Mews

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22-mews-book

   Mews were invented in London several centuries ago. Originally, they were the buildings in the centers of blocks where the carriage horses were kept. Grooms and stable-hands slept in the rooms above. Like many urban building types, they slid into neglect and decay throughout much of the industrial revolution, only to be rediscovered about forty years ago. Today, Mews are must-haves for all of the cool people in London. Why are they so good?

   [1] They have a better and more regular sense of enclosure than most city streets, making them feel more like an outdoor room. And the space is small; usually about thirty feet wide. So they feel charming and intimate.

   [2] The classic arched mews entry pictured here creates a sense that you’re entering something special, not just going down another alley.

   [3] The spaces are so charming that they attract their own retail and service businesses. Sometimes it’s a corner store or a boutique clothing establishment. Mews pubs are legendary. Or maybe it’s an architect starting their practice.

   All of this depends, of course, on the mews being planned into your neighborhood by your planner. They slip easily into the center of most blocks if the land isn’t too hilly, but only if the planner draws them that way. New Urbanist planners have talked about them for about a decade, but nobody has actually drawn them until the past two years. To our knowledge, the Mouzon Design Mews in this book were the only Mews plans that have working drawings already prepared that you can purchase. That will certainly change someday, of course. But for now, these are the only ones. So if you need another Mews plan type, let us know, and we might be able to design it for you based on material we already have; it’s more efficient than starting from scratch.

   The rules of Mews are similar to those of Townhouses. Because three sides are enclosed (the rear is solid so as not to intrude on the privacy of the courtyard behind) light is precious. We design that wall to be primarily windows, flooding the house with light. All of the space-saving principles of Cottages and Katrina Cottages apply. For example, we regularly design Mews bedrooms with armoires (which have 3/4” walls) rather than closets (which have 5” walls.) Do these things, and it’s a very cool unit.

© Mouzon Design 2014