Victorian Mews House - Retrofit & Reinvent

Sanya Polescuk Architects, London, 2012


Subscribe now to instantly view this image

Subscribe to the Architects’ Journal (AJ) for instant access to the AJ Buildings Library, an online database of nearly 2,000 exemplar buildings in photographs, plans, elevations and details.

Already a subscriber? Sign in

Entrance to Architects studio showing original cast iron column and cobblestones. (Phase I - studio) 

Sanya Polescuk Architects     Download Original

  • Entrance to Architects studio showing original cast iron column and cobblestones. (Phase I - studio)    
  • Original cobblestones left exposed in the meeting and  circulation area; new rubber  flooring over the raised, insulated platform in the work area. (Phase I - studio)    
  • Model making area, birch ply storage, and kitchenette. Floor with exposed cobble stones and concrete infill of old garage repair pit. Internal, secondary garage doors with insulation between them and the original external doors. (Phase I - studio)    
  • Meeting area, entrance, and desk space. Reclaimed internal timber sliding door in foreground. (Phase I - studio)    
  • Three distinct bands wrap the external walls: 1. T&G wood fibre insul. panels over flexible wood fibre insul.; 2. Victorian tiles & iron horse tether with new birch ply reveals; 3. reclaimed timber boarding over flexible wood fibre insulation. (Phase I)     
  • Dual entrance via the original pair of doors. The ground floor studio entrance is via a sheltered, internal corridor; the flat is accessed by the smaller door.      
  • Dining Area with full height storage in birch ply as well as under eaves storage. New timber framed dormer windows with triple glazing. (Phase II - masionette)    
  • Top floor stairs going down from the open plan top floor living spaces, to the bedrooms and bathrooms below. (Phase II - masionette)    
  • Top Floor Living with new triple-glazed windows, skylights, and dimmable fluorescent uplighting. Reclaimed wood burner and cast iron radiator. Reclaimed and new timber boarding over non-breathable PIR insulation. (Phase II - masionette)    
  • Top floor stairs with outline of the original hayloft stair balustrade/stringer (painted white) surrounded by softwood timber boarding. (Phase II - masionette)    
  • Top floor stair detail. (Phase II - masionette)    
  • Masionette bathroom with low-flow sanitary fittings. (Phase II - masionette)    
  • Ground floor plan    
  • First floor plan    
  • Second floor plan    
  • Section A-A    
  • External mews elevation    
  • Environmental strategy diagram    
  • Diagrammatic hiistory of the building    
  • Working detail wall section    

Victorian mews house and coach-and-horses stable now accommodating an architect's studio and masionette

Originally a coach-and-horses stable with coachman’s quarters and hayloft on top, this Victorian mews house emerges, after a 2-phase retrofit, as an architects studio and spacious light-filled maisonette.

Since its original configuration as the ultimate work-live unit of the 19th century, this Belsize Park property has changed hands and spatial arrangements a number of times. From the mid-20th century the original logic began to erode with living and working areas gradually merging throughout the floors; the result being cramped cellular rooms, poor services, and inadequate working conditions.

To improve the property, SPA approached the project with two main objectives:

1. Raise the quality of accommodation by referring to the original spatial arrangement – i.e. workspace on the ground floor, sleeping and bathing quarters above and well-wrapped living/eating/cooking on top.

2. Significantly reduce the building’s carbon footprint by “Wrapping up Warm”, ventilating, and generally following the Code for Sustainable Homes, Level 4, along with reclaiming existing items from site – i.e. timber paneled doors, painted SW boarding, heating elements, etc.


  • Begun: Mar 2011
  • Completed: Aug 2012
  • Floor area: 185m2
  • Sector: House
  • Total cost: £240,000
  • Tender date: Feb 2011
  • Procurement: Traditional JCT Minor Works
  • CO2 Emissions: 25.8kg/m2/year
  • Address: 8 Belsize Court Garages, Belsize Park, London, NW3 5AJ, United Kingdom

Professional Team