What lies within

Mayfair is known more for its traditional interiors than sleek, cutting-edge design. Mary Wilson finds two homes that buck the trend

Behind the traditional façades of handsome Georgian houses, towering Victorian mansion blocks and pretty mews properties that make up central London's Mayfair, you might find a prestigious 10,000 square foot family home, a conversion into apartments or typical pied-à-terres with high ceilings and period features.

Behind the traditional façades of handsome Georgian houses, towering Victorian mansion blocks and pretty mews properties that make up central London's Mayfair, you might find a prestigious 10,000 square foot family home, a conversion into apartments or typical pied-à-terres with high ceilings and period features.

What you rarely find is a house that has been converted into a totally contemporary home, the sort of thing you might expect to find in Clerkenwell or Covent Garden, but not in good old conservative Mayfair. However, there are currently two houses - one a six-storey cream-painted Georgian gem, the other a pretty Victorian coach house - that belie their exterior once you are through the front door.

Richard Franklin's converted coach house is in Bourdon Street, W1, a quiet backwater just behind Berkeley Square. From the outside, it appears to be a conventional Victorian redbrick mews house. But it is a different story inside. "I was ideally looking for a house in Clerkenwell or Islington and never dreamt of living in Mayfair," says Franklin. "But I loved this house as soon as I saw it and have been here for five and a half years."

Franklin, who owns and charters a beautiful yacht in Palma, Majorca, is now selling up after finding that he needs to be in London less and less. "Bond Street is only 100 yards away, and there is always a taxi in Berkeley Square. Canary Wharf was only 15 minutes away on the Tube, and when I worked in the City, it was a wonderful place to come back to after a 10-hour day."

One side of Bourdon Street is lined with a row of the identical coach houses, most of which have the traditional small-room layout. Although Franklin's house looks just like the rest with its double garage doors on the ground floor, inside it is light, bright and spacious. Enter via the steep, narrow stone steps and you move from the past to the present. Floors and stairs are in beech throughout, except for the kitchen and bathrooms, which have slate-blue rubber flooring. The kitchen and the two bathrooms are up or down five or six steps from the rest of the living space; the changing levels add to the charm of the place.

Three large bedrooms occupy the whole of the first floor, all boasting impressive 10ft-tall beech veneered doors. A very private teak-decked terrace - said to be quite a sun-trap - is accessed from the master bedroom through sliding patio doors. A clever design trick of inserting large glazed panels into the side walls of the bathroom and dressing room at each end of the terrace ensure that each room is light and airy. But the pièce de résistance is the 28 feet 6 inches by 22 feet 6 inches reception room, which Franklin had sited on the top floor. "Most of the other coach houses have this room on the first floor," he says. "But it is so much better at the top of the house because you have the vaulted ceiling and a much more interesting space."

Indented niches have been built into the room's white walls for display purposes, and an understated fireplace with a solid limestone hearth is set into a grey glazed screen at one end of the wood-beam vaulted room. The dining area is set under one of the eaves. "The house hardly needs any maintenance," he says, "and I have recently redecorated and painted the outside of the property as the landlord, Grosvenor, requires the exterior to be done every three years." He pays only a peppercorn rent.

The neat kitchen has a stainless-steel worksurface and splashback with beech cupboards. A remarkable amount of storage has been built into the fabric of the house, ensuring that the "minimalist" look can be maintained. In one of the bedrooms, which Franklin is currently using as his office, there is a massively deep and wide cupboard behind beech-faced doors and a huge blanket box, also built in. "These are worth their weight in gold," he says.

At the end of the long garage - big enough for a limo or two small cars - there is ample space for luggage, surf boards and skis; all the paraphernalia a young man about town needs. Beauchamp Estates and Wetherell are selling the Bourdon Street house for £1.375 million with a 101-year lease.

In nearby South Audley Street, an imposing six-storey house has been brought back to life as a newly contemporary family home, after many years of mixed use as offices and apartments. "Mayfair is a traditional address, so it is nice to see some of the houses being done in a way which will appeal to the younger market moving into the area," says Mark Orbrys of Cluttons, which is selling the 4,264 sq ft house for £4.5 million.

The house, with its striking three-sided front with ornate pillars, pediments and window detailing, was taken "right back to the core", says architect Stuart Miller. "Inside it all was the original timber-framed Georgian construction, all of which had to be stabilised and strengthened without losing the important internal period detail."

Working closely with conservation officers, Miller has successfully retained lovely windows, plasterwork and fireplaces while totally refurbishing the four-bedroom three-bathroom home. Flooring throughout is now solid oak, windows have been sensitively double-glazed for both heat and sound insulation, and the entire house has ceiling speakers linked to a computer-controlled sound system and wall-installed plasma screens.

The formerly dark interiors are newly white and light. On the lower ground floor the handbuilt oak and limestone kitchen boasts one entire storage wall, including a temperature-controlled wine store; and the family eating area leads outside to a courtyard terrace. A double reception room occupies the ground floor and the 34 feet drawing room is on the first floor. Above are the bedroom floors. On the top three floors, there are four bedrooms and three bathrooms. The master bedroom suite's bathroom, in white Russian oak and white granite, has its own sauna; the other bathrooms and shower room are in limestone and oak. A passenger lift runs from basement to third floor.

Beauchamp Estates (020-7499 7722)

Wetherell (020-7493 6935)

Cluttons (020-7262 2226)

Discover more property articles at Homes and Property
News
Emma Watson has become the latest target of the 4Chan nude hacking scandal
people
News
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
Sport
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
football
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Worldwide ticket sales for The Lion King musical surpassed $6.2bn ($3.8bn) this summer
tvMusical is biggest grossing show or film in history
Voices
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
Arts and Entertainment
Salmond told a Scottish television chat show in 2001that he would also sit in front of a mirror and say things like,
tvCelebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
News
i100
Life and Style
food + drink
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

EBD Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: Science Teacher Greater Manchester

Humanities Teacher

£120 - £162 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Humanities teacher required for ...

English Teacher

£120 - £162 per day: Randstad Education Hull: ENGLISH TEACHER REQUIRED - Humbe...

Chemistry Teacher

£120 - £162 per day: Randstad Education Hull: We are looking for a Qualified C...

Day In a Page

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits