Conventional wisdom defines conservatory as either a school giving instruction in one or more of the fine or dramatic arts; (specifically, a school of music) or a greenhouse, usually attached to a dwelling, for growing and displaying plants, or a place where things are preserved.
To look at a conservatory, one is always struck with the first impression that the attachment is a separate entity, one that was added in the original construction as a special feature to the house, or one that was added after the original build in an effort to expand a home’s size, add a specific design aesthetic for the home, or provide a real greenhouse space for the homeowner.
Conservatories were first imagined and constructed for the English aristocracy. Through the ages, the design, engineering, manufacturing and custom features have made custom made conservatories the ultimate in elegance and contemporary showmanship.
I’ve always been fascinated by conservatories. A friend of mine had a small conservatory in her home, in which she housed her breakfast room. She had it outfitted in an ultra-cool vine wallpaper and even had a vine tablecloth to match! It was the envy of all her friends. Ever since then, I’ve had a growing fascination and love for them.
Here is a collection of conservatories, orangeries and greenhouses, which are basically all the same thing these days, unless you want to get specific about the details and perhaps the use for each.
This Victorian conservatory looks more like a little church with steeple ready to invite it’s parishioners. Vale Garden Houses, UK.
This beautiful conservatory blends seamlessly into this elegant home. Vale Garden Houses, UK.
This traditional lean-to conservatory doesn’t have the dramatic effect of some of the conservatories shown here, but I’m sure the extra space and light that it affords is well worth it. Vale Garden Houses, UK.
This traditional glasshouse conservatory definitely looks like an after-build addition. Vale Garden Houses, UK .
Another traditional glasshouse conservatory. This one with steeples to mark the front and side gables. Vale Garden Houses, UK.
Using a conservatory
Interiors of a conservatory are multi-functional today. This conservatory is both an eating space and a living area. The custom made shades covering the roofing glass softens the space. Vale Garden Houses, UK.
A beautiful example of making a conservatory, which could have been a cold room, a warm and welcoming space. Vale Garden Houses, UK.
A living space directly off of the kitchen. The gothic arches in the window panes give the room the detail it needs. Vale Garden Houses, UK.
This kitchen conservatory is traditional in design, but the multi-directional glass panels give it a futuristic feel. Vale Garden Houses, UK.
Another kitchen conservatory, this one a bit more serene and styled in a country motif. Vale Garden Houses, UK.
This family room conservatory employs the color of cream to blend both ceiling glass panels and furniture. Vale Garden Houses, UK.
One of my favorites, this dining room conservatory has a beautiful crystal chandelier and roman styled arched window details that add elegance to this space. Vale Garden Houses, UK.
Another dining room conservatory. This one brings a lot of greenery into it, which I think is a little overkill, given all the greenery right outside the window. Vale Garden Houses, UK.
This multi-purpose conservatory employs a dramatic chandelier as a focal point in the room. Vale Garden Houses, UK.
This second story conservatory looks like it was part of the original construction of this home in Ireland. Vale Garden Houses, UK.
This beautiful home in Sweden has a very large conservatory with an ultra high ceiling, which balances it with the rest of the house. Vale Garden Houses, UK.
Beautiful French doors look out from this conservatory to a beautiful reflection pond. Westbury Conservatories, UK.
The conservatory n the back of this space brings so much light into the rest of the home. Just beautiful. I love the kitchen with the glass backsplash. Westbury Conservatories, UK.
The x-framed glass in these transom windows give this conservatory a highly stylized effect. The Moorish light fixture brings a unique look to the space as well. It’s all a bit eclectic, don’t you think? I can’t decide if I like the style of this room or not. Leaning more toward not. Westbury Conservatories, UK.
The ceiling of this conservatory is the center of attention in this space. Westbury Conservatories, UK.
This looks to be more like a true greenhouse or orangery. Breckenridge Conservatories, UK.
This is an example of a more contemporary conservatory. Breckenridge Conservatories, UK.
Another example of a contemporary conservatory. Breckenridge Conservatories, UK.
More contemporary conservatory space. Breckenridge Conservatories, UK.
This conservatory acts as a pool house and greenhouse. Breckenridge Conservatories, UK.
A clean modern look for this addition. Although it looks like winter, this structure needs some more greenery around it! Parish Conservatories, Connecticut.
Another example of an updated look added onto an older home. Parish Conservatories, Connecticut.
Double conservatory. Classic Conservatories and Sunrooms.
This beautiful antique-style greenhouse is the star at the end of this home. Tanglewood Conservatories, Denton, MD
Another view of the conservatory above. Tanglewood Conservatories, Denton, MD.
Classic, old-world greenhouse, Tanglewood Conservatories, Denton, MD.
Beautiful orangery, Tanglewood Conservatories, Denton, MD.
Glass-domed conservatory, Tanglewood Conservatories, Denton, MD.
A view of the domed ceiling above. Tanglewood Conservatories, Denton, MD.
And finally, a view of a ceiling painted for a conservatory on the East Coast. Artist John Kiernan painted the ceiling. John said that the owners were interested in creating a scene that would portray something of American history and the great American spirit of discovery. Something that reminded her of the books she had read as a child.
The painting even incorporates a night sky with constellation patterns illuminated by fiber-optic lighting, identical to the same night the homeowners were married. Hmmm… what money can buy!
What are Orangeries?
Orangeries, first built in Europe in the 17th century, were used to cultivate citrus fruits, such as lemons and limes and oranges (where the name comes from). Orangeries were built usually only by the aristocracy and very rich, as the cost on making them was extensive. Orangeries became a status symbol. Orangeries were often detailed structures and usually separated from the main buildings and surrounded by gardens.
Today however, an orangery is considered the same, functionally, as a conservatory or greenhouse.
You can find Vale Garden Houses, UK, here. Westbury Conservatories here. Breckenridge Conservatories here. Parish Conservatories here. Classic Conservatories and Sunrooms here. Tanglewood Conservatories here.
Have a great holiday week everyone! Is your shopping done?