This charming mid-terrace, Grade II-listed house lies on Barnes Street, within east London’s York Square conservation area. With a west-facing garden, the house is directly adjacent to the coveted York Square and moments from Limehouse DLR station. The home has a classic stock brick façade and restored sash windows and is set out over two levels, containing two bedrooms and measuring over 850 sq ft. Beautifully designed with a handsome palette of materials, which nod to the local vernacular and heritage, it has recently undergone extensive renovations to preserve and restore the fabric of the building. Sympathetic contemporary interventions include a British Standard by Plain English kitchen and a beautiful bathroom by Albion Bath Company, while dark-stained pitch pine floorboards and intermittently exposed brickwork provide a rich backdrop.
Setting the Scene
Barnes Street is positioned in an area once made up of gardens that supplied markets in the parish of St Dunstan, Stepney and the county of Middlesex. According to Stow’s map of 1755, Barnes Street lies on what was the dividing line between the hamlets of Mile End Old Town to the north and Ratcliffe to the south. For more information, please see the History section below.
The Grand Tour
Entry is to the private hallway with original stained pitch pine floorboards running underfoot and leading to the kitchen/dining area.
The kitchen, dining, and sitting areas are all connected, allowing for seamless open-plan living; the sitting room is at the front of the plan and the kitchen to the rear. Large sash windows at both aspects flood the space with light. The kitchen cupboards are painted bottle-green with handsome slabs of thick granite resting atop, while open shelves are set into the alcoves. Appliances are integrated, and there is a Neff ‘slide & hide’ oven and separate hob positioned in the Carrara marble tile-clad hearth. The kitchen’s sink at the window side overlooks the garden, with a boiling water tap combined within the tap’s mixer for convenience.
Paned glass wedding doors set into a wide architrave lead to the sitting room, allowing the space to feel part of the wider ground floor area when the doors are open but affording a wonderfully intimate atmosphere when shut. Walls are painted deep blue, and fenestration has plantation shutters set within, affording privacy and a sense of seclusion. The chimney stack has been stripped back to its original brickwork, with a warming wood burner making for an exceptionally cosy room. To the rear of the plan on this floor is a study, with entry to the garden through a side door. Storage is conveniently built along one wall, with laundry facilities discreetly set into a tall separate cupboard.
At the top of the original staircase are the bathroom and sleeping quarters. The bathroom is spacious; a glorious roll top bath with burnished exterior and scrolled claw feet is set bedside the window and has floor-mounted brass bibcock taps. The room also functions as a whole wet room. The shower area is wonderfully open and set behind a dramatic single pane of ceiling-height glass; a brass rainfall showerhead is positioned within. The generous vanity unit is crafted from reclaimed scaffolding boards, with two ceramic sinks resting atop and built-in storage underneath. Exposed brick features again in this room, with the chimney stack left unplastered to lend additional character to the space.
The main bedroom is positioned to the front of the plan and has two tall sash windows looking eastward that capture the morning light. Panelled storage cupboards have been built along one wall, and the room has been painted a pale stone colour. The second bedroom is peaceful and overlooks the garden to the rear; it can accommodate a double bed if required.
The Great Outdoors
The charming and spacious private west-facing garden is paved with slate flagstones. It has raised beds and a brick-built barbeque area. Acting as an outdoor room in warmer months, it enjoys the direct sun until 8pm during mid-summer and has a lovely seating area to the rear, perfect for alfresco drinks or supper. Planting includes hydrangeas, figs, eucalyptus with roses, salvias, and for those rare weeks in high-summer, beautiful peonies. Conveniently, there is also a separate secure entrance to the rear of the garden.
Out and About
Barnes Street is a short walk from St Dunstan’s Church, which opens onto Whitehorse Road Park and Limehouse Basin to the south. The green open spaces of Mile End Park, Victoria Park (which provides access to the Regent’s Canal), Stepney Green Park and Stepney City Farm and Cafe are also all a short walk away. The River Thames offers wonderful scenic walks either towards Wapping or the Isle of Dogs.
The famed Punjabi restaurant Tayyabs is nearby, as is the much-loved bakery Rinkoffs and several excellent coffee shops, including Aldgate Coffee House. The eclectic George Tavern is recommended for drinks and occasional music events on Jubilee Street, while the Whitechapel Gallery and independent Genesis Cinema provide cultural distractions. The historic Narrow Street, facing the river, is home to The Grapes – one of East London’s oldest pubs and offering an excellent menu. Local amenities, including a branch of Waitrose, are conveniently located in Canary Wharf. Spitalfields and Shoreditch offer further dining, entertainment, and shopping opportunities, with restaurants including Ottolenghi, Cecconi’s, and St. John Bread & Wine. Spitalfields Market and the surrounding streets now offer shopping opportunities comparable to the West End.
Transport links are excellent; Stepney Green Underground station (Circle, District and Hammersmith & City lines) is within short walking distance, while Limehouse station is less than a minute’s walk and runs National Rail and DLR services into the city. On the DLR line, Bank station connects to multiple onward Underground stations. Due to open later this year, the Elizabeth Line will provide access from Whitechapel (also on the East London Line) to Bond Street in 10 minutes and Heathrow Airport in 38 minutes. Additionally, Cycle Superhighway 3 runs directly along nearby Cable Street, connecting central London and Canary Wharf via a segregated cycle-only pathway along its entire length.
Council Tax Band: D
Barnes Street and the streets surrounding York Square were developed by the lands’ owners, a livery company called the The Worshipful Company of Mercers in the early 19th century. Even today, the area is often referred to as Mercer’s Estate.
The development was designed by the surveyor George Smith and was laid out to enlightened planning principles in a Regency design. It had wide streets, squares and central gardens, forming a spacious and airy street scene that contrasts with some of the high-density areas developed closer to the city.
The area has been wonderfully preserved to this day, with the surrounding streets occasionally used for filming period-set features and with the wonderful Old Ship public house still providing the central hub of a charming and increasingly rare East End community.
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