Before & After: See inside a strikingly modern rear extension in a conservation area

Generally, in conservation areas, developments must either blend in – or be contemporary and of quality. This striking extension ticks the latter – but care was taken to ensure that the extension didn’t overbear neighbours or steal their natural light.

rear extension
(Image credit: Butcher Bayley Architects)

This mid-terrace house in a conservation area of Cambridge has received a bold, colourful and unexpected rear extension.

Designed by Butcher Bayley Architects (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.

See Also: Modern home extension ideas – from side returns and conservatories to lofts and basements

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. 

rear extension before

(Image credit: Butcher Bayley Architects)

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.

rear extension

(Image credit: Butcher Bayley Architects)

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.

rear extension

(Image credit: Butcher Bayley Architects)

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 brought this material traditionally used in public buildings into a small, residential property; creating a big visual impact in the process.

Interior

To create the space desired, new roof lights were positioned to provide waves of natural light during the day. 

rear extension

(Image credit: Butcher Bayley Architects)

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.

rear extension

(Image credit: Butcher Bayley Architects)

rear extension

(Image credit: Butcher Bayley Architects)

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 even received the seal of approval from her mother on a visit from Italy.

kitchen extension

(Image credit: Butcher Bayley Architects)

kitchen extension

(Image credit: Butcher Bayley Architects)

The open-plan kitchen is flooded with natural day light – not only from the large picture window, but also from a generous skylight.

kitchen extension

(Image credit: Butcher Bayley Architects)

A muted palette and wood surfaces keep the atmosphere calm and understated, keeping the spotlight on the garden views.

kitchen extension

(Image credit: Butcher Bayley Architects)

rear extension

(Image credit: Butcher Bayley Architects)

The architects also incorporated a clever built-in desk area, for working from home.

See Also: Striking Home Office Ideas For A Stylish Study

rear extension

(Image credit: Butcher Bayley Architects)

The architects blended the old with the new, for example making a feature out of the original brick wall in the new modern bathroom.

rear extension

(Image credit: Butcher Bayley Architects)

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.”

rear extension

(Image credit: Butcher Bayley Architects)