Architectural firm Trehera Williams has completed a minimalist refurbishment of a mews house in north London, adding a bespoke timber façade to take advantage of its street-facing elevation.
Set within Belsize Park Reserve, the house originally had an unused garage occupying a significant portion of the ground floor plan, cutting off the connection to the street outside.
Trehera Williams was brought in to optimize the first floor of the home and convert the garage to provide additional living space.
The project focused on opening up the dark and closed interior to look out into the quiet rumblings to the front and a small private courtyard to the rear.
The existing wall surrounding the garage was removed, allowing the space to be incorporated into an open-plan living area that runs the entire depth of the property.
The previous garage door has been replaced with a façade made of white oiled oak, which retains the proportions of the old door but provides greater visual interest when viewed from the mews.
“The existing garage door along the street creates a very closed and guarded frontage,” Trehera-Williams told Dezeen. She “wanted to create something that was visually animated and offered a more open and engaging elevation.”
The diagonal oak fins placed in front of the large windows act as a brise-soleil, allowing sunlight in while maintaining privacy and limiting the view of the street from inside.
From the entrance to the meow, the fins appear to form a solid wooden volume that covers the window. However, as people move closer to their homes, their shape appears to change and become more permeable.
The bespoke joinery forms a streamlined structure of simple planes, volumes and edges, influenced by the minimalist wood sculptures of American artist Donald Judd.
Trehera Williams specified frameless glazing units with concealed fixtures to enhance the sculptural simplicity of the carpentry.
The windows include a Spanish mechanism that can be tilted to promote ventilation throughout the home or rotated open to allow the family pet to get outside.
The studio applied a pared-back material palette with an emphasis on tone and texture to create a minimalist interior scheme.
The walls and ceilings are rendered in subtly textured Danish plaster, complemented by warm Douglas fir floors and terrazzo tiles inlaid with marble aggregate.
The worktops, made of frosted white Moura marble, extend along the entire depth of the property, from the front entrance hall and storage area, to fit snugly into the galley kitchen, dining space and rear.
“The interior is pared back and exhibits the hallmarks of minimalism in its simplicity, but there is true harmony and beauty in the details,” Trehera-Williams explained.
“There are very few materials and details in the house, so each one has been chosen with great care to create a space that feels harmonious and warm and calm, rather than cold and sterile.”
The existing courtyard at the rear of the house is now visible and accessed through an enlarged opening that takes up the entire height and width of the rear elevation.
The minimal pivot door opens to create a seamless connection between the interior and the courtyard, which also acts as a light well that brings daylight into the adjacent living spaces.
The courtyard is paved with large concrete tiles and surrounded by walls covered with natural clay plaster, harmonizing with the texture of the interior.
The courtyard features simple linear benches and cylindrical flower pots, with geometric shapes providing visual structure and a single acer tree adding color.
Despite being located within a conservation area, the new façade’s bold design was praised by local planning authorities, who said it set a positive precedent for nearby residents considering similar renovation projects.
“It was such a relief,” Trehera-Williams said. “Many renovation and expansion projects focus on the back of the property, but here we were working on the front, so we had to be very careful.”
“Thankfully, our planners were very supportive,” the studio added. “We have also been contacted by neighbors who want to do something similar on their land, so what we have achieved here is well-received.”
Previously, the studio created an extension to an Edwardian house in north London that featured a brick wall extending from the kitchen to the garden.
Photographed by Lorenzo Zandri.