03 Aug 2023

Georgian Mewshouse Transformed

Architect firm Studio Bua and interior designer Eliská Design have collaborated to transform a nondescript Georgian mews house in central London into a luxurious home, perfect for parties and entertaining. Located in a private mews in the Belgravia conservation area, the house had good bones but lacked personality. It also had no outdoor space, one of the client’s key requirements.


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When Bua and Eliská were approached, the house was inverted, with a bedroom and bathroom on the ground floor and the kitchen above. While it had three bedrooms, it lacked living and entertainment space. The first step was to flip the scheme, positioning the dining area and kitchen on the ground floor and adding a roof terrace for outdoor entertaining. Internally, the property has been fully refurbished. The new scheme features a bespoke kitchen, a dark-lacquered cocktail bar and an elegant home office. All the joinery throughout the house is bespoke, tailor made to suit the client’s needs.

Mark Smyth, Co-Founder of Studio Bua, comments: “When our client purchased the house, all the living accommodation was squeezed into the first floor, with bedrooms above and below. These cramped living quarters didn’t suit their needs, so we moved the kitchen and dining to the ground floor, creating a welcoming entrance hall. This freed up the first floor for a generous reception room, a separate study and the all-important cocktail bar. By creating very different spaces for entertaining across three levels, the house feels much larger than the floorplan suggests.”

Previously, the house had suffered from a bland 1990s magnolia redecoration, which caused it to lose all its Georgian splendour. The client, a leading light in the finance world and a keen art collector, wanted to revive the house to make it feel unique and add plenty of entertainment areas. The client was moving from a significantly larger house, so it was imperative to keep the same sense of grandeur in their new home. She also wanted the house to have traditional elements but not feel old fashioned. Working around her existing furniture, Bua and Eliksá encouraged a mix of contemporary and traditional pieces that support each other and work together to elevate themselves into statement pieces.

Eliská Sapera, Founder of Eliská Design, explains: “The inspiration for this interior project was to have a timeless space with a mix of antique and contemporary furniture and artefacts to reflect the client’s taste. A feeling of understated luxury with beautiful fabrics and unique pieces.”

Bua successfully navigated the City of Westminster’s planning process and negotiated a licence for alteration with the Grosvenor Estate to secure permission for the large roof terrace and facade alterations. The facade has been remodelled and redecorated. This included the removal of three sash windows and the installation of French doors with 40cm-deep cast-iron Juliette balconies on the middle floor. A new front door replaces the existing overtly Victorian door, which was not in keeping with the Georgian property. The black fittings are all dark bronze to tie in with the new balconies. The facade colours, navy on the ground floor and pale blue above, were chosen from Grosvenor Estate’s approved colour scheme.

Planning dictated that the existing garage could not be changed into a habitable space. Instead, the space has been transformed into a multifunctional area that doubles as a private pilates studio and a covered outdoor entertaining area for bad weather. An Oka coffee table, designed to look like an ornate column capital, is flanked by garden chairs with cushions covered in Perzina Citron fabric by William Yeoward to add sophisticated pops of colour.

The front door opens onto a new dining area with the kitchen on the left, a top-lit stair with solid oak treads and banister straight ahead, and a door serving the garage to the right. The entire ground floor has been beautifully done, with oversized parquet flooring that follows the curves of the wall and gives the space a modern look. Traditional detailing, such as the cornicing, has been reintroduced to reinstate period features.

Period panelling adorns the walls, and replica antique mirrors help to make the space feel bigger. Statement 1940s wall lights sourced from Guinevere Antiques, originally from the Colisée de Roubaix in Paris, elevate the room and add opulence. The dining area and new kitchen can be separated by closing the panelled doors to hide preparation while entertaining. The kitchen, which was previously a bathroom, includes compact joinery and pocket doors to hide toasters and coffee machines.

The Obsidian Blue cabinets have nickel fittings and mesh doors that tie in with the house’s exterior colour scheme. The kitchen surfaces are topped with lemurian blue granite with dramatic flecks of colour.

The kitchen detailing is echoed in the study on the first floor. Here, the cabinets are painted a pale taupe. Display shelving is interspersed with mesh doors to hide TV units, with printers and office paraphernalia hidden in cupboards below. The parquet flooring matches the floor below. The study links to the main reception room but also sits comfortably as its own room.

Across the landing is a custom-built cocktail bar that uses antique mirror and dark green joinery designed to fit the client’s glass and barware. A new lacquer tray from Paolo Moschino and crystal barware by Eliská complete the space. A WC decorated with Moooi extinct animal wallpaper is tucked away next to the bar. More custom joinery, this time housing handtowels, sits on either side of the Kast concrete sink.

The main reception room features an existing fireplace that has been carefully integrated into the new scheme. New furniture was selected to complement the client’s existing pieces. Light pours into the room through the new French doors while semi-sheer curtains made from luxurious cashmere-mix Rubelli fabric brighten the space. Red cushions covered with Rubelli and Robert Langford fabrics adorn the sofas and add a touch of regality.

While the bedrooms on the second floor have been left untouched, the bathrooms have been elevated. The master en suite now features beautiful Dover white marble and classic fittings to feel modern but appropriate to the age of the house. The guest bathroom features dramatic primavera green marble and a bespoke vanity unit. Both bathrooms include wooden bowls and dishes from Robert Langford.

Topping things off is the new roof terrace, which provides much-needed garden space and dramatic views of Westminster. A new, sweeping staircase serves the terrace, accessed via a large, automated sliding rooflight. The black-painted metal railings tie in with the fittings on the facade and have been kept simple to stay in keeping with the property. Strategic planting offers privacy from neighbours. The client’s garden furniture has been elevated with cushions covered with Dominique Kieffer fabric by Rubelli.

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