30 Oval Kitchen Table

Two nurses from London both felt that the 1970's conservatories that were attached to the back of their houses were an eyesore and both felt that they would like something new in its place. Both of the women lived next door to each other and amazingly, for London, they got along. So much so that they decided to share the costs of their new conservatories by using the same architect and builder. They both felt that their terraced homes in Hammersmith were too cramped for their needs and so agreed to extend their gardens whilst getting rid of their old conservatories at the same time. One of the nurses knew of an architect whose work she had admired when she had visited a house in the Open House London, this is where architecturally interesting houses are open to the public. So in 2007 both commissioned the same architect to design and oversee the project on both of their homes. The neighbours shared the same builder and split the costs of shared tiles and paint and used some of the same furnishings.

They also shared storage space for furniture whilst the build was going on and used the same removal company. This led to both securing big discounts as they were giving the company twice the amount of business at the same time. They may live in the same terraced street but the pair wanted different things from their extensions, even though were of a similar size. One was 409 sq ft and the other 376 sq ft. The architect admitted that he would not have taken the job on if they were separate projects as they would have been too small but together they were worthwhile for him. Both extensions were completed in 2009 and had a Nordic theme of wood and glass, they were both light and modern and were so impressive that they were shortlisted for New London Architecture's Don't Move, Improve! Competition which took place last year. One of the extensions belonged to a single Nurse who worked in general practice. She had a living area with no internal walls and instead opted for ceilings with steel joists.

She required an open space due to the fact that she wanted to accommodate lots of people. The other nurse wanted a family friendly extension so had three separate areas created in the same space as her neighbour. She had a galley kitchen, a dining room overlooking the garden and a "snug". This room had sound proof doors fitted with a sofa and desk. The two nurses worked together for two years and said that they had no issues about working together on something so major. The single nurse allowed the workmen to use her house as a site entrance whilst the work was going on so the other family paid for the wall separating their gardens as a thank you gift and also arranged for a tree to be removed from her garden. They both say money was never a problem as the two households were billed separately. One thinks that they both saved $10,000 each by sharing the costs but the other feels that they saved 25%. They both bought identical bi-folding doors, saving $1,000 apiece and they tiles that they chose costs them $4 per square foot rather than $6.50.

Also due to the single nurse allowing the builders to use her house as a base the family next door did not have to go into rented accommodation, quite a saving. They both feel that the reason that they did not fall out is due to them working with people under stress in their everyday jobs. Friends were not so convinced at first but were proved wrong and even the builder had his doubts at the beginning of the project. It just goes to show that if you work together then costs can be dramatically reduced. The final costs were $100,000 for the family extension which included furniture and computers, the build costs being $50,000. The other extension was $70,000, $20,000 over her initial budget but this did include moving the kitchen over to another part of the house.

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