The project was designed and developed with an economy of visual, spatial and structural means. The material palette and the design were kept intentionally simple. The volumes were handled in such a way as to make the most of a small site constrained by overlooking neighbours on most elevations, resulting in a building that has an overall sense of space and calm infrequently seen in properties of this size in London. The careful selection and crafted use of materials create an essential quality that isn’t apparent in the materials themselves. The resulting home, although compact, feels spacious and special.
A 68 m2 compact 2 bedroom mews house and enclosed courtyard of 11 m2 in Highgate. This 2 storey brick house faces onto a quiet cobbled mews. Its 90 m2 site, on land to the rear of a 5 level locally listed building, was formerly occupied by a disused garage and derelict garden. It sits amongst a patchwork of rear fenced off gardens, garages, mews houses and ad-hoc rear ad-ons and a recently completed house, also by Russell Jones.
On the ground floor the covered main entrance provides direct access to an open plan living, kitchen and dining area. This area opens out onto a rear courtyard via floor to ceiling glazing which provides a physical and visual continuation of the space. The paving stones form a continuous surface from the front external entrance through the internal areas and out into the rear courtyard. At the point of entry an external bicycle, services and recycling store is provided and, adjacent the door, a full height glazed window. To the rear is a ground floor WC with laundry cupboard. The first floor is accessed via a single flight stair hovering beside the brick wall. On the first floor are 2 bedrooms, each with built-in storage, and a bathroom. Dormer and skylights are carefully positioned to bring daylight in to the interior.
The choice of building material for this small Mews House in Highgate was influenced by the original context, and the ongoing development of the mews into a new residential enclave. The prominent gable fronted terrace that faces the A1 carriageway on one side, presents itself to this backland location as a continuous wall of punctuated London Common Brickwork. Discussion with the Haringey Planning department led to a selection of a light coloured brick and mortar for new buildings in the mews, as a contrast to the weathered and dirty commons behind, to unify and instil a sense of continuity to the new developments in the mews, and also to increase light levels along the cobbled passage.