Open House: Explore a Hampstead family home that is a marvel of contemporary architecture

PUBLISHED: 10:03 18 September 2015 | UPDATED: 11:36 24 September 2015

33 Heath Hurst

33 Heath Hurst


The architects who re-designed this four storey Victorian house in Hampstead from three flats into a family home aren’t strangers to getting out of tight spots

33 Heath Hurst33 Heath Hurst

For the past two years Open House has been a busy affair for Daniel Rowland, founder of architect firm Studio 1 Architects. Instead of being able to look around the numerous architectural wonders that the event has to offer (including legendary buildings such as the BT Tower and 10 Downing Street), he has been showing off his newly designed properties to the public.

“Open House is actually really cool,” he says enthusiastically. “I usually like trying to see beautifully executed artists’ and architects’ houses. It gives you an insight into personal design styles and into how other people are living.

“Unfortunately because we’ve got three properties, I’ve got to usher people around again this year. I haven’t even looked at what properties are going to be in Open House 2015 as it’s fruitless for me!”

33 Heath Hurst33 Heath Hurst

Perhaps the key house that Rowland will be showing the public this year is 33 Heath Hurst Road in Hampstead. He explains that his client approached him while he was showing her around another Open House 2014 property in Notting Hill.

“She took me to this Heath Hurst property which was originally three flats. We’ve now converted it into a family home,” he says.

Architects often talk lyrically about how they make good use of space, but when Rowland talks about the firm, you can believe him. The aforementioned Notting Hill property was originally a one-bedroom one-bathroom flat, but by the time they had finished it was a three-bed, three-bathroom home.

33 Heath Hurst33 Heath Hurst

“The two things that attracted my Heath Hurst Road client to us were the attention to detail and the use of space in the Notting Hill property,” he says.

Number 33 Heath Hurst is now a fully accessible four-storey Victorian house that sits close to Hampstead Heath. It features a sequence of well positioned skylights and an unusual floating mezzanine (intermediate floor). Despite the dramatic architectural changes, Rowland says that they didn’t have too much difficulty getting planning permission as his firm have good ties with planning officials.

“It’s a case of having open dialogue and trying to get them to understand that what you’re doing is well considered and has integrity. We think about the life length of the project, rather than what it will achieve at this specific moment in time. I think 33 Heath Hurst will settle into the site in years to come.”

33 Heath Hurst33 Heath Hurst

When asked about the moments that have made working on the property special, Rowland laughs.

“The special moments were when we stripped everything out and the work went in for the ribbed skylights because then we started getting an indication of how special they could be. It was a real strength of the project,” he says.

“And then when the mezzanine level was put in place and hung off a very slender steel rod – that was quite exciting as well.”

33 Heath Hurst33 Heath Hurst

The way light works in the home is one reason it would make such a lovely place to visit during Open House. Studio 1 Architects have managed to make the lighting penetrate the entire home to its core – giving a potentially gloomy period house a bright, open feel.

Rowland adds that technically this was very difficult to achieve, calling the finished product “ethereal, light and elegant”. The new look of the home is adored by his clients with whom he has a strong working relationship and who contributed as much as they felt able throughout the process. They were easily persuaded to loan their home for Open House – almost as a thank you for the work that Studio 1 Architects has done.

From the way Rowland talks about his residential projects and the success he’s had so far, it seems unlikely that he’ll be getting to attend Open House as a member of the public in the near future, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t feel a part of the magic.

“I’d call Open House almost a forum of designers coming together for a common good.” he says. “It’s very generous by its nature and it creates a lovely dialogue between people.”To view 33 Heath Hurst Road pre-book with Daniel Rowland by emailing daniel@studio1architects.co.uk

For more information on building your dream home or renovating an existing property, visit The London Homebuilding & Renovating Show (25-27 September, Excel, London, homebuildingshow.co.uk/London) Homebuilding and Renovating Show,

If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Ham&High. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the Hampstead Highgate Express