The small house large basement cliché has perplexed London planning departments – primarily due to a number of none planning matters like construction inconvenience and bad building practices. However there is a valid re-interpretation of the historic town house that can use basement accommodation commonly provided but in a new way. But those who lived in tall and often narrow houses have the common complaint of having to traverse stairs during even the simplest domestic actions. While this is inevitable a successful solution should reduce the use of the stairs by the careful disposition of rooms and activities.
This six storey house for a private client is in a Belgravia mews and was to replace a house of a similar size. The challenges of meeting a stringent brief that included three large bedrooms, a garage and a 20 m swimming pool in a small footprint required a complex plan and section. The lift and open staircase tie all levels together and acts as the house ventilation system, drawings air and heat to the upper level where it is extracted via a heat exchanger. The grouping of night time activities on the upper levels and leisure activities on the lower with family and entertaining rooms between, means that the house is considered as groupings of pairs of floors.
While the architecture confounded the planning authorties drive for pastiche, the materials and the architectural language is consistently followed into the interior design. A strong vertical stair core from rooftop to basement pool joins a hierarchy of rooms with a simple, robust palette aginst which more opulent possessions and art works contrast.