Kensington Mews House

This tiny wedge shaped mews house found in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, measured just 11.7m long and 4m deep at it’s widest point (1m deep at the narrowest point) and was previously a series of small cellular rooms, feeling very tight and claustrophobic. The client’s brief was to open the building up and make it feel as spacious as possible.

By adding a new mansard roof and dropping the first floor level by 400mm, creativemass were able to add a small mezzanine floor above the kitchen space, thereby creating an open ‘loft-living’ space connecting the living, kitchen-dining and study space, including a dramatic double height space above the living room and a very small (2m x 1m) outside terrace space accessed from the mezzanine.

We also added a dramatic sculptural staircase, open on the ground floor corridor side, to ensure that the corridor space feels as generous as possible. The full height door leading to the ground floor bedroom folds back into a recess in the hallway wall, when open, in order that it can fully disappear and give the illusion of a spacious open ground floor. Similarly the bathroom door disappears into the pocket wall, and the full height glazed screen between the bathroom and bedroom is able to be transformed from opaque to transparent, in order to open up the sense of space and visibility throughout the ground floor.

A unique bespoke sliding ladder leads to the mezzanine floor, which can be fixed, using an electromagnetic lock, into it’s central position for access, or simply slides to one side and is ‘stored’ at the end of the kitchen space.

The palette of materials was kept simple and elegant, exposing the brickwork internally on the rear long wall, and juxtaposing the minute scale of the house with 600mm wide douglas fir floorboards to increase the drama and ambiguity of scale.

The challenge of this project was to take this tiny ‘dolls house’ sized building and to create a beautiful ‘jewel box’ fit for contemporary loft living.