Northernhay Street

Hilton Barnfield Architects, Exeter, 2018


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A copper-clad extension in Exeter.

Like a finely crafted jewel this copper clad extension sits delicately between an historic Georgian townhouse and Exeter’s Roman City Wall, a Scheduled Monument.

Brown and red hues of weathered sheet metal reflect and complement the tones of the distinctive local red sandstone in the historic wall; board-marked concrete retains a neighbouring garden; white brick creates a subtle plinth to the new perfectly formed addition.

The client’s brief was to create a new dining room which is accommodated in a light filled space topped with a vaulted ceiling reaching to a skylight offering views of blue skies and the canopy of a mature sycamore tree atop the city wall. Slimline bi-fold doors open onto the carefully landscaped garden, which creates a tranquil city centre oasis. A minimally detailed wall-to-roof glazed link allows the new extension breathing space to sit slightly apart from the historic townhouse.

The original dining room of the Georgian property has been refurbished with a bespoke kitchen and large opening connecting through to the new extension. Between the new dining room and the north-east boundary of the property, a utility room is simply crafted. With a tight budget structural materials have been exposed with white brick on one wall and in situ concrete with an integrated polished concrete worktop on the other — both washed with natural light from roof lights and highlighted with carefully installed exposed copper pipework.

Threatened by the presence of a Roman sewer, serious illness for the lone contractor and intricate party wall agreements, meeting the brief was challenging. Despite these complications, the commitment to quality from the client, contractor and design team has led to a gem of a project that transforms the original house into a light-filled home full of character and charm.


  • Begun: Oct 2016
  • Completed: Mar 2018
  • Floor area: 45m2
  • Sector: Residential
  • Total cost: £137,250
  • Funding: private
  • Procurement: JCT Measured Works
  • Address: 46 Northernhay Street, Exeter, EX4 3ER, United Kingdom

Professional Team