Wembury Mews Home and Studio / Russell Jones
Text description provided by the architects. This recently completed family home and studio is located within Miltons, part of the Highgate Conservation in the London Borough of Haringey. The 200 square meter site, accessed via a narrow lane, was an old garage and back garden of an adjoining house.
Despite being in the middle of a conservation area and surrounded on 4 sides by a predominantly Edwardian context, the local planning authority was keen that the project reflect the nature and grain of its less formal location in the backlands. The legal setback requirements and the view on all four sides influenced the final design of the interconnected interior and exterior.
the effect of limited access on the choice of materials and construction methods; They must all be in proportions and weight that can be carried or carried by hand in the muis. These challenges were seen as an opportunity to create a home that eschews the familiar homely life of London. While the interior design and construction are a direct response to the requirements of living and location, its character and atmosphere are drawn from memory, experience and the desire to create a sanctuary from the outside world.
Planning. The completed house of 127 square meters, arranged on four slightly separated levels, follows the natural slope of the site. Its shape, a series of interlocking orthogonal volumes, is the product of the garage’s original 5.1m width, proximity to adjacent structures, and required setbacks. All rooms and spaces are organized around a 20-meter axis, starting at the front door and going through to the back border. The outside terrace and the walled garden, very much like the rooms like the ones inside.
The front of the new home is set back by cars, and aligned with the original garage. The entrance volume consists of a guest bedroom, a second double-height bedroom, a circulation, and a bathroom. Beyond the entrance, which is slightly lower than the entrance, the informal living and dining kitchen and galley open onto a balcony and look towards a walled back garden. A studio at lower ground level, just below the entrance, receives light from the front facade above. The master bedroom and bathroom are located on the upper level, and a glazed staircase brings light to the interior.
Building. The timber frame structure is faced in brickwork where it meets the boundary, and the remaining exterior cladding is of Siberian Larch 100 mm wide Douglas fir panels, with floor, wall and roof joints aligned, all interior surfaces lined. Fenestration framing and shutters are also from Douglas fir. All wood is sustainably sourced and carefully covered with stainless steel to control outdoor weathering. All surfaces are covered with a lightweight Libari pumice stone to aid drainage and reflect heat.
Furniture, including desks, beds, shelves, cabinets, and doors, is made of the same Douglas fir boards as the interior lining. In contrast, kitchen worktops, low bathroom countertops, and niches are covered in matte white porcelain. The front yard, paved with reclaimed granite, matches the motorway of the Mius. The garden, in harmony with the house, is informal.
The project combines high levels of insulation, an air source heat pump, underfloor heating, LED lighting and induction cooking, providing a futuristic PV array. All surface water is collected in a lower balcony storage tank for home and garden use.
The context, the planning process and the hardships involved in creating this project are characteristic of London. The prefab house, though a product of this reality, is also a refuge. It is relaxed, informal and a constant reminder of the life and personality of its occupants.