House for a Doctor

Whittaker Parsons, London , 2021



All photographs Jim Stephenson     Download Original

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The sustainable renovation and remodelling of a former Victorian corner shop in the Globe Road Conservation Area for a cancer research doctor and his lodgers.

Whittaker Parsons completely overhauled the property, originally constructed by The East End Dwelling Company, which was cramped and unwelcoming. Identifying that improvement, not expansion, of space, was the solution – building less, but better – Whittaker Parsons advocated a retrofit with sustainable, affordable materials at its heart.

A poor-quality extension was removed and replaced with a courtyard garden (including built-in bench and bee blocks). The circulation through the house was reconfigured, to create a welcoming double-height entrance space in the centre of the plan. An emphasis was placed on salvage and reuse of materials, plus the thermal and acoustic upgrading of the historic fabric. The house has been transformed into a warm sanctuary for contemporary living.

The interior material palette was informed by the materials uncovered on site. The existing floorboards were relaid and hand-sanded, the existing staircase was carefully dismantled; its timber reused in the new staircase. The beautiful existing, Victorian dark-green glazed tiles and black chimney surrounds found in one of the existing bedrooms informed the design of the new bathroom, kitchen and glazing.

The new spaces are finished in a combination of exposed plaster walls and paint to create a calm textured set of spaces. The stair itself contains ample storage, suitable for multiple occupants, and also a surprise jewelbox of the understair loo, also lined in plywood, finished in a rich golden-brown stain with the expressed soffit of the staircase overhead.

‘Whittaker Parsons has transformed the space, creating an elegant entrance hallway and new indoor and outdoor living spaces that all flow together. The result is a beautiful, functional sanctuary which maintains the unique character of the property.’

Annual CO2 data was not provided


  • Begun: Jun 2020
  • Completed: Mar 2021
  • Floor area: 103m2
  • Sector: Residential
  • Total cost: £140,000
  • Funding: Private
  • Tender date: Mar 2020
  • Procurement: Traditional
  • Address: Globe Road, Bethnal Green, London , E2 0NS, United Kingdom

Professional Team