors and cabinets are made from oak, all set against finishes such as Corian, slate and stainless steel.
Mod-cons include air-conditioning and dimmable lighting, while a home entertainment system with plasma television doubles as a security screen to check on arriving visitors.
28th March 2007