Orangery style conservatories are very popular at the moment. Orangeries date back to the 17th century and were a form of glass house used, literally, to grow Oranges and other citrus fruit at stately homes across Britain. Of course, most people don’t feel the need to grow citrus fruit in the 21st Century(!), but an interpretation of the style has enjoyed a resurgence in the last decade.
An orangery is a predominantly, but not totally, glazed room, typically with a flat roof, and often with a ‘lantern’ style glass roof. A lantern is a prism shaped glass roof which sits atop the larger roof. Orangeries can be styled in a historical way, in timber or stone, with detailing reminiscent of their historical origins, or in a plainer, more modern style.
We’ve long been drawn to conservatories in the UK, but most people are aware of their limitations. The very large expanses of glass make them hot in the summer, and cold in the winter, the lower insulative value of glass means they leak heat, making them expensive to run. The lack of proper ceiling area makes it difficult to place lighting in them, and their glazed roofs get dirtier more easily, and are difficult to clean.
Orangeries offer an alternative. With lots of glass, they’re still light, airy and refreshing, but, because larger areas of the roof and walls can be insulated properly, their heat is much more easily regulated, allowing them to be comfortable all year round and less costly to your fuel bills. The flat areas of ceiling offer the opportunity to place spotlights, so they can be discreetly and efficiently lit.
Today I went to visit Mr & Mrs Gold, who engaged me to design them an Orangery extension. Their house had an existing conservatory when they bought it, and it typified all the problems listed above. They wanted to replace it with an Orangery style extension, more fully integrated with the house. In addition, their kitchen was tired, and a previous extension had resulted in an oddly shaped and inefficient space. They also had an under utilised garage, which they wanted to convert into a play room.
I designed an extension, only slightly larger than their original conservatory, and alterations to their hallway, kitchen, dining room and garage, to create a separate playroom, utility and ground floor WC, and a large, airy kitchen/dining and family space, encompassing the new orangery.
The result is a beautifully light, spacious an airy home, perfect for family life. The orangery also has large bi folding doors, which open out the entire end wall, allowing their home to flow into their garden. The lantern roof is simply stunning, creating a dramatic, but functional, family room. The kitchen is a much more practical shape now, and fitted with modern, streamlined and well detailed gloss white units, a Corian top, and acid green glass backsplash, it looks so radically different to the old one!
Mr & Mrs Gold used many local suppliers, sourcing their glazing, bi-folds, lantern roof, flooring and even the steel beams from local businesses, which not only supported the local economy, but helped them achieve a better finish by having their suppliers nearby and on hand.
I helped Mr & Mrs Gold design, and seek planning and building regulations permissions, for their project. If you have a similar project in mind, getting in touch with ACHD could be the first step to making it reality…