My Life In Mews: a top designer’s property insights

This attraction to pieces that are individual, quirky and packed with character is central to James’ design style. He is the founder of Thurstan Design (, an interior design studio with a mission to bring together furniture, objects and buildings in ways that reflect their particular histories. His business hero is Axel Vorvoodt, who started out as an antique dealer and went on to become a hugely influential interior designer.

Building the “Thurston aesthetic”

James developed the “Thurston aesthetic” over many years working in LA, New York, Hong Kong and Barcelona. During his time working as Design Director at Soho House, he also travelled to Istanbul, Miami, Barcelona and London, developing a style that works as well for social, cultural and commercial settings as it does for private homes.

When asked to name his greatest work achievement, James mentions the Musket Room in New York, which won the ‘Best Designed Restaurant in America’ award and helped the owner achieve a Michelin star in record time. However, he admits his favourite design project was Soho House in Istanbul, a 180,000 square foot, partly-listed traditional building which inspired him to explore the different cultures within the city. He has just finished designing the exclusive Le Comptoir restaurant in Mayfair, a place where he says he has already enjoyed “many incredible meals.”

Living and working in a mews

James is a dedicated mews-dweller, living in a home that combines both living space and office premises. He admits “The idea of having our own front door and staircase” initially attracted him to owning a mews and says he loves being “slightly set back for security and reducing noise.” James also enjoys having a separate office and meeting room, set on different levels within the house. He points out that his mews property is “a lovely place to bring clients back to … a lot more intimate and much nicer than going to a corporate surrounding.”

Loving the London lifestyle

His decision to live and work in a mews has benefited both his personal life and his business. James says the location provides “a good proximity to amenities”, including easy access to the independent shops, cafes and restaurants along North Kensington’s Golbourne Road and the open spaces of Holland Park.

James also praises the capital for its “thriving corporate world … with an exciting, ever-changing mix of food and culture.” He explains that London’s great transport links have been essential to the success of his business, as he can travel to another major international city in just five hours.

James is one of many successful entrepreneurs who have chosen to live in a mews property. Read the full article to learn more about James’ lifestyle and don’t miss his simple but effective mews interior design tips.