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Rory Macpherson - Play Associates

3rd Sep 2014

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The word play is normally associated with recreational pleasure and enjoyment. Psychologists view play as endemic to the human species and highly important to human development for the whole of our lives, so it’s no surprise that these qualities are to found in the homes created by Rory Macpherson of Play Associates.

Leinster Mews is a classic example. Located to the rear of a prestigious Bayswater square, Rory Macpherson purchased the property from the previous owners - his parents - in 2012 and set about a dramatic transformation. As was the design of traditional mews houses, all windows faced away from the main house and with no outside space, it was also their job to draw natural light into the property. Usually a rabbit warren of small rooms designed to accommodate staff, the appeal of mews houses has grown to the point where they are now the most desirable of London pied-à-terre; top of the list for downsizers and full of appeal for young families making their first significant climb onto the property ladder.

Completely demolishing all but the external walls and reconfiguring the blueprint of Leinster Mews, allowed Play Associates to move each of the existing floors upwards to create 3m ceiling heights, adding a completely brand new second floor. Huge frameless skylights were then positioned along the rear roof. As Rory explains, “When you look up it almost appears as though the roof is completely open and this forms part of a triple-height lightwell that has a level of walk-on glass. Opening up the house in this way to ensure the flow of light was good, allowed us to be indulgent in putting back much of the original character of a typical mews house.”

“Being in a cul-de-sac, as most mews houses are, it was very challenging getting all of that glass to site without a crane. To get the skylights in we moved them by hand which took about 15 brave guys one cold, windy and hair-raising day in November!”

The build project took nine months and the effects of such a dramatic transformation are evident inside. The neutral palette of soft whites enhances the spaces and the effect of all of that light is right there from the moment you step through the door. Bouncing off every surface and space this petite house feels huge.

Rory continues, “The overall effect of the completed house is one of total privacy, a complete opposite to its original purpose as a trajectory to the main house."

Now available for sale, Leinster Mews is a stunning home with generous open-plan cooking, living and entertaining space and separate utility and WC on the ground floor. Two bedrooms, a family bathroom and a separate study are located on the first floor and a luxurious master suite with bathroom and dressing room on the top floor. The superlative finishes including American oak floors and a bespoke staircase complement the care and consideration that has been given to every element of the conversion and restoration of this property.

So, are there plans to create a similar project elsewhere? Only here in Notting Hill it seems. Rory explains, “I love this area. It’s where I live and I love the village-like feel and the convenience of having great shops and restaurants, and one of the world’s greatest parks, right on the doorstep.”

With W2 the current hottest investment spot, properties are sought after so it may be some time before another Play Associates home comes up for sale. Better snap this one up whilst its still available…….

View Leinster Mews, currently for sale through Domus Nova

View Play Associates on the Domus Nova Architect Guide

Play Associates, 6 Market Place, London W1W;