Dream Devon Home

The Counting House

Sensitive design and a thoughtful use of materials have transformed this house, located in a Dartmoor beauty spot, writes Belinda Dillon

Belinda Dillon
6 July 2015

The key to adapting a historic building into a comfortable living space lies with sensitive design and the use of appropriate materials. A hand-crafted timber frame from Devon-based Carpenter Oak helped transform this Victorian counting house into a beautiful yet practical and efficient home. 

 Set in a beauty spot on Dartmoor along the River Plym, for 100 years this building was home to the wage captain responsible for paying the men who came on foot from surrounding villages to work in the china clay pits.  

Architect Mike Hope, from Totnes-based Roderick James Architects, and his wife Zoe wanted to retain as many of the original features as possible. After removing plasterboard and a layer of pencil-bead tongue and groove boarding from the walls – which were carefully restored and re-used – the original Baltic pine frame was revealed. 

 A timber-framed building made sense to both Mike and Zoe and the planners; the extension was created using a new green oak frame resting on six foundation pads, which was necessary because of the proximity of extensive root systems to the build site. To create a light, airy space, traditional oak diagonal braces were replaced with stainless-steel-rod bracing panels. 

 The counting house has impressive eco-credentials, designed and installed by Sungift Solar of Exeter, with its own borehole, wood-burning stoves, underfloor heating, solar panels and an air-source heat pump driven by electricity which produces 3kw of heat from an intake of 1kw. 



“As the house is located in Dartmoor, every care was taken with the detailing”

Woodburner by Dean Forge
Timber cladding
Hallway leading to conservatory

About Devon Home magazine

Devon Home is published by We Make Magazines, a family-owned Devon company. The only specialist interiors magazine for the county, Devon Home is a celebration of homes, gardens and interiors, with expert information from local designers, architects and craftspeople. Together with our Devon-based writers and sales team, we show you how to improve and love your living space.

Tell us what you think…

Devon Home is your magazine. If you know of a business that you would like to share with other readers we would love to hear from you.

Publishing Enquiries
Jeff Cooper: 01626 871161

Editorial Enquiries
Jennie Cooper: 01626 871161

Advertising Enquiries
Julie Hutchins: 07843 621463

Devon Home AutumnWinter front cover