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Image from The Mews of London by Barbara Rosen and Wolfgang Zuckermann, 1982


The evolution of London’s favourite mews houses

From horse stables to luxury living 

Standing at 6,249sq ft, the most expensive mews ever to be sold in London fetched £23 million. What is it about these hidden houses that demand our attention? Firstly, it’s the history. Mews houses originate from a time when London was rapidly expanding in the 18th and 19th centuries. Wealthy residents desired properties in the city with coach houses for their horses, but space was at a premium. So, they were forced to convert the rear areas of existing properties into stables – or mews. However, the etymology of the word ‘mews’ comes from an old French word ‘muer’, which means ‘to moult’. That’s because, in the 14th century, the Royal Mews in Charing Cross was used as a sanctuary for hawks while they moulted. It was only later, in the 16th century, that this mews was rebuilt into stables, keeping its name but providing a new function.  

Clabon Mews, Chelsea: Doll & Co extension and interiors renovation

Why do we love a London mews?

A mews was typically constructed in a row of uniform buildings, tucked out of sight with a discreet cobbled road for servants and living quarters for the stable hands above. With the advent of the motor, the stables soon became redundant. Many of these coach houses fell into disrepair and were demolished. Some, however, were repurposed as properties and shops. What’s been left behind is an exclusive collection of original mews, rich with history and designed for privacy.

An architectural puzzle

For DOLL & Co. mews houses provide a unique opportunity to transform historically significant but often underutilised spaces into contemporary, characterful homes. The design challenge is about preserving original elements, such as exposed brickwork, wooden beams or arched doorways, while also modernising rooms and bringing in natural light. We find ways to open up the space through basement extensions, clever storage solutions and creative room layouts.

Harley Place

Harley Place, Marylebone: DOLL & Co. with interiors by Base Interior

We also overcome specific planning challenges, whether that’s because the property is listed or in a conservation area. Our designs are created to be in-keeping with the architectural integrity of the local area, as well as work with any constraints regarding groundworks or neighbouring properties.

Are you looking to start a mews project? Take a look at some more of our mews projects here, and get in touch for a free consultation. 


Ian Dollamore, Director at Doll & Co
Ian Dollamore, Director at Doll & Co
Ian Dollamore

DOLL & Co.

Ian is a leading architect and designer with extensive experience across the luxury real estate sector.


February 28, 2022

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