Nine Hillgate Street looks like a traditional terraced house in Notting Hill, but inside, it looks more like an art gallery.
And that’s because it was, at one point, a gallery. Seth Stein Architects created this house as an experiment in design and have been using it to show-off art for the past year.
“It was a bit of a playground for us,” says architect Andrew Abdulezer. “We went a bit nuts in terms of the design.” The walls are double-layered with plywood so that the architect could hang art on them, and the large, white walls are free of sockets and lighting fixtures that might get in the way of a larger installation.
Seth Stein Architect has not been too serious with the design, however. There are plenty of playful treats; secret doors moving between different parts of the house, a hidden candle-lit hot tub and a bar tucked into a gold-leaf cupboard in the living room. The ceilings vary from being curved to pointed because, Abdulezer says, they wanted to “play mind games” with the house’s inhabitants.
The technology that runs this house was also part of Seth Stein Architect’s experiment.
They’ve sandwiched photovoltaic cells between the glass panels covering the house's stairwell – so-called “photovoltaic glazing” – and the house also harvests rainwater. Around 12 per cent of the house’s energy is produced through solar energy.
Seth Stein Architects was lucky with the timing of this particular experiment. They applied to dig a basement under the house in 2007, before Kensington ice-berg basements became so controversial.
“At the time, building such a basement was just a response to a tight sight,” Abdulezer says. “Now, of course, things are a bit different.”
The house, however, does not come across as ugly or excessive. Yes, there's a James Bond-style garage, and the house does come with a £6.75m price tag, but Seth Stein Architect’s sleek and modest design makes this place more of an elegant family home than an outlandish bachelor pad.
This seems to have been the intention of the architects. There are three bedrooms in the main part of the house, and a fourth bedroom tucked away in the basement, which, Abdulezer says is for “a family member who wants to be separate.” A moody older sibling, perhaps.
Indeed, before the space was used most recently as an art gallery, Seth Stein Architects rented it out to a family. The children were in the hot tub “scarily often”, Abdulezer says.
Now, play time is over for Seth Stein Architects and it’s time for Nine Hillgate Street grow up and house a family.
Nine Hillgate Street is on the market for £6.75m. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit harrodsestates.com.