2019 London Design Awards

spaces, objects, visual, graphic, digital & experience design, design champion, best studio & best start-up, plus over 40 specialist categories

accelerate transformation, celebrate courage, growing demand for design

Image Credit : Agnese Sanvito





Project Overview

The conversion of a former commercial garage with a first floor apartment above, located in a mews in the Bayswater Conservation Area of London, creating in its place a stylish and free-flowing 3-bedroom/2-bathroom family home. The spacious, light-filled refurbishment features stand-out new staircases in solid and slatted oak and a brand new lower-ground storey, which increases the property’s floorplate by a third.

Project Commissioner

Sizona Property Development

Project Creator

Neil Tomlinson Architects


Neil Tomlinson
Borja Santoro
Emma Hunter
Joaquim Roca

Project Brief

To create a clean, crisp and architecture-led interior, with exposed brickwork and the use of high-quality, tactile, natural materials thoughout. As the property was in a Conservation Area, the generous street-level open fenestration and open facade, associated with the former workshop unit typology, had to be maintained. To add a new basement level to the property to maximise potential and to create the optimum space plan to maximise light ingress, as the property had only one existing aspect and no light whatsoever available from the rear. To ensure a feeling of space and interconnectivity between all storeys.

Project Innovation/Need

Creating a new 52 sq m lower-ground storey with a bespoke, light-reflecting white kitchen featuring gloss lacquer carcasses and white quartz worktop, as well as new dining/seating areas.

The new design also ensured the new home was as open and light as possible by introducing two new stand-out bespoke staircases in oak, located in the perfect position to maximise light to both the lower-ground and first floors. The stair from the ground to the lower ground floor, bringing natural light down from the ground floor façade glazing, is in solid oak, whilst the stair from the ground to the first floor is highlighted by a screen of vertical European oak balusters increasing light ingress to the rear of the ground floor and underlining a feeling of space.

Minimalist furniture works with the architectural feel of the interior on the ground floor, aided by a sculptural wooden artwork and a stand-out photographic artwork of a cloud caught in time by leading artist Berndnaut Smilde. The stair and main features of the house are lit by concealed lighting hidden within stair ceiling edges by LED tape lights. The property has underfloor heating throughout, as well as a Sonos AV system with speakers concealed in the ceilings.

Design Challenge

As mews properties are traditionally long and thin, it was important to create a feeling of spaciousness and light throughout. The new lower ground floor is arranged with access right at the front of the space plan, borrowing natural light from the glazed ground floor building façade, with additional artificial light in the form of a suspended bare-bulb chandeliers here and over the kitchen island from Buster & Punch.

The upper floor gained extra light from three new rooflights, two of which are over the bathrooms and a third larger one directly over the open slat stair up to the first floor. The rearmost part of this roof slot is left open to the elements to form a small outside space, adjoined by a full height naturally-lit window into the rear bedroom.

As land value is a premium in this part of Notting Hill, the usually awkward triangular spaces beneath the stairs were used for the main water pressurised tank and boiler equipment (basement stair) and as a bicycle store and a/v equipment room (ground floor to first floor stair).
To keep the look and feel of an exposed brick wall at the rear of the property on the ground floor, when the existing wall’s thermal values were not sufficient, a duct wall was introduced with brick slip cladding, ensuring the requisite new thermal values, but with the required look and feel.


The extensive use of timber throughout is all FSC-certified oak. Natural light has been maximised through the space plan and addition of three rooflights, whilst the underfloor heating is energy-efficient.

This award celebrates innovative and creative building interiors with consideration given to space creation and planning, furnishings, finishes and aesthetic presentation. Consideration also given to space allocation, traffic flow, building services, lighting, fixtures, flooring, colours, furnishings and surface finishes.
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