Expanding period London mews properties

A tasteful modern conversion of the below stairs open-plan reception of this Kensington Mews provides a stunning light-filled space for relaxing and dining.

A tasteful modern conversion of the below stairs open-plan reception of this Kensington Mews provides a stunning light-filled space for relaxing and dining.

The only way is up. Or down. At least, that’s the rationale behind contemporary mews conversions that seek to make the most of a property’s footprint, either by expanding into the basement or creating space at roof level.

Traditional mews properties – built for servants – were constructed as part of a terrace, standing back-to-back with the great houses they served. The servants may have been happy with this arrangement, but some 150-200 years later, many modern mews-dwellers want more. While they appreciate the benefits of living a few minutes’ stroll from London’s great parks and exclusive shopping streets, they also want spacious and flexible accommodation.

With the local planning department on your side and a skilled architect at the helm, it’s possible to turn a London mews property into a substantial, light-filled townhouse. Over the years at Lurot Brand, we’ve watched the progress of many successful conversions but some have created more problems than they set out to solve. Here are some pointers to bear in mind when you are converting your London mews house:

1. Square footage below ground is worth considerably less than that at ground level or above, so forget about iceberg basements (unless you are planning your forever home) and use the basement for storage and utility, freeing up space within the house itself.

2. In the unfortunate event that your property floods, it’s likely that the water will be mixed with sewage, so install oversized sump pumps as a preventative measure. 

3. Swimming pools in the basement may seem like the ultimate luxury, but there can be problems with moisture and smell. 

4. If you are looking to create additional rooms at the top of the building, a fire escape will be necessary, so be prepared to lose some internal living space when you build an internal escape.

5. Conservation officers like to retain the external character of mews properties, so the placement and design of dormer windows needs careful thought. Planners usually insist on a traditional dormer with a rolled lead cover, but in some cases more contemporary styles are permitted, allowing more light to flood in.

At Lurot Brand we are familiar with the capital’s planning departments. We’ve also worked with most of the big estates in London, and this means we are well placed to advise on whether you are likely to be granted permission for a mews conversion. Call us today for advice on the ins and outs (or should that be the ups and downs?) of converting your mews property.

A tasteful modern conversion of the below stairs open-plan reception of this Kensington Mews provides a stunning light-filled space for relaxing and dining.