Mews were generally built to house stables, and later on garages, at street level, with fodder storage and basic accommodation for coachmen or drivers above. In the twentieth century they rapidly became highly sought-after city dwellings, set quietly, for the most part, behind the grander houses to which they belonged, across a cobbled street or lane. Planning regulations generally insist on the old garage doors remaining intact to preserve the historic sense of a mews, but in some cases the ground-floor premises are now shops.
Because the accommodation was originally a simple set of rooms without much in the way of architectural features, owners have been able to create virtually any sort of interior they desire. The owner of this London house has a shop specializing in Gustavian furniture and object d’art and has decorated it in her favorite style, mixing in French and English pieces. Light and bright, it is filled with glorious eighteenth-century distressed cupboards, tables, chairs, and clocks. The paleness is enlivened by touches of gift, colored tiles, textiles, and fresh flowers.