The Oak Shed

Hilton Barnfield Architects, Devon created a smart response to a challenging site. The Oak Shed is situated in the rural village of Payhembury, East Devon on the outskirts of Honiton. Three unique volumes characterise the design. These three volumes respond to the complex geometry of the site and negate issues of massing and overlooking. A fluid arrangement of kitchen, dining and living spaces form the basis for this bespoke new build dwelling. The proximity of neighbours created complex relationships on a tight infill site. These challenges were addressed through sensitive design to create a unique, light filled home.

Returning to the house was also a reminder of how happy we are here.


Client – Payhembury

Unconventional Footprint

With an unconventional footprint, the site demands a proposal that is atypical in its form. In order to meet the client’s brief, the design employs an architectural language that is both sensitive and contextual. Exposed raw materials and a modest palette of materials add interest whilst creating a simple, timeless and grounded aesthetic.

The 3 built volumes re-inforce the rural vernacular and their composition on the site creates a central courtyard garden, around which the living areas pivot. This serves to create a more introvert relationship and connection with outdoors from the house whilst taking advantage of the south-westerly aspect, away from the front elevation and streetscene. Carefully crafted views and layers of transparency interconnect the series of small spaces. These layers create a sense of depth and space that defies the homes modest proportions.


Separated from the road by a small brook – construction was challenging and the relationship between Hilton Barnfield Architects, Devon and the contractor was critical to a successful project, local East Devon builders A.R. Boland Ltd. Given the constraints of the site and design the contractors managed the challenges incredibly well. The design incorporated eco features such as an Air Source Heat Pump, Mechanical Ventilation Heat Recovery and high levels of insulation  to future proof the home.

Payhembury, Devon