This exceptional late-Georgian, grade II-listed house lies within the Bethnal Green Gardens Conservation Area. Set on one of the area’s most historically important green spaces, Paradise Gardens, the two-bedroom mid-terrace house overlooks Museum Gardens and one of Sir John Soane’s last commissions, the church of St John on Bethnal Green. Beautifully designed and recently renovated to an exacting standard, the house is set over four light-filled levels, extends to almost 1,200 sq ft and has a private courtyard garden. The restoration encompasses countless historic and complementary details, including a handsome DeVol kitchen, cast-iron radiators throughout, reinstated Georgian box cornice, chimneypieces, and newly installed tumbled oak parquet flooring.
Setting the Scene
Set on a cobbled single-lane street, the terrace was built for wealthy merchants in the early 19th century. This house and its adjacent companion house were built with brown stock brick, rusticated quoins and channelled stucco on the ground floor, which sets them apart from other houses on the row. Windows on the first and second floors have architraves, and windows on the first floor also have bracketed pediments. Set behind original cast-iron spearhead and urn finial railings, the house is exceptionally peaceful despite its vibrant location, with acoustic glass retrofitted to all street-facing sash windows. For more information, please see the History section below.
The Grand Tour
Entrance is through a six-panel front door, set in a double recessed arch with a semi-circular fanlight. The door opens to the house’s private hallway, where there are views along the entire length of the house, through to the garden beyond, giving a wonderful sense of space and light.
To the right is the dual-aspect dining room and study area, which is a deep room spanning some 20 feet. From the rear, it overlooks the private garden. At the front, through a full-height roundhead box case sash window with shutters, it overlooks the verdant Paradise and Museum Gardens. Walls are painted in the moody Farrow & Ball’s Mole’s Breath; a bullseye stone chimneypiece houses a gas fire in the cast-iron inset.
On the lower level is the spacious and wonderfully bright kitchen. A lowered floor allows for an excellent room height, and the lustre of the polished concrete resin underfoot reflects natural light through the space; it is warmed by underfloor heating.
A contemporary staircase with butt and bead panelling and fine brass balusters opens immediately to the kitchen. Here, Carrara marble rests atop the ‘Pantry Blue’ cupboards by DeVol, which run along the perimeter of the room. There is a matching central island separate central island, and a glass-paned dresser spans one entire wall. The butler sink with an aged brass Ionian crosshead mixer tap is thoughtfully positioned below the window, overlooking the garden. A steel Rangemaster stove is set into the hearth. Additionally, a utility and laundry area has been cleverly concealed in a cupboard below the staircase. There is a separate guest WC.
The first floor is home to the cosy sitting room and separate guest bedroom. In the sitting room there are weddings doors and bipartite six/six sash windows overlooking the London plane trees in the gardens below. A wood burner is set into a black marble bullseye chimneypiece with panelled cupboards and open shelves in the alcoves on either side. Although currently a reception room, it could also easily be configured as a third bedroom or study. The guest bedroom is set to the rear. Painted pale grey, it had a charming decorative cast-iron fireplace and slim fitted wardrobes.
The main bedroom is at the apex of the house on the uppermost floor. East-facing, it welcomes the morning light through its two sash windows. The cast-iron chimneypiece features decorative scrolls and Greek key detailing, with plentiful wardrobing set into alcoves on either side.
The adjacent spacious bathroom is immensely characterful with traditional sanitaryware, and chrome-plated brassware used to great effect. Beautiful hexagonal marble mosaic tiling runs underfoot, while classic Edwardian white tiles clad the walls and the separate shower enclosure. The shower features a large Perrin and Rowe rainfall showerhead and thermostatic valve with open shelves; the separate claw foot rolltop bath is from The Cast Iron Bath Company and has floor-mounted mixer taps and a separate hand shower. The chimney stack has been exposed and lends great strength to the room; the walls are painted deep blue and match the bath.
The Great Outdoors
The courtyard garden has been beautifully landscaped and acts as an additional outdoor room during warmer months – perfect for entertaining or alfresco lunches.
Leading through single-plate glass French doors from the ground floor hallway, slabs of warm-toned sandstone have been laid in a traditional stretcher bond pattern. Raised beds in contemporary pale grey concrete contain beautiful ferns and, at the rear, bamboo. There is a built-in seating area with Western red cedar benches formed around a concrete square-set table and a separate barbeque area positioned to one side.
Lighting has been carefully conceived to create a wonderful low-light ambience at nighttime, while the garden is something of a suntrap between midday and around mid-afternoon.
Out and About
Bethnal Green is one of the most established east London neighbourhoods, and Paradise Row 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, on Paradise Row itself, Mother Kelly’s and Sager & Wilde. 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 Paradise Row. 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, including Museum Gardens and Bethnal Green Gardens. The V&A Museum of Childhood is just opposite, as is York Hall Leisure Centre.
Paradise Row is a 30-second walk from Bethnal Green Underground Station (Central Line) and less than five minutes from Cambridge Heath Overground Station. There are excellent bus links to Hackney, Canary Wharf and central London.
Council Tax Band: F
Paradise Gardens has been a protected green space since 1678, when then-local residents bought it to protect it from overdevelopment. The land, now Grade II-listed, had been part of the unenclosed manorial common within the manor of Stepney. Before that, the park was used for livestock grazing.
The wider area is also protected. It is now part of the Bethnal Green Conservation Area, which includes a cluster of Grade II-listed buildings, including the Bethnal Green Library, Museum of Childhood and York Hall.
The row, built in the 18th and 19th centuries, was home to the famous British boxer Daniel Mendoza (1764-1836). The boxing champion lived at No. 3 Paradise Row, and there is a blue plaque commemorating his time here. According to Charles Booth’s map of London, Paradise Row would have been a relatively rare wealthy row of houses in a predominantly poor area when it was built.