Neigh­bours so loved Fred and Laura Gut­tfield’s Vic­to­rian ter­race ex­ten­sion they asked for one just the same. Right, said Fred. By

Evening Standard - West End Final Extra - ES Homes and Property - - Our Home -

SOME new ideas are so good you won­der why every­one doesn’t do it. In clas­sic com­muter belt Twyford, Berk­shire, just 40 min­utes from Padding­ton, ar­chi­tect Fred Gut­tfield has built a steeply an­gled ex­ten­sion on the back of his Vic­to­rian three-bed­room ter­race house. Fred and his wife Laura, who works in HR, live in a con­ser­va­tion area.

The ter­race is in tra­di­tional wire-cut red brick. When the neigh­bour­ing cou­ple, who were away dur­ing the build, came home to see the smart pitched ex­ten­sion with its huge slid­ing win­dows to the gar­den, and big airy kitchen-liv­ing room re­plac­ing a poky, cramped kitchen dog­leg, they promptly asked Fred, 32, to de­sign them a mir­ror-im­age ex­ten­sion on their own home.

The re­sult­ing sym­met­ri­cal pair are now nick­named the Berk­shire Twins. In­stead of be­ing the usual hodge­podge of ex­ten­sions we’re all used to see­ing, this snappy dou­ble act raises the value of the in­di­vid­ual prop­er­ties more than any mis­matched ex­ten­sions ever could. Each ex­ten­sion adds 20 per cent more space as well as cre­at­ing a fourth bed­room and a sec­ond bath­room out of pre-ex­ist­ing space. The two homes were ex­tended and fully re­fur­bished two years apart, all on tight bud­gets. The Gut­tfields made con­stant tough de­ci­sions on prices and Laura, 36, did the sourc­ing. Their own ex­ten­sion came in at £90,000, with no fees and Fred dou­bling as a builder and the con­trac­tor, and the work for neigh­bours Nasima and Gareth Dunne was £145,000.

The Gut­tfields made the now-clas­sic de­ci­sion of mar­ry­ing Ikea kitchen car­casses with ex­pen­sive work­tops. Fred de­signed the smart open stor­age racks in their kitchen and the very cov­etable mod­ern din­ing table. Their white goods came from a bud­get sup­plier.

With Fred run­ning the project and muck­ing in with the builders, their ex­ten­sion was done in a su­per-fast four months. He en­joyed it, while learn­ing new skills, and how to or­gan­ise things ef­fi­ciently — all in­valu­able to an ar­chi­tect and to their clients. “I get a real buzz out of see­ing how good de­sign changes peo­ple’s lives,” he says. The cou­ple met on­line in 2010 while both rent­ing. En­gaged in 2011, they soon re­alised that they were priced out of any­thing ex­cept a small flat. So they went house-hunt­ing fur­ther afield. Be­cause their two fam­i­lies are west, and be­cause Fred likes fish each week­end they took a Great Wes train along the river to a dif­fer­ent stat got off, and looked around. The

Matchy-matchy: Fred and Laura with next-door neigh­bour Nasima Dunne

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