This mid-terrace house in a conservation area of Cambridge has received a bold, colourful and unexpected rear extension.
Designed by Butcher Bayley Architects (opens in new tab) (BBA), the new extension brings together bold, colourful design, textures and materials – to reflect a young, modern family.
It's not the first time they've transformed the rear of a home in a conservation area in Cambridge – they also breathed new life into this Victorian property.
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Exterior – Before
While the home had enough bedrooms, the downstairs had always felt too small – with too many doors and wasted spaces, alongside a very small kitchen. The core goal of the project was to create more space for the family to grow into and make their own – enjoyable spaces for entertaining young children or family and friends.
Exterior – After
Now nicknamed The Copper House, the renovation features a £110,000 extension that's entirely clad in copper, inspired by public buildings in Cambridge.
A floating oak-clad bench was incorporated into the outer build and a ventilation panel allows fresh air to flow through the house during the warmer months.
The house also boasts a planted roof, big picture window, a window seat and handmade terracotta floor tiles from Italy to reflect the client’s Italian childhood.
The stand-out feature, however, is the unique copper-cladding on the extension. The clients noted their love of a nearby University building in Cambridge, and BBA (opens in new tab) brought this material traditionally used in public buildings into a small, residential property; creating a big visual impact in the process.
To create the space desired, new roof lights were positioned to provide waves of natural light during the day.
A window seat makes the perfect spot to relax, while above, the building’s planted roof provides a view of greenery from the house’s upper floors.
Generally, in conservation areas, developments must either blend in – or be contemporary and of quality. Copper House ticks the latter – but care was taken to ensure that the extension didn’t overbear neighbours or steal their natural light.
This care extends to the finer details of the project itself where, for example, handmade terracotta tiles from Italy are employed as a touchstone for the client’s Italian childhood – and BBA (opens in new tab) even received the seal of approval from her mother on a visit from Italy.
The open-plan kitchen is flooded with natural day light – not only from the large picture window, but also from a generous skylight.
A muted palette and wood surfaces keep the atmosphere calm and understated, keeping the spotlight on the garden views.
The architects also incorporated a clever built-in desk area, for working from home.
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The architects blended the old with the new, for example making a feature out of the original brick wall in the new modern bathroom.
The result of the project is a modern home that has style, but not without substance – it is a home to be lived in.
The home owners tell us: “We are very pleased with the outcome. We are enjoying the space, the light, the newly found connection to the garden – and the large picture window. Especially in these difficult times, we have enjoyed the access to the outside patio and garden and, in general, the improved flow of the house.”
Lotte is the Digital Editor for Livingetc, and has been with the website since its launch. She has a background in online journalism and writing for SEO, with previous editor roles at Good Living, Good Housekeeping, Country & Townhouse, and BBC Good Food among others, as well as her own successful interiors blog. When she's not busy writing or tracking analytics, she's doing up houses, two of which have features in interior design magazines. She's just finished doing up her house in Wimbledon, and is eyeing up Bath for her next project.