Sanya Polescuk Architects have transformed a drafty two-bedroom mews house with derelict garage into two flexible, light, airy and energy efficient flats, each with private outdoor space. Initially created to be two separate flats, the site can easily become interconnected for older and younger generations of the same family living together or can be used as one spacious five-bedroom house with or without an independent workshop.
Key to the overall design is a light well which provides light, air and separate outdoor space to both flats. Space was pushed hard to create roomy living quarters, whilst some floor area was sacrificed to give generous double height volume. On the first floor, the minimal top-lit circulation becomes additional living space and more storage past the hidden sliding doors. An entirely new second floor overlooks the first from its study gallery.
Speaking to Premier Construction magazine about the project, Sanya Polescuk said: “As a mews house, it was backing onto the two storey garden wall of another property so it only had a single aspect. What we did was make a hole at the back of the property alongside that back wall to create a light well so all three floors now have double/triple aspect. All of the five bedrooms have at least one window and all living spaces have dual aspect – one looking onto the street and one onto the patio. The upstairs apartment has a rather large balcony, which overlooks the patio space below. The other permutation that we had to make was to make sure the ground floor would work if it is to be used as a workshop – a small scale workshop – so the patio is fitted with water supply and electricity supply in case somebody in the future wants to do some work outside.”
In the downstairs space, the original timber wall boarding and garage doors have been refurbished with selective panels removed to allow more daylight into the kitchen. The main purpose of the building has been alluded to with newly exposed steelwork and original internal brickwork, a new raw palette of zinc, oak, birch and matt tiles, with Sanya Polescuk and her team retaining every piece of building fabric possible to maintain both the aesthetic and the embodied energy of the property.
Sanya added: “The current inhabitants are two independent tenants – two families – and they love the light; they love the fitted joinery because it is very useful and even though officially the place was let unfurnished there is plenty built-in storage capacity everywhere – in bedrooms, bathrooms, around and under the stairs and a fitted, fully operating kitchen in both apartments.”
The building’s energy rating has been boosted to 91% following the work. Solar PV panels have been installed and a variety of different insulation techniques have been employed to augment and upgrade this according to the location.
By completing the More Mews project, Sanya Polescuk Architects have been able to continue to redefine their attitude towards retrofitting, reclamations and upgrading building fabric.
Sanya concluded: “This project has given us a chance to take our ongoing theme of retrofitting and redeveloping properties that have an inherent quality and are an integral part of their neighbourhoods but are not used to their maximum potential. It gave us an opportunity to improve and make them even more efficient. The way that the site is fitted now has made it fit, not just for now, but for many years to come.”