An artistic twist on a historic cul-de-sac. Hippodrome Mews’ homeowner Harriet Nimmo walks us through the building’s vibrant heritage and inspiring renovation.
There’s a myriad of mews properties across London. But it takes a particular eye for detail to transform a characteristically small plot size into a welcoming home. When it came to the design of Hippodrome Mews, homeowner Harriet Nimmo’s intentions were clear: to create a welcoming environment that channels joy with pastel colours, charming patterns and plenty of sunlight.
The area surrounding Hippodrome Mews is steeped in industrial history. “The name of the mews is one of the only surviving evidential pieces of the Kensington Hippodrome, a racecourse which stretched around Notting Hill between 1837 and 1842,” says Harriet. Hippodrome Mews was used to stable horses and as staff accommodation for the larger houses on Portland Road, before a modernist transformation in the 1960s. The area was also the mainstage of London’s brickfields and potteries in the mid-19th century (the mews neighbours aptly-named Pottery Lane and an original brick bottle kiln on Walmer Road).
Making the move to the area was a “no-brainer,” says Harriet. “I have always loved the vibe of Holland Park and Notting Hill, its creativity and sense of community.” It’s a fantastically private postcode, surrounded by Avondale Park’s leafy treetops. “Hippodrome Mews is barely known by anyone,” Harriet notes. “Especially Black Cab drivers – only the really good ones know where to find it!” As you head down the cobbled enclave lined with understated mid-century façades, the eye is immediately drawn to Harriet’s teal front door.
The property’s layout had been inverted by previous owners, with the kitchen positioned on the top floor and the reception kept downstairs – something Harriet reversed when redesigning the plan. The result is a home that capitalises on space and light, with a bespoke open-plan kitchen on the ground floor and a well-lit sitting room upstairs. Most importantly, Harriet wanted spaces which could “easily and beautifully showcase art that I love.” The home surprises instantly: “It’s like stepping into a treasure chest,” she says. “You do not expect to find such a well-proportioned house as you open the front door; I adore seeing guests’ reactions – ‘Wow, I wasn’t expecting this’ – it’s really rewarding.”
“It’s like stepping into a treasure chest. You do not expect to find such a well-proportioned house as you open the front door.”
After studying Art History at university, Harriet forged a career in luxury goods and culture press and PR for brands such as Prada and Cartier. Today, she works closely with contemporary artists and institutional and independent galleries as well as heading boutique art consultancy Modern Muse Art – a platform for early-career artists and budding collectors. It’s no surprise then, that Hippodrome Mews is a trove of carefully curated artwork and furniture.
As you enter, a wash of pale pinks and fern greens enliven the open-plan living and dining space. There’s a country-pile feel to the tongue-and-groove window seat and L-shaped banquette benches, laid with patterned cushions that harmonise with the colourful prints on the walls. Aesthetic delight is met with modern functionality in the kitchen, featuring immaculate rows of pink cabinets, marble splashbacks and sleek integrated appliances. Harriet describes her interior style as “freestyle, simply including what I like – ensuring each piece and paint colour makes me happy and looks pretty.”
Prettiness ensues upstairs, introduced by a spiral staircase that effortlessly segues between floors. Three bedrooms are finished with chintz curtains and bedspreads, reclaimed side tables and Penny Morrison wallpaper. One bathroom sees a free-standing tub backdropped by a gallery wall of portraiture; the other is a whitewashed space offset by blue Moroccan-style tiling. Then there’s the top-floor living room, brilliantly illuminated by a wall of glazing. The mismatched sofas and armchairs are bound by a cohesive palette of dusty pinks, inky greys, browns and creams. A mirror sits above the staircase, framed on either side by clean-line bookshelves filled with literature and artefacts. As Harriet puts it, “Hippodrome Mews is a colourful expression of what one can do with a unique space.”
“These pink walls carry many fond memories.”
One of Harriet’s favourite aspects of Hippodrome Mews is its suitability for entertaining. “It’s such a great home for hosting,” she says. “Starting on the top floor, with the windows open to the roof terrace and finishing downstairs round our large kitchen table. These pink walls carry many fond memories.” Imagining what a weekend might look like at Hippodrome Mews, Harriet paints an inviting picture: “After dragging myself to the gym, I’d return with a hot coffee from Supermarket of Dreams and the papers. Later, a stroll down Portobello Road. We’d head to Notting Hill’s favourite, The Cow, or host a big Sunday lunch with friends.”
Harriet adds that the communities of Notting Hill and Holland Park have never felt more together, woven with “wonderful suppliers of wine, cheese, chocolate, great new pubs, restaurants and bakeries, alongside artisan boutiques – all specialising in their field.” It’s a neighbourhood defined by local culture and independent businesses, fervently supported by the individuals and families that live here.
Hippodrome Mews is available to purchase for £1,575,000.