Gower Street is part of the Bedford estate’s northward extension of Bloomsbury that started with the laying out of Bedford Square from 1775 onwards. The street takes its name from the family of the 4th Duke’s widow, Lady Getrude Leveson-Gower who oversaw the development of the square and adjoining streets. These buildings in Gower Street were built from the late 1780 onwards and the Estate surveyors insisted on high quality materials such as “best Memel or Riga timber” and stock brick facings as the intended occupants were to be the upper middle classes. The houses were therefore generously proportioned: three bays wide and three storeys high over a basement and with mansard roof behind a parapet.
Johanna Molineus Architects is one of a select group of architects appointed to oversee the redevelopment of Bedford Estates’ extensive property portfolio. As part of Gower Street’s urban renewal, Bedford Estates, a long-standing Johanna Molineus Architects client, has commissioned us to refurbish three unmodernised and currently uninhabitable Grade-II listed, five-storey Georgian townhouses, built between 1780-1820, which have been leased to Camden Council for social housing.
Each building will house three to five residential units, comprising studios and one- to three-bedroom flats, and be completely redesigned and refurbished by the time Crossrail’s brand-new Elizabeth Line opens in 2021.
St James’s Gardens is a sensitively restored and reconfigured Grade II listed three story townhouse located in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in the Norland ward and conservation area. Johanna Molineus Architects have sought to celebrate the historic value of the building through retaining all of the home’s authentic features and returning the interior spaces to their original layouts.
The main alterations were to non-original elements of the lower ground floor which had already been reconfigured due to an extension built to the rear of the property in 1992. Partitions that separated interconnected rooms in this area of the house have been opened up to create a bright kitchen-dining room perfect for socialising with views onto the landscaped garden and outside dining space beyond. In addition to this new space a dividing wall has been reinstated between the original front and rear rooms in line with the original structure creating a clear transition between old and new.
On the ground floor the door leading the rear reception room which was blocked off by joinery has been re-opened instigating a greater ease of circulation through the space and, similar to the lower ground floor, partitions in the non-original rear extension have been removed creating one large reception room.
The kitchenette on the second floor of the building has been replaced with a cosy study and the non-original opening between the two bedrooms on this floor will be closed up to restore the rooms to their previous forms. By removing a lift shaft that ran through the building a new window in the same position and style as one that was there previously has been reinstated into the rear of the building.
The project is a mid-terrace house with a small garden to the rear. The building is located in a conservation area in Notting Hill, London.
While today we would associate Portland Road’s townhouses with highly sought after property, the simple fact is that beyond their front doors, these homes rarely live up to the grandeur which their frontages proclaim. Their 160-year-old structures prevent them from reaching the standards of twenty-first-century living. On receiving the commission from the owner of the house Johanna Molineus Architects set out to fix that.
The client’s brief was to modernise the existing family house and provide additional amenity space. Improving the benefits of natural light, fresh air and the sense of openness was a must.
During our firsts visits with the clients, walking around the property, we discovered original features and particuliarities that became key elements in the proposal. A shared brief emerged with the client and a neutral contemporary language for the works was adopted. The aim was to find the difficult and delicate balance of historical & contemporary. In a natural way, the modernisation of the house also offered an opportunity to emphasise the original character of the property.
Once on the drawing board, we explored the constraints and opportunities of the site. The property underwent extensive internal alterations that included the reconfiguration of the layout, a new rear extension, a new single-storey basement underneath the existing building and garden as well as a new roof terrace.
The intent was to open this narrow property to the rear garden and introduce a new horizontal dimension to the living areas. To achieve this, a double height frameless sliding door was proposed adjacent to an internal double height void. These dual elements of glazing and void connect the lower and upper ground floors directly with the rear garden, creating a seamless threshold allowing the internal rooms to flow effortlessly towards the garden without interruption.
In the new basement level, the insertion of a lightwell ensures fresh air and natural light flood the space contradicting the assumptions of how subterranean spaces are experienced. This excavated lightwell, in conjunction with the internal double height void and glazing, introduces a new dramatic vertical dimension to the property.
At the top of the house, the roof terrace discovers new views of the neighbourhood and anchors this family house in the metropolis of London.
We were commissioned to bring this listed 17th-century H-plan cottage and barn into the 21st century while maintaining the historic fabric of the building and preserving its charm.
We focused on creating a feeling of lightness, brightness, airiness and modernity by opening up the interior to surrounding views by removing walls to create an enfilade effect of one room rolling into another. The low ceilings were removed to expose the original structure and refurbished existing elements and details, such as original beams, which were sandblasted to let the history of the house breathe through in traces of original paintwork and even original nails. On the walls, bespoke tongue-and-groove joinery lends an artisanal quality that complements the original Cotswold stone flooring, all offset by gallery lighting from Artemide.
While today we would associate Portland Road’s townhouses with highly sought after property, the simple fact is that beyond their front doors, these homes rarely live up to the grandeur which their frontages proclaim. Their 160-year-old structures prevent them from reaching the standards of twenty-first-century living. On receiving the commission from the owner of the house JMA set out to fix that.
The project is a mid-terrace house with a small garden to the rear. The building is located in a conservation area in Notting Hill, London. The client wanted their property and its small garden to be reborn as a modern residential dwelling. The client’s brief was to modernise the existing family house and provide additional amenity space. Improving the benefits of natural light, fresh air and the sense of openness.
Walking around the property during our first visit, we discovered original features and particularities that became key elements in the proposal. A shared brief emerged with the client and a neutral contemporary language for the works was adopted. The aim was to find the difficult and delicate balance of historical and contemporary. In a natural way, the modernisation of the house also offered an opportunity to emphasise the original character of the property.
Keeping only the original frontage, JMA redesigned the structure of the mid-terrace townhouse. The property underwent extensive internal alterations, including the reconfiguration of the layout, a new rear extension, a new single-storey basement underneath the existing building, a new garden and a new roof terrace.
The design intent was to open up this narrow property to the rear garden and introduce a new vertical dimension to the living areas creating a seamless threshold allowing the light to flow effortlessly into each space.
To achieve this, thick slabs of oak and sheets of glass form a decisively modern open-riser staircase through which pours a waterfall of natural light from a large, sliding roof light. To emphasise the verticality of the space even further ventilation gaps appear where fixtures and walls meet floors and ceilings, giving the impression that those elements are suspended in space and that surfaces extend ad infinitum. Nowhere is this sense of verticality more prevalent than the exposed white-painted brick wall which spans roof to basement. At the top of the house, the roof terrace discovers new views of the neighbourhood and anchors this new modern home in the metropolis of London.
In the new basement level, the insertion of walk-on glass allows for light to penetrate the space, contradicting assumptions of how subterranean spaces are experienced. These layers of glass, in conjunction with the full height glazed sliding doors to each room, introduce a new dramatic dimension to the property.
Our client commissioned JMA to transform two ground and lower-ground floor maisonettes sitting side by side in a Victorian terrace into one two-storey lateral conversion with two two-storey rear extensions and a courtyard garden to house the client’s contemporary art installations.
As well as significant structural work, we undertook the design of the interior, juxtaposing natural textures in the custom-made detailing: the metal-framed crittall doors are bespoke; the stairways have leather runners and bespoke cast-iron handrails; the state-of-the-art kitchen is fitted with “butterfly cut” marble; shutters are made from iroko wood to the same width as the surrounding brickwork while shelving is made from walnut; and a Venetian plastered wall surrounds the fireplace. The master bedroom has walk-in cedar-lined wardrobes, leather floors, and a bathroom with a fossil sink, bespoke brass fittings and a tumbled granite floor.
Johanna Molineus Architects were commissioned to modernise a Victorian mews house and transform it into a light-filled family home with a spectacular roof terrace.
To create an airy gallery-like interior space, we introduced double-height ceilings by removing floors and installing full-height, counter-weighted Swiss technology windows. The interior has a minimalist, sophisticated look for surfaces and detailing, such as a polished, poured concrete floor in the basement, a steel and oak staircase, and shadow lines around the bespoke cupboards and joinery.
This listed Georgian Vicarage dating to 1722 required a full-gut internal refurbishment that would respect its historic features while modernising the interior to make it suitable as a family home with spaces to showcase our client’s collection of artworks and artefacts.
The building had “good bones” but had not been decorated or remodelled in several decades. We gave the interior a minimalist, stealthily luxurious interior in which original panelling was restored while the floor was replaced with new York stone and the original staircase preserved as it is well-known to architectural historians.
Restoration and adaptation of the buildings that we work on is usually our first approach but there are some projects that need to be drastically remodelling to be fit for purpose or redesigned to address existing issues.
Our client, for whom we refurbished a contemporary London townhouse in South Kensington, reconnected with JMA to replace a two-storey, 1960s mews-style brick building containing four small studio flats above a garage, with a three-storey building containing two one-bedroom flats, two two-bedroom flats, and a new garage.
Despite the original property being a modern building, we had to negotiate planning permission for this newbuild in a conservation area. With this in mind we designed a balanced scheme that remained in the mews style, to satisfy planners, whilst looking contemporary and discreet to satisfy the client.
The site itself was particularly challenging as it sits directly over the London Underground’s District & Circle Line tunnel, creating structural complexities in added additional floors onto the scheme. To create a sense of space in what was also a long narrow site we integrated “railroad”-style apartments and studios with windows at the front and back ensuring a light, bright atmosphere in every room.
Johanna Molineus Architects were comissioned to modernise this listed three-storey terrace house off the busy King’s Road, and to carve more space from the interior, transforming it from a one-bedroom home into a three-bedroom one.
We undertook a extensive refurbishment, almost doubling the footprint of the existing building, while lowering the existing lower-ground floor to create a courtyard. Applying high-specification finishes to the interior, including bespoke joinery, we were able to create a light, bright home with modern standards.
Set in a listed building in a conservation area, we won permission to undertake a full-gut refurb and internal fit-out of this apartment.
We lifted ceilings to let the interior breathe, laid down bespoke charcoaled oak floors, and installed a Bulthaup kitchen with custom-made cabinetry and handles. All materials were chosen for their light-reflecting and light-enhancing qualities, such as the mother-of-pearl minerals in the bathroom’s stonework, and the Boffi and Viabizzuno lighting.
This stucco-fronted, listed late-Georgian/Regency house is set in the most sought-after address in London, and JMA was brought in to remodel it from top to bottom.
We achieved planning permission for a full refurbishment, and focussed on complementing the building’s natural volumes with a mechanical and electrical fit-out and luxurious detailing including top lighting, chandeliers by David Chipperfield, bespoke fireplaces, Tadelakt custom-made bathrooms, and gleaming Italian marble.
JMA were invited to fully refurbish this listed Georgian house in one of London’s most prestigious neighbourhoods.
We were granted planning permission for the first roof terrace in this area, and also for an open-tread floating staircase that we installed to flood the interior with natural light. Applying our elegantly luxurious details to every room – such as butterfly-cut marble and bespoke joinery and shadow gaps around the cupboards and walk-in wardrobes – we created a sense of comfort and harmony.
Our client tasked JMA with winning planning permission for a change of use for this Edwardian building, from a derelict house in multiple occupation to a five-bedroom family villa.
We undertook a full-gut refurbishment to open the living area to the back garden. An elegant set of floor-to-ceiling sliding doors and a moveable wall to divide the kitchen from the dining room. The original Edwardian staircase was beyond repair, so we installed a modern curved staircase that flows through the ground and first-floor levels opening onto the polished concrete floor. The first floor has been carefully reconfigured to become a luxurious master bedroom with a study, the reinstated original fireplace and a sauna in the bathroom. As for the children’s rooms upstairs, we maximised storage space with bespoke cabinetry under the eaves, so the lower the drawer, the deeper they become.