London Open House is the annual architecture event that opens doors into 850 public buildings and private houses throughout London. The event started in 1992 and has been copied around the world. While it is intriguing to see inside such buildings as 10 Downing Street, the Embassy of the Slovak Republic or Foster Partners Studio, the chance to visit a private house is more in the spirit of the day for the curious architectural visitor
The Hidden House, designed by Hogarth Architects, in Russell Garden Mews, Kensington, London is one of the rare contemporary homes to view within Open House and one of the most popular. An appearance on Channel 4’s Grand Designs series has made people familiar with the features of the house beforehand and they are fascinated to see it for themselves.
Architects and owners Ian Hogarth and Claire Farrow are expecting a queue along the mews as 1,500 people arrive to visit the house between 10am and 6pm. The tour is organized in groups of twenty-five, and after removing their shoes, three sections at a time circulate upstairs and downstairs, and even though it can take an hour to queue, people often join for a second tour.
The Hidden House is at the end of a traditional mews terrace, and behind the bullet proof blue/black mirror door entrance, described as a ‘rabbit hole’ by Ian Hogarth, there is a contemporary, minimalist, eco-friendly, technological and slightly psychedelic 250 square-metre family house over four levels. The de-luxe features include a large open-plan kitchen with the longest leather sofa this side of Las Vegas; colour-changing lighting inspired by the Blackpool illuminations; the master bedroom has a purple Perspex wardrobe; the basement living and leisure space has a wellness suite, multi-coloured flashing sixties dance floor with DJ booth; a cinema with seven invisible speakers in the wall, and a sunken seating area and garden courtyard with a fishpond and waterfall. The eco-credentials include photo-voltaics, air source heat pump, super-insulation and water recycling achieving Code for Sustainable Homes Code Level 4. It is no surprise to learn that one inspiration for the house was the scene in the Beatles’ film ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ where all four Beatles have identical terraced houses, but once inside the spaces are joined into one groovy pad.
The Hidden House, 39 Russell Garden Mews, London W14 8EU
NB: Viewing for one day only on Sunday 21st September from 10am-to-6pm
London Open House – Saturday 20th and Sunday 21st September
Open House Worldwide has events in 23 cities – including Buenos Aires, New York, Dublin and Galway, Barcelona and Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. For the full up to date list of participating cities see: