Basement building in Central London mews homes
The basement was once considered little more than a convenient place to store coal or a dumping ground for tools and cleaning equipment.
These seldom-visited underground spaces were often damp-smelling, dark and dirty, but nowadays the word ‘basement’ conjures up a very different image for London property owners.
Thanks to some fairly ingenious feats of engineering, many of the capital’s most exclusive residential addresses now have almost as much space below ground as above. Basement excavations or ‘iceberg basements’ have proved particularly popular for London mews houses, as these properties are often located in conservation areas and therefore bound by strict planning rules.
In such cases, digging down has provided an opportunity to add extras such as gyms, swimming pools, wine cellars and media rooms – as well as more functional spaces for storage and laundry – without changing the property’s external appearance.
London has succeeded in building up an ultra-efficient, highly specialised basement excavation industry, so there is plenty of expertise available if you are considering your own project. But before you bring in the diggers, you should consider the best uses for the rooms you will create, together with their future appeal to buyers when you finally decide to move on. Here are some tips for building a beautiful basement:
1. Subterranean space is worth less than its above ground equivalent, so use your new basement for utility rooms and storage, freeing up the more valuable space upstairs.
2. Build in flexibility. A future owner will be able to reconfigure the space provided the internal walls you install are not supporting walls. Buyers also prefer an open plan layout for kitchen, dining and family rooms.
3. Avoid putting beds in a basement: windowless rooms with ducted ventilation make unappealing bedrooms.
4. Incorporate drop-down firewalls and sprinkler systems to save space in corridors.
5. Unless you’re building for a billionaire, it’s better to avoid extravagant options such as golf ranges in preference for spaces with a more general appeal.
At Lurot Brand we work with developers to create some of London’s most sought-after properties, so if you’re thinking of buying a London mews property with potential for a basement excavation, we’d love to help. Unfortunately we can’t help you patch things up with the neighbours over all that noise and dust. Contact us today to book viewings to period mews homes suited to your budget and future plans.