This unique reconfigured Victorian stable block, with an enclosed courtyard garden and private gated entrance, lies on Temple Street at the edge of Bethnal Green and neighbouring Hackney. An incredibly flexible live/work complex, the house is divided into two entirely interdependent buildings seamlessly linked by an internal garden. The house measures 1,670 sq ft internally and has been designed and decorated by Rachel Chudley, coming together in a joyous marriage of maximalism, historicism and modernity.
Setting the Scene
Originally built as part of a small four-block speculative development by Charles and Henry Winkley between 1899-1904, the Winkley Estate – of which this building is a part – was designed with furnituremakers in mind. There are high-fronted shops on the outer streets, warehouses and terraced housing in the centre, and small workshops nestled in the mews courtyards behind. This house is positioned to the side of Crown Works Pottery, originally home to cabinetmakers and French polishers, and today the residence of various creatives and artists.
The Grand Tour
An entirely unique live/work proposition, the plan celebrates colour, pattern and texture. The recent extensive works have created a functional yet dramatic space, which honours the industrial history of the original structure. Entry is through custom-designed wrought-iron gates into the first of two courtyards, where an arresting roofscape with its original undulating design sits atop the studio building. A glass door opens to a generous hallway with built-in storage running the length of the building; this space is the main artery that connects the two buildings. Polished concrete runs underfoot across both ground floors and underfloor heating has been installed throughout.
The generous studio space has a kitchen area to the rear. Here, cabinetry is clad entirely in custom made square tiles by Balineum in a deep, rich burgundy. Stairs lead to the mezzanine, currently configured as an office area. Towering windows on both sides of this room are designed to reflect the curve of the pitched ceiling and allow a wonderful quality of light to flood in.
The verdant courtyard garden at the centre of the plan leads to the glass-fronted kitchen and dining area of the main house. A wall of kitchen countertops made from iroko wood is lit from above by a glass aperture spanning the width of the room. Cupboards are clad in acid-stained copper, reclaimed elements such as industrial handles and wooden shelves feature throughout, and a majestic bronze cooker hood acts as a centrepiece. Walls are painted in ‘Pickled Ginger’, one of many colours created especially for the house in collaboration with Donald Kaufman Color.
To the left of the kitchen are a guest bedroom and a shower/steam room with built-in speakers and custom lighting. A marble font salvaged from a church takes the place of a traditional sink. In the adjoining living room, high ceilings create a wonderful sense of space and a unique skylight allows a subtle quality of light in. Walls are limewashed in ‘Honey Brown’, a collaboration between Chudley and Francesca’s Paint and a wood burner is nestled within a painted brick chimney stack; perfect for whiling away evenings by the fireside. Floor-to-ceiling French doors look out to the courtyard garden.
A staircase rises from the inner hallway to the first floor, where sleeping accommodation can be found. The main bedroom is on the left and the secondary on the right; both have colour-washed floorboards, high mono-pitch ceilings and built-in cabinetry. In the main bedroom, a Crittall-style glass and wood partition acts as a lucent wall between the generous en suite bathroom and sleeping area, affording a degree of privacy while allowing light to flow uninterrupted. A bath by Aston Matthews encased in iroko wood affords the opportunity to lie back and enjoy the tranquillity of the room.
The Great Outdoors
The private inner courtyard garden is a wonderfully easy space to maintain and acts almost like an outdoor summer room. It has original York stone setts and a wall of climbing jasmine, providing the perfect space for alfresco dining in summer. Glass doors give direct access to the kitchen, enabling easy entertaining and chatting-whilst-cooking space.
The first courtyard at the front of the plan has a secure, enclosed space for parking. However, this is currently used as an area for large planters filled with shrubs that greet guests with a welcoming bloom of greenery on their arrival.
Out and About
Bethnal Green is one of the most established east London neighbourhoods, and Temple Street lies at its heart. The area has an exciting mix of traditional pubs and cafes, such as E Pellicci, Tayyabs and The Approach Tavern, as well as a new wave of bars and restaurants including Brawn, Redchurch Brewery and Sager + Wilde on Paradise Row. Common E2 is just around the corner for coffee, while the lauded Laughing Heart and Marksman pubs are within walking distance. The area is home to many design and architecture practices as well as great small commercial galleries, including Maureen Paley, Modern Art, and Herald St.
Broadway Market and Columbia Road Flower Market are within easy walking distance of Temple Street. Slightly further afield is Brick Lane and Shoreditch, while an enjoyable walk along Regent’s Canal leads to Victoria Park and Haggerston Park. There are numerous small local parks – Cameron Best Park at the end of the street, and Middleton Green a block away. The V&A Museum of Childhood is very close by, as is York Hall Leisure Centre.
Temple Street is equidistant from Bethnal Green Underground Station (Central Line) and Cambridge Heath Overground Station. There are excellent bus links to Hackney and central London.