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Harley Place
London W1

This project entailed the complete renovation of a Grade II listed mews house off Harley Street in the heart of London’s West End. Archer Humphryes remodelled a compact 140 sq.m. property as a second home for a film and advertising director, bringing the interior up to date while preserving period features in line with English Heritage requirements. These include the Victorian service stair and the beam and main dividing walls of the original Georgian interior. Key interventions included the insertion of a three-storey void to bring light into the heart of the home.

Creating a sanctuary away from the main residence is a complicated idea. In this instance, the home-away-from-home was conceived as a ‘city fantasy’ of visual tranquility, allowing the residents to live completely differently before returning to their primary home in Wiltshire.

Archer Humphryes retained the character of the stable door mews façade, painting the brick a traditional London railings colour to enhance the picturesque Georgian street. The interior was remodelled within the constraints of the 18th century template.

Dreaming up a visual story using light was a key objective of the project. Mews houses generally have a singular aspect and it was important to top-light the property in order to filter light down through the house. A crucial intervention was made to cascade light into a newly created, three storey void. Within this, the architects introduced the scheme’s key feature, a cantilevered marble stair that hovers, without touching, against a glass wall separating the xx from the living space. This achieves the theatrical drama intended in the design, and helps to anchor the individual spaces arranged off it.

The original kitchen area was revitalised as a study and library and an open-plan kitchen was created at the heart of the house, providing a flexible environment for entertaining. The bathrooms were extended and reconfigured using Thassos marble, mosaics and coloured glass. The master bedroom is on the top floor and includes a bathroom enhanced by smoked glass and skylights to deepen the relaxation experience.

Concealed and feature lighting draw attention to the clean lines of the new sculptural interior, and emulate the calm atmosphere of a contemporary gallery. A light material palette comprises white and grey plaster with Carrera marble, featuring white and grey veins, transparent glass, stainless steel and warm walnut. This is combined with 19th century greens and a yellow accent to draw attention to period features. Furnishings reinforce the serene quality of the space, and sit effortlessly with the client’s art collection. Technological systems allow glass to become opaque for privacy, and also soften the sound of the metropolis using sensors seamlessly and intelligently incorporated into the highly functional home. This tranquil and generous design has enabled the clients to possess the space and truly make it their very own, albeit second, home.

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