Architect: Madigan & Donald

Murray Mews
London NW1

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This substantial four-bedroom mews house (1,927 sq ft) was built in 1988 to a design by the architects Sean Madigan and Stephen Donald, and is an outstanding example of the architecture of the era. It is located on the ever-popular Murray Mews, in the Camden Square Conservation Area.

Accommodation comprises four double bedrooms, two bathrooms, a large reception room, a dining area and a garage. The house has plenty of outside space, with a patio garden at the rear and two roof terraces, so there is always a sunny spot for sitting out.

Hailed in the architectural press as an early example of the luxury mews house, the property was constructed to a very high standard. It has a number of fine details, including a curved bay window overlooking the garden on the ground floor, a hollowed-out concrete pillar that runs through the core of the interior, and door furniture by Jasper Morrison. There is also a two-storey curved window with acid-etched glass in a chevron pattern, designed by Ray Bradley. The house has been built using recycled London stock bricks, with cubist forms and geometric metalwork. It was the subject of a large feature in the RIBA Journal shortly after it was built (see the History section).

Murray Mews is a quiet cobbled street just off Camden Square. The house is approximately equidistant between the Underground stations at Camden Town (Northern Line), Kentish Town (Northern Line) and Caledonian Road (Piccadilly Line). Camden Road train station is close at hand, and there are Overground services from Kentish Town and Caledonian Road. The house is also well placed for access to the Eurostar terminal at King’s Cross.

Murray Mews is within the catchment area of Camden School for Girls. As well as this property, it contains a number of other outstanding modern houses by well-known architects, including Tom Kay and Team 4 (Richard Rogers and Norman Foster’s original practice). The mews has always been particularly popular with architects.

 

Please note that all areas, measurements and distances given in these particulars are approximate and rounded. The text, photographs and floor plans are for general guidance only. The Modern House has not tested any services, appliances or specific fittings — prospective purchasers are advised to inspect the property themselves. All fixtures, fittings and furniture not specifically itemised within these particulars are deemed removable by the vendor.


History

The house on Murray Mews was built by John French, a structural engineer. He purchased the plot in January 1988, and authorised Madigan and Donald to prepare the working drawings. Construction work started in February 1988 and was completed in October.

In a feature about the house in the RIBA Journal, Richard Wilcock wrote, “[Donald] decided to bring the ground floor forward, right up to the building line, in front of the houses on either side. The façade is symmetrical with a central entrance door flanked by the garage and kitchen. Projecting these forward allowed Donald to insert an area of glazed pitched roof behind the tall brick parapet. This supplements the light from the four-square windows…

“Rising above the ground floor are the two first-floor bedrooms and above these is a bedroom with a large roof terrace. Second-hand London stock brick [was] used – a requirement of the planners – and their expressive texture, emphasised by a series of angled-brick courses, lends an almost primeval air to this elevation.

“The standard of detailing and quality of materials are immediately apparent… Steamed beech is used for the flights of stairs, which appear to float between the enclosing walls and the central, hollowed-out concrete pillar. The concrete has been smoothed and finely polished so that it has an appealing tactile quality, and there are cut-outs and slate ledges to create what Donald refers to as ‘pausing and what’s-going-on?’ places. Climbing the staircase reveals a two-storey curved window with glass etched by Ray Bradley. The acid-etched chevron pattern, with a two-layer effect achieved by etching both sheets of a sealed double-glazed unit, becomes denser towards the top of the window. This [produces] an intriguing pattern of reflected light on the stairs and landings.”

 


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