Hanson Street Studio

David Miller Architects, London, 2018



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The intention was to create a very calm space that contrasts with the busy feel of the surrounding area

A dark, semi-derelict collection of box rooms in the basement and backyard of a six-storey mansion block in Fitzrovia have been transformed into a light-filled, calm and joyful place to live. The rooms, which had been a small workshop, outside toilet and a very basic living space, were completely separate spaces, purchased over a period of 20 years. They have been linked by incorporating the outside yard as a connector with a fully glazed ceiling, bringing light into the centre of the plan and allowing the spaces to flow into each other.

Floors and ceilings were all at different heights, and this has been unified with a new, continuous white resin floor and a ribbon-like spiral stair that links to the upper level spaces. Accessed through an automatic, sliding rooflight, the final space in the sequence is a tiny roof terrace, a surprise in a basement flat surrounded by 6-storey mansion blocks and the only patch of green in the block. The fabric of the building has been upgraded for environmental performance but, from the outside, there is no visible change to the building. Inside is a complete transformation. Solid white surfaces (resin floor, Corian countertops, mosaic tiling) catch light from the rooflights, and are chosen for longevity, with splashes of colour in the furnishings and bespoke fireplaces making it fun.

Views are deliberately created inside the flat, from spaces into other spaces instead of out of windows, which are opaque by necessity. A single, clear rooflight above the staircase allows shafts of light down to the basement level and gives an awareness of the weather outside. This secret hideaway is calm, bright and fun, a space to contemplate and play.

Photography by Agnese Sanvito


  • Begun: Nov 2017
  • Completed: Dec 2018
  • Floor area: 97m2
  • Sector: Residential
  • Total cost: £246,750
  • Funding: Private
  • Tender date: Sep 2017
  • Procurement: RIBA Domestic Building Contract 2014
  • Address: London, W1, United Kingdom