Definition of a Mews House?

A mews house is a type of residential dwelling primarily found in the United Kingdom, originating from the 18th century.

What is so special about mews houses?

These properties were initially built as stables or coach houses to accommodate horses and carriages for London’s elite class during the Georgian and Victorian eras.

Over time, they have been converted into charming private residences characterized by their high ceilings, large windows, and outdoor areas such as gardens or courtyards.

Mews houses typically feature traditional architectural elements like gabled roofs, red brick facades, white window frames, and intricate stone detailing around doorways.

They are often situated in quiet lanes or cobbled courtyards within urban settings, providing a balance between city amenities and peaceful living spaces.

The modern adaptation of these homes includes open-plan interiors with contemporary features while preserving the historical charm that has made them popular among homeowners seeking unique housing options.

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George Nicola

George is a seasoned interior designer and property marketing strategist with over 13 years of experience. He specializes in transforming properties into visually stunning spaces, helping clients recognize the potential and beauty in each property. With an impressive international client base of exciting projects throughout Europe and America.

Mews houses, a quintessential element of British architectural history, emerged in the 17th and 18th centuries as secondary structures accompanying grand Georgian townhouses.

Originally designed to provide accommodation for horses and carriages on the ground floor, with living quarters for stable staff on upper levels, mews houses have evolved into highly sought-after residential properties that embody a unique blend of historical charm and modern adaptability.

These clusters of narrow streets and intimate courtyards tucked away from main thoroughfares offer residents an oasis of tranquility amidst the hustle and bustle of urban life.

17th_century early_photo_of_original_mews_street
17th century depiction of original mews street

In recent years, architects and designers have been drawn to the challenge of reimagining these compact dwellings to cater to contemporary lifestyles while preserving their inherent character.

This has given rise to innovative solutions that push the boundaries of space utilization, material selection, and energy efficiency, without compromising their historical integrity.

With an increasing demand for sustainable urban living coupled with a desire to preserve architectural heritage, mews houses present a fascinating case study for exploring new possibilities in adaptive reuse and creative design interventions.

Historical Origins Of Mews Houses

The mews house meaning is connected to the marvels of metropolitan living, manifest a unique architectural style with historic origins. Originally designed in the 17th century, these structures were conceived as the solution to the growing need for stabling horses and housing carriages in urban areas across Britain.

A typical mews house was situated along narrow streets, often behind grand mansions occupied by nobility and affluent families. These mews houses offered not only functional spaces for equestrian pursuits but also served as accommodations for servants who worked within the main estate.

aerial view of original mews street
17th century depiction of original mews street

As the era of equine transportation waned and motor vehicles emerged in the early 20th century, mews houses underwent a significant transformation.

No longer required to serve their original purpose, these buildings began to be repurposed into residential properties that retained their distinctive charm while offering modern amenities.

The compact nature of these spaces prompted architects and designers to employ innovative thinking in order to create functional living environments within these historic shells.

This adaptive re-use of former stables has resulted in a fascinating range of architectural styles, from traditional Georgian facades to contemporary minimalist designs.

17th century illustration of mews street with plastered walls

The allure of mews houses lies not only in their rich history but also in their ability to inspire creativity through spatial constraints.

As an architectural typology, they embody the essence of sustainable design principles by reimagining existing structures and adapting them for contemporary use without compromising their heritage value.

Architectural siteplan of original narrow street

Moreover, their intimate scale and distinctive character make them highly sought-after residences that offer a rare blend of privacy and community spirit within bustling urban settings.

Thus, mews houses continue to captivate both architects and homeowners alike as they evolve with changing lifestyles and technologies while remaining rooted in their storied past.

Mews evolution

The evolution of mews houses is intrinsically linked to the urban development and socio-economic changes in London from the 17th century onwards. Initially, mews served as stables and coach houses with living quarters above for servants, situated in a paved yard behind the large houses of the aristocracy during the 17th and 18th centuries.

They were built during a period of significant residential expansion in London during the 18th and 19th centuries, facilitated by Georgian Town Planning, which was a response to the city’s expansion northwards and westwards into previously agricultural areas like what is now known as Belgravia and Mayfair.

A painting of a horse drawn carriage on a street in London depicting the evolution mews houses.
A painting of a horse drawn carriage on a street in London depicting the evolution mews houses.

Mews houses were part of a larger urban design where an ordered grid of townhouses, arranged around squares and crescents, included discretely contained mews in London’s most exclusive areas.

They were usually connected to the mansion houses via tunnels underneath gardens, allowing servants to move to and from the stables without disturbing the residents. The streets were often cobbled with drains to manage waste from the horses, reflecting their original utilitarian purpose.

Illustrations of Mews streets before the 1960's and after 1980's
Illustrations of Mews streets before the 1960's and after 1980's

The 20th century saw a decline in the use of horses and a shift in urban living dynamics, especially after the world wars, which led to many mews houses falling into disrepair.

They gained a negative reputation and were often associated with squatters and gang culture. However, in the 1960s, a shift occurred where people began to see the potential of mews houses as residences.

Artists and race car drivers started buying them due to their low prices and began converting them into stylish modern houses.

This change was spurred further by the desirability of the artistic and fashionable communities that started inhabiting these spaces, bringing a new life and status to mews houses​​.

A black and white painting of a mews street with houses, showcasing the charm of mews houses.
A black and white painting of a mews street with houses, showcasing the charm of mews houses.

The contemporary characterization of mews houses as exclusive and desirable properties starkly contrasts with their original purpose.

They now embody a unique blend of historical charm and modern adaptability, evolving into highly sought-after residential properties, attractive to both owner-occupiers and investors.

The relatively hidden, peaceful locations of mews houses, coupled with their often unlisted status, provide opportunities for renovation and modernization, thereby catering to modern urban living demands while retaining a touch of historical elegance​​.

Architectural Features And Designs

Building upon the historical origins of mews houses, it is essential to delve deeper into their architectural features and designs that have evolved over time.

The transformation from utilitarian structures to contemporary living spaces has brought about a unique blend of traditional elements and modern aesthetics.

This evolution showcases the potency of mews houses as an innovative housing solution, catering to the ever-changing demands of urban dwellers.

Converted mews house_Hampstead by Savils
Converted mews house_Hampstead / Image by Savills

At their core, mews houses are characterized by narrow proportions and efficient use of space.

Typically arranged around courtyards or lanes, these compact homes maximize natural light and ventilation while maintaining a sense of privacy.

The facades often feature symmetrical windows and doors, with simple yet elegant detailing in brickwork or stucco. Rooflines can vary from traditional pitched roofs to more modern flat or mansard styles, reflecting the individuality of each mews development.

Mews street of converted houses_Hapstead
Mews street of converted houses_Hapstead / Image by Savills

One cannot overlook the adaptive nature of mews houses when discussing their architectural features and designs. 

Over time, these properties have embraced modern trends such as open-plan living spaces, bespoke finishes, and eco-friendly technologies without compromising on their historic charm.

This unique combination has resulted in an increasingly popular housing typology that caters to those seeking a stylish urban home with a touch of heritage character.

In this way, mews houses continue to prove their lasting appeal through innovation, adaptability, and timeless design principles.

Evolution From Stables To Residences

Like a butterfly emerging from its cocoon, mews houses have undergone a significant transformation over the years.

Initially, these buildings served as stables and carriage houses for the affluent members of society in the 17th and 18th centuries.

Nestled within narrow, cobblestone streets behind grand terraced houses, they housed horses and carriages along with their caretakers.

fully renovated mews street London
Fully renovated mews street in London/ Image by Lurot Brand

As time went on and technology advanced, these once-utilitarian structures metamorphosed into highly sought-after residential homes.

The shift from stables to residences began during the advent of motor vehicles in the early 20th century. As horses gave way to cars, the need for mews houses as stabling facilities dwindled.

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Concurrently, changes in social structures and urban living conditions prompted innovative approaches to city housing. This spurred architects and designers to repurpose these properties into functional living spaces that retained their historical charm while meeting modern demands for comfort and convenience.

The conversion process often involved combining two or more original mews units or adding extensions to create spacious dwellings with open-plan living areas, outdoor spaces, and multiple bedrooms.

Today’s mews houses stand as an ingenious fusion of old-world character and contemporary innovation.

These unique architectural marvels continue to captivate discerning buyers seeking unconventional yet luxurious urban homes that provide privacy amid bustling cityscapes.

3 Bed Mews House For Sale
3 Bed Mews House For Sale / Interior Image and Listing for Sale by Lurot Brand

Furthermore, many mews houses boast sustainable design features such as solar panels, green roofs, or energy-efficient systems that reduce carbon footprints and harmonize with modern environmental sensibilities.

Thus, the enduring appeal of mews houses stands testament not only to their storied past but also to their adaptability in an ever-changing world – a fitting tribute to human creativity in shaping built environments through time.

Appeal Of Mews House Living and Key Characteristics

Mews houses, historically, were utilitarian structures designed to accommodate horses and carriages for wealthy London homeowners.

Over time, these structures have evolved into highly sought-after residential properties, offering a unique blend of historical charm and modern convenience.

row of utilitarian stable houses form 18th century
Row of utilitarian stable houses form 18th century

Architectural elements:

  • Cobblestone streets imbuing an old-world charm
  • Original stable doors and hayloft entrances preserved in facades
  • Innovative interior design solutions that maximize space utilization

Community engagement:

  • Exclusive pedestrianized streets fostering a strong sense of community
  • Localized neighborhood events and gatherings
  • Shared gardens and green spaces providing an oasis in urban settings

Strategic location:

  • Central locations within close proximity to major city attractions
  • Easy access to public transportation networks
  • Enviable addresses in prestigious neighborhoods

These factors contribute to the enduring appeal of mews house living. By retaining their historical context while adapting to modern lifestyles, these homes offer residents an unparalleled opportunity for exclusive urban living with a touch of timelessness.

As cities continue to evolve and expand, the demand for innovative housing solutions is on the rise.

Mews houses embody this spirit by combining heritage with contemporary design sensibilities. The adaptive reuse of mews houses caters not only to those who appreciate history but also appeals to individuals who have an innate desire for innovation.

These homes demonstrate how architectural design can be both functional and aesthetically appealing while preserving vital aspects of cultural heritage.

Through thoughtful integration of historical elements with imaginative modern modifications, mews houses provide homeowners with a truly exceptional living experience that is steeped in tradition yet firmly rooted in the present day’s urban context.

Notable Mews Streets In London

Mews houses, often associated with the enchanting allure of London’s historic streets, display an architectural variety that can be found throughout this vibrant city. These distinctive dwellings embrace both traditional charm and contemporary innovation, creating a diverse urban landscape.

In South Kensington and Knightsbridge, two quintessential London neighbourhoods known for their iconic white stucco-fronted terraces, one can find some of the most beautifully preserved mews streets.

For instance, Kynance Mews is a picturesque haven nestled between Gloucester Road and Launceston Place.

This idyllic enclave features a delightful assortment of pastel-hued facades embellished with climbing ivy – an exquisite blend of timeless elegance and modern sophistication.


Similarly, Ennismore Gardens Mews in Knightsbridge provides a refined setting for its grand Regency-style residences.

Canopied balconies overlook impeccably landscaped gardens, further enhancing the area’s dignified ambience.

As we move eastward towards Fitzrovia and Marylebone, we encounter another facet of mews living: the harmonious fusion of groundbreaking design within a historical context.

Weymouth Mews stands out as an exemplary representation of innovative architecture intertwined with rich cultural heritage in these lively districts.

This remarkable street showcases meticulously restored period façades alongside avant-garde new builds that integrate seamlessly into their surroundings while pushing contemporary boundaries through sustainable materials and energy-efficient technologies.

This striking contrast not only honours London’s illustrious past but also lays the foundation for future generations to uphold the captivating legacy of these mesmerizing spaces.

Mews Conservation And Preservation Efforts

Mews houses, as historically significant architectural assets, necessitate dedicated conservation and preservation efforts to maintain their unique character and charm. Various factors contribute to the need for such endeavors, including:

  • the passage of time
  •  pressures from urban development
  • shifting socioeconomic conditions

Consequently, several organizations and initiatives have emerged globally to promote the protection and restoration of these distinctive structures in cities worldwide.

Adaptive reuse has proven to be an effective strategy for conserving mews houses while catering to contemporary needs.

This approach involves repurposing existing structures with minimal modifications so that their historical integrity remains intact. Examples include transforming former stables into residential or commercial spaces or restoring dilapidated buildings into boutique hotels or cultural centers.

By embracing innovation through adaptive reuse, architects can breathe new life into these rare gems while preserving their essential qualities for future generations.

The preservation of mews houses often entails navigating a complex web of permissions required for alterations.

Planning permission must typically be obtained from city councils for most external alterations (excluding routine repairs), creating single residential dwellings within dual-use properties, or altering listed properties’ interiors. Undertaking work without the necessary consents can lead to enforcement action and potential removal of unauthorized renovations.

In many cases, mews are located within conservation areas necessitating additional consent forms before undertaking demolition projects or modifying structural elements like doors or windows.

City councils aim at retaining buildings contributing positively to conservation areas; total redevelopment is only allowed under exceptional circumstances when replacement designs utilize traditional materials faithful in form to original mews characters.

Alterations at roof level also require particular attention due not only aesthetic considerations but also concerns about sunlight access and privacy impacts on neighboring properties—often resulting in restrictions regarding extension types permitted within specific neighborhoods.

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When altering facades during renovation projects involving conversion into entirely residential use properties should retain garage parking space behind traditional timber door whenever possible — maintaining links with past usage history where hayloft doorways remain present on first floors.

Additionally, care should be taken to retain original structural elements over door openings and use traditional materials such as timber frames for window replacements or adaptations.

The simplicity of mews housing is one of their most endearing qualities. To preserve this attractiveness, additions like projecting balconies, sun blinds, canopies, or porches are generally discouraged — along with attempts at mimicking small-scale Georgian townhouses through bow windows or classical-style front doors.

The preservation of street surfaces contributes significantly to maintaining historical character in mews areas. This includes retaining private forecourts’ original levels and using traditional materials like flagstones, granite setts, or paving bricks for resurfacing projects whenever possible.

In summary, a combination of thoughtful preservation efforts and adaptive reuse strategies ensures that mews houses remain charming architectural assets while adapting to modern needs.

By adhering to guidelines regarding alterations permissions and maintaining historically sensitive design choices during renovations projects both architects and homeowners play essential roles in preserving these unique structures for future generations.

Investment Potential of Mews Houses

According to data from the Land Registry, mews houses in London have seen an increase in value of 165% over the past decade.

This significant growth is attributed to several factors, including the architectural charm and historical significance associated with these properties as well as their location within some of London’s most prestigious neighborhoods. 

As a result, mews houses have become highly sought-after investments for both domestic and international buyers.

The investment potential of mews houses can be further explored through examining their unique architectural features.

Originally designed as stables with living accommodations above for servants, mews houses are typically characterized by their narrow width, two or three-storey height, and distinct facades featuring arched entrances or stable doors.

These properties often boast private outdoor spaces such as courtyards or roof terraces – a rarity in densely populated areas such as central London.

The redevelopment of many mews houses has led to contemporary interiors that seamlessly blend modern design elements with traditional period features.

This fusion of old-world charm and cutting-edge innovation appeals greatly to discerning buyers who value distinctive architecture.

Exploring future prospects and trends in this niche property market reveals promising opportunities for investors seeking unique assets with strong growth potential.

The limited supply of authentic mew properties combined with the increasing demand for bespoke living spaces signifies a positive outlook for this sector are factors that contribute significantly to their enduring appeal among prospective buyers.

Disadvantages Of Mews Homes

Mews homes are an attractive option for homeowners looking to live in a cozy, modern space. However, there are certain drawbacks of these small dwellings that must be considered before committing to purchase such a property. 

*Noisy neighbours: Mews houses tend to have thin walls and limited soundproofing which can make living next door to noisy neighbours quite bothersome. 
*Limited parking: Due to the size of mews properties, street parking is often cramped or even nonexistent. 
*Small space: While this type of home provides plenty of coziness, it also means limited storage and entertaining space compared with larger homes on the market. 
*Resale value: The smaller square footage can negatively impact resale values when it comes time to move on from the property. 

When considering whether or not a mews house is right for you, it’s important to weigh both the pros and cons carefully. Planning considerations should include how much noise one is willing to tolerate, proximity of public transportation and any other amenities needed nearby as well as potential future saleability should plans change down the road. 

Mews Floor Plans And Layouts

Mews house floor plans are typically quite simple and straightforward, but they offer a great deal of flexibility in terms of layout. Mews houses generally feature two stories with the living space on the upper level, allowing for natural light to fill the rooms from both sides. The lower level is often used as storage or utility space, but can also be converted into additional bedroom or office space.

indoor floor plan of a mews house / Image by

These homes have an inherently modern feel due to their minimalistic designs and open-plan layouts that maximize every square inch of available space.

Many mews house layouts include a large central area for entertaining guests, while others may incorporate extra bedrooms or study areas depending on your needs.

No matter what type of design you choose, these homes provide plenty of room for personalization – from unique features like vaulted ceilings and skylights to custom finishes like hardwood floors and stone countertops.

With so many options available, it’s easy to create a truly one-of-a-kind home that reflects your style and expresses your individual personality.

From flexible open spaces to sleek modern lines, mews house designs bring together form and function in perfect harmony.

Whether you’re looking for something traditional or contemporary, there’s sure to be a plan that fits your lifestyle perfectly – leaving you free to enjoy all the comforts of home without sacrificing any sense of freedom along the way.

Next up we’ll explore the building materials used in constructing these dreamy dwellings! 

Building Materials Used

Mews houses are typically constructed using a combination of brick, stone and clay. Brick is the most commonly used material due to its durability and low cost. Stone offers additional strength, but is usually more expensive than brick. Clay provides an aesthetically pleasing look that can complement almost any home style.

Scale model of architectural material board of a mews house
Scale model of architectural material board of a mews house

The use of these materials makes mews houses both strong and beautiful, giving homeowners a sense of freedom as they enjoy their homes with no worries about building maintenance or repair costs. Furthermore, this type of construction allows for flexibility when it comes to remodeling and customizing a mews house in order to make it truly unique. 

When it comes to heating options for mews houses, there are many possibilities depending on what best suits each homeowner’s needs and budget. 

Heating Options For Mews Houses

A mews house is a unique and desirable property, offering its owner a sense of freedom that can be hard to find elsewhere.

But when it comes to heating options for these properties, what should you consider?

When assessing the various choices available for your mews house, there are several factors to bear in mind.

  • check the insulation levels already present; if they’re not up to scratch, use materials such as foam-filled cavity walls or upgraded triple glazing windows which will help reduce heat loss.
  • look into modern heating systems – central heating powered by gas or oil could offer better value than electric radiators.
  • insulated underfloor heating also works well in smaller spaces due to its low profile design and efficient performance.
  • take advantage of renewable energy sources like solar panels or ground source pumps – while they may require an initial outlay, they’ll save money on running costs over time.

With all of these considerations made, you now have a range of great options when deciding how best to keep warm in your mews house – so why not explore some interior design ideas next? 

Interior Design Ideas For Mews Houses

Mews houses are a unique kind of property that can be found in cities all around the world. Their design and layout make them an attractive option for those seeking to add their own style to a home. With creative interior design, mews houses can provide an ideal living space with plenty of charm and character.

interior of 17th_century_renovated_mews_house_italian_minimalist style
interior of 17th_century_renovated_mews_house_italian_minimalist style

When it comes to decorating a mews house, there are several different approaches one could take. 

For example, many people opt for traditional English décor which incorporates floral patterns as well as muted colours like sage green or dusty pinks. 

Modern furniture pieces such as glass-top coffee tables and chrome lighting fixtures may be used to create a contemporary look while still keeping with the original architecture of the building. No matter what type of styling is chosen, adding personal touches such as artwork and family photographs will ensure that the space feels distinctly yours. 

In terms of practicality, choosing furnishings that fit within the limited floor plan available is essential when working on interior design ideas for mews houses. This means selecting items that offer both form and function – think smart storage solutions like ottomans with built-in compartments or multi-purpose furniture pieces like sofa beds which double up as seating during the day before transforming into sleeping quarters at night! 

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Mews houses are a unique housing option that can offer potential buyers the city lifestyle.

When looking at mews houses as a viable living option, there’s no doubt that their size may be seen as a disadvantage if you have a family or need extra space.

However, with careful planning and clever furnishing solutions, they can still provide families with enough room to live comfortably. It’s like finding a diamond in the rough – small on the outside yet surprisingly spacious within!