This project was the fifth property in this small mews we have fully renovated. In this case the existing building, in very poor repair, was completely demolished and a new building was erected in its place.
Not only designed by Richard Murphy Architects, the architect eventually purchased the completed building from the clients who commissioned it.
The new Mews is first cousin of No. 17 Royal Terrace Mews, sited almost immediately opposite on the same street. It is a quirk of these small Edinburgh streets that they take their name from the grander roads behind. They were originally service buildings for these larger houses, either stables or garages containing a single room accommodation for the stableman. As a result each side of the street is named differently.
No. 17 was also designed by RMA for the same clients. The property was rented and Richard lived there for several years himself. It was that experience of living on the Mews that led him to make several design changes to the new Mews.
The buildings are principally similar. The front elevations are layered and deliberately confuse the moving elements. Internally the levels are multi layered and the flat unfolds as you enter deeper into it.
The double rooflight on No. 17 is replaced at No.10 with a single south facing rooflight. This change brought about from the experience of living across the road. A single hinged shutter should close off the rooflight at night but unfortunately, a little like Howard Hughes' spruce goose it has rarely left its hangar. Still a work in progress.
The biggest change in design terms between the two properties was to relocate the kitchen and dining area above the bedroom at No. 10. The social space is thereby connected in the open plan of the layout and the sense of space is probably greater.
Although the design change was also as a result of the experience of living opposite, the idea of transposing bedroom and kitchen first occurred to the architect during the construction of No. 17, in fact about two weeks before the building was due to be handed over.
"Would it be terribly difficult..." Richard asked one morning as the final layers of paint were being applied. Be patient and one day they may give you another Mews, I thought.
The bedroom is set apart on the lower level for greater privacy although interestingly it connects with the upper rooms by means of opening shutters, again adding to the feeling of spaciousness in the flat as a whole. A clever arrangement of doors allows the flats main bathroom to be privately accessed from the bedroom.
Eight years after constructing No.17 we have been asked which of the two buildings we now prefer, indeed it is a common question for anyone viewing the two buildings and not one that we have answered yet but there is opportunity here for your thoughts?