“I myself worked construction most of my life and even had my own business. I started working here in the fall five years ago thinking maybe just hang in here for the winter BUT I found working on these projects with these guys was so fulfilling that I’ve made a career out of it. So if you have a little bit of common sense, some tools, and a sense of adventure, give us a try. You may be like me and stay for a while!”
– Rusty, Tanglewood Team Member
Will you share Rusty’s message with craftsmen you know looking for a REWARDING career?
Comments Off on Unique Conservatories – What Is The Attraction?
Is it a trend… or a lifestyle…?
According to Mansion Magazine,
“Home designers are turning to a time-honored transparent transition: the conservatory… these spectacular bespoke glass houses were symbols of wealth from the 17th through the 19th centuries, [and have] become an integral architectural element in luxurious homes and high-rises around the globe”.
Nancy Ruhling, writer for Mansion Magazine, recently interviewed Tanglewood President, Alan Stein, to understand why people are incorporating these unique structures into the design of their homes. Why?
When he and his wife, Nancy Virts, founded Tanglewood Conservatories over 25 years ago, they discovered this growing trend for the fascination of conservatories and greenhouses and our client’s desire to live in them. In their 25 years, the major shift they have seen is in their use; from traditional living spaces attached to the home to a more exotic space not only for living but for growing plants. Conservatories have become a part of their everyday lives, creating memories and living out their passions daily.
According to Alan,
“Today, greenhouses are much more popular at the high end of the market than they were 15 to 20 years ago.”
As the conservatory lifestyle grows, designers, architects, and owners are incorporating these glass room as key design features when remodeling or designing new homes.
“They add a magical sense—the light coming in from above allows you to see the room in a significantly different way… every element is exposed, it’s a piece of art, not just another room. And that is exactly why people are falling in love with the conservatory.”
So how are owners around the globe using these rooms?
Comments Off on The Rawlings Conservatory “An empty pot is just a pot full of wishes!”
“An empty pot is just a pot full of wishes,” Kate Blom says. Her response is to think, “Okay let me make you beautiful.” That is what she did for the Rawlings Conservatory in Baltimore during her 18½-year tenure as director.
She was in charge when the Conservatory grew from an aging glass house with some dirt-floored greenhouses into one of Baltimore’s jewels. Major renovations in 2004 preserved the original Palm House, dating to 1888, and updated the greenhouses that now house plants from three climates – Mediterranean, tropical and desert.
As she retired from her post this month, Kate looked back on the changes and fun times. “It’s been great. I’m grateful to so many people along the road, lots of good people.”
She started in December 1999 when the renovations were still just plans. “We were programming as best we could, getting ready for renovations, figuring out what plants to keep.”
The groundbreaking in 2002 is one of her favorite memories. And the grand re-opening in 2004 was even better.
“When the first school buses came after the renovation, it made me cry,” she said. “I thought, ‘they’re coming!’”
She’s especially proud of the Conservatory’s programs for children, such as Little Leaves, which brings city second graders to the Conservatory to discover and learn about plants.
“Little Leaves is just incredible … Watching a kid look at a banana tree and get it.” She said she always wanted to work with children and the Conservatory programs now are “really changing lives, making a difference. That’s always important.”
Among her many memories, she recalls the day a big limousine arrived and out stepped Maryland Comptroller and former governor and mayor William Donald Schaefer. “I gave him a tour, showed him our plans. He was pleased. That was nice.” Then there was the time she looked at the guest book to see it had been signed by Oprah, who wrote “My Baltimore!” As Kate said, “Darn, I missed her.”
She learned that it’s not so bad to hold a boa constrictor, when she helped save one that was found freezing outside the Conservatory. And she had lots of fun putting on the annual poinsettia and spring flower shows. She recalls the Conservatory getting its own web page and how that “put us on the map.”
The conservatory is a popular wedding venue now, with at least one every week, sometimes two or three.
And of course, there are the plants. She was “seeing something new every day,” different plants blooming, some for the first time since being planted.
In all, she said, it’s been “A wonderful job. The best in the city.”
And it wasn’t her first career. Kate was born in Baltimore and graduated from the University of Maryland with a degree in journalism. It was the time of the Pentagon Papers news and Kate was determined to get a job at the Washington Post. “Katherine Graham was a big hero for me.” She managed to get hired as a copy aide first, and then spent 22 years in advertising sales. When she moved to Baltimore, the commute and family obligations proved to be too much and she decided to do something different.
She’d always liked plants, watching watermelon seeds grow into a plant when she was a child, filling her home with plants. So she took courses at Dundalk Community College in horticulture, took Master Gardener classes and worked in nurseries. After visiting public gardens with her classes, she decided that is where she wanted to work. Then she landed the job at the Conservatory.
As for retirement, Kate is enjoying the free time now, working in her own garden and helping her sister who is dealing with illness. She also has a son and two grandchildren she can spend time with and she wants to hang out and travel with her longtime friend, Maggie. “I feel lighter in many ways; my priorities are where they should be.”
Her wishes for the Conservatory? She has a potful.
First is the renovation of the historic Palm House with “a 100-year fix, not just a 20-year Band Aid.” Plans for a feasibility study are underway now.
She’d also like to see the fulfilling of the master plan for more space, another building for administration, space for shows. More children’s programs, more staff. “I just want more of everything, bigger gardens,” she said.
“I really think Baltimore deserves and should have a first-rate Conservatory and botanical garden. It helps a city grow.”
Comments Off on What Makes Great Architecture | Ken Tate
What is great architecture?
Is great architecture the timeless notion of beauty? Need it be eternally memorable from creation, obliged to tell a thousand stories?
Must great architecture exhibit bold and purposeful innovation? Should it express its function in an interesting and meaningful way, demanding admiration for its immodest assertion?
Is great architecture a strangely familiar reaffirming of tradition? Expertly crafted to solicit a strong visceral reaction, stirring us at an almost spiritual level?
Does great architecture conform to universal laws of symmetry and proportion? Should it resonate with its surroundings and faithfully appeal to our sense of balance?
According to ancient Roman architect, Vitruvius, architecture is as much math and science as it is philosophy and art. His famous treatise, De Architectura, outlined three fundamental principles essential for architecture; balanced elements of firmitas, utilitas and venustas. In fact, the same theory still applies to architectural design today.
Likewise, award-winning architect, Ken Tate, carefully observes truth in Vitruvius’ basic principles by stating great architecture is a harmony of “composition, proportion and materials”, that when combined, exudes a “certain self-confidence.”
Self-described as an intuitive classicist, Tate is the recipient of a Shute Award from the Institute of Classical Architecture and three-time winner of the Southern Home Award from Southern Progress Corporation. His instinctive and open-minded approach to design has been featured in many magazines including Southern Living, Period Homes and Architectural Digest on numerous occasions; one of which was steel and glass pool pavilion designed and build in partnership with Tanglewood Conservatories. Widely recognized for his unrestrained imagination and awe-inspiring design aesthetic, Tate’s “creative approach is never quite the same from project to project.”
For Tate and architects alike, asking them what makes great architecture is “like asking Mozart how to create music”. It is, indeed, a subjective question. Almost indescribable – great architecture embodies a sense of “clarity to it where everything makes sense.” Artistic focus and detailed application of design create a balanced and harmonic architectural melody.
Individual to each architect’s imagination, Tate describes architecture “as something beautiful, not meant to show off”. It is quite simply a work of artistic genius. “You just know it when you see it.”
What distinguishes great architecture from good architecture?
This is sometimes difficult to discern. Most often the distinction is found in the smallest design details. It is the conscious consideration and polishing of each design component, such as window sills, paneling styles, door casings, hardware and the like.
“God is in the details.” – Mies van der Rohe
Like architect Ken Tate, Tanglewood also recognizes the importance of fundamental design details.
We invite you to marvel at our most recent partnership with architect Ken Tate. Tate’s carefully articulated vision of “old-world” style, paired with Tanglewood’s custom design and expert craftsmanship, inspired the creation of an extraordinary steel and glass pool pavilion. This project is sure to captivate your imagination and inspire your own creativity.
Are you thinking about transforming your home into a luxurious retreat?
Let’s talk about your vision for your next home renovation. Contact us online or at 410.479.4700 to start the conversation.
Posted April 5th, 2018 by Nicole Mihalos and filed in Uncategorized
Comments Off on Spring Events at the Druid Hill Park Rawlings Conservatory
Spring at the Rawlings Conservatory
The Rawlings Conservatory in Baltimore’s Druid Hill Park comes to life in the spring, both inside and out with a flower show and new plantings.
“Catch a Rainbow,” the spring flower show is open now through April 8. Featuring hundreds of blooming bulbs, the show presents a kaleidoscope of color and texture in the greenhouses of the Conservatory. It might still be cool outdoors, but inside, it is definitely spring.
On May 17, you can try a cocktail made with botanical ingredients at Cocktails at the Conservatory, a biannual evening event with live music and snacks from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. It’s a pleasant spot for enjoying a beverage and mingling with friends. See www.rawlingsconservatory.org for details.
A bit later in the spring, the Rawlings’ outdoor gardens bloom when dozens of volunteers unite on Community Gardening Day, May 24, to plant the flower beds with annuals. The conservatory staff plans the design of the beds and orders the plants. The volunteers do the digging and planting. Everyone finishes with a picnic provided by the Friends of the Rawlings Conservatory. The gardens then provide a restful and colorful spot for visitors to the park throughout the spring, summer and fall.
Other events take advantage of the pretty backdrop of the conservatory, such as the Charm City Blue Grass Festival, April 27-28, with a pop-up concert April 19. http://charmcitybluegrass.com/index.html
Posted April 5th, 2018 by Nicole Mihalos and filed in Uncategorized
Comments Off on Custom Steel and Bronze Windows and Doors: Discover Your Home Retreat
Imagine… waking up to the sound of light rain tapping on your window. The children awake with a sparkle in their eye, they run through the house full of excitement to the conservatory. For a moment they worry the day is ruined, but with the press of a button, the walls glide across the floor, opening your home to the beautiful outdoors, transforming your room into a protected outdoor retreat.
These are the days we live for; bringing families closer together through the power and inspiration of glass architecture. Brombal USA shares our passion. That is why Tanglewood Conservatories has partnered with Brombal as the Mid-Atlantic dealer for beautifully crafted steel and bronze windows and doors. As an innovator in the art of window and door production, Brombal has developed their artisanship over the course of more than fifty years. Tradition grounds them in the craftsmanship of their forebears and when combined with their new world technology, an incredible value is provided for every client.
The beautiful marriage between Tanglewood Conservatories and Brombal Steel Windows and Doors comes from our shared goal of providing an elite product that is not only innovative and elegant, but functional and designed with the ideas of the client in mind each and every time.
Want to learn more about Brombal’s new innovative line? Click here
When you are ready to transform your home into a getaway retreat, don’t wait. Talk with our specialists today at 410 479 4700.
A Greenhouse – also known as “Glasshouse” – is more than just an addition to your home. It’s a “joie de vivre” that our clients find over and over again when they add Glasshouses to their Estates.
Architecturally, The Reason a Greenhouse brings such Joy is because it occupies a happy medium between two contrasting, yet complimentary styles of Building – the Conservatory and the Orangery. Conservatories are meant to be lived in, while Orangeries are meant to incubate the living – the exotic plants of the Renaissance Elite that could not withstand the harsh conditions outside.
The Blessing of the Greenhouse is that it allows the advantages of both – you can grow in it, such as in the cultivation of fresh herbs for your family’s meals – and You can “Grow” in it as you and your family enjoy the living force of nature that the flourishing and blossoming plants you cultivate continuously imbue the indoor environment with their life-force
One example of this aesthetic-in-action is this Glasshouse. Our client is passionate about nature and wanted a greenhouse to show off their extensive plant collection which includes rare specimens of cacti and orchids.
In response Tanglewood designed and built for him a “Horticultural Jewel Box” combining all the elements of a gardener’s dream. On the inside, orchids inhabit the cracks and crevices between the stones and find their way up the walls. Additional touches include a medley of textures, such as the smoothly machined cedar surfaces of the windows which are contrasted with rough sawn cedar trim boards. All are stained a light golden amber and left to weather naturally.
Outside, the landscape designer skillfully integrated the Client’s new glasshouse into the scene by artistically incorporating a stone garden wall into the room itself. Flowing outward, the well-mannered stone coursing erupts into a vigorously-charged stack of muscled blocks that at the flip of a switch transform themselves into an artistic waterfall filling the adjacent Koi pond.
Combining the inside with the outside, a seating nook was incorporated with the client’s delectable and edible plants overlooking the water – a little touch we borrowed from client’s own unique design aesthetic that made this greenhouse so unique – and theirs.
The Real Genius of the Design is what is Not seen – To allow the greenhouse to house a multitude of plant species the Horticultural Jewel Box required substantial heating and pumping equipment to make the climate consistent year ‘round. To hide the system and still keep the integrity of the design, Tanglewood integrated a wall of living plants rather than the typical stick-it-outside-and-hope-no-one-notices approach. Few people realize that plant wall actually hides the mechanical equipment!
Our plant collector loved the solution and loves showing it off to visitors. Our Partner Dea Schofield, an expert horticulturist who manages this client’s plant collection, talks more about the plants our collector grows – and more – in her blog “Difficult Challenges & Great Rewards”
Tanglewood’s Nicole Mihalos notes that:
“Conservatories and custom greenhouses provide natural light. They also offer protection from harsh winter weather, allowing children the freedom and fun of outdoor -like play to continue all year long. Play in these protected special places allows children plenty of opportunities to be where plants, soil, and light mimic an almost natural environment.
Greenhouses and the conservatories mimic the outdoors, allowing the whole family to experience healthy benefits even when the wind is blowing and the outside air is cold and wet.”
Contact us today to learn more about how to design and build a greenhouse/glasshouse of your own! We look forward to meeting you.
Comments Off on What Are the Most Important Considerations When Renovating?
Motivation to renovate has dramatically increased over the years, due in part to the growing popularity of lifestyle and home improvement series. And this trend does not appear to be slowing down anytime soon. Thoughtful renovations not only increase the value of your home, they also tend to improve the overall quality of life!
Perhaps you have longed to create a tranquil retreat, whereby you are transported to a peaceful place of escape. Maybe you envision a space designed to embrace the natural beauty of your surroundings; maximizing light with unobstructed views.
The evolution of your vision is limited only by imagination, design effectiveness, and the quality of your creative partner.
Before you begin, consider the following:
1) DESIGN AESTHETIC
Renovating without meaningful design intent is like embarking on a last minute, serendipitous road trip. Despite well-intentioned efforts, blindly journeying down unfamiliar roads can lead to wrong turns and delayed arrivals.
Some questions you may want to consider are:
What is the purpose of this space?
What design styles are most appealing to you? (Eclectic, Minimalist, Traditional, Cultured, etc.)
Are there any inspirational images or places you want to incorporate into your design?
Now that you have a design direction, what material will maximize your design potential? Harmonizing every element of your personal lifestyle preferences is a delicate balance between creative inspiration and design conception. Collaborating with an expert consultant will ensure a creative approach to transforming your dream into reality!
Agreeably, renovation is no small undertaking. Transforming your existing structure to fit your family’s lifestyle should consider value, function and overall happiness.
Equip yourself to make informed decisions by considering:
The type of climate you live in.
The level of maintenance you seek.
Accessibility of the material you desire.
Do I yearn for…
Guaranteed durability and unsurpassed life cycle?
Custom crafted elegance with high aesthetic value?
Expansive walls of transparency?
Sliding walls of glass that dissolve interior and exterior boundaries?
If so, steel, or the marriage of steel and mahogany, may be what you’re looking for. Learn more.
“Never compromise beauty and performance for a short-term benefit”
When weighing cost versus value, strength, durability, and performance are often compromised by up-front savings. Consider, if you are not 100% satisfied with your final renovation results, how much additional expense will you incur to remedy an undesirable outcome? Your time and resources are valuable. Avoid unsightly and costly damages such as rotting, corrosion and water damage by choosing superior materials and master craftsmanship.
This is not just any renovation project; it is your home…reborn!
Comments Off on Born to Evoke the Joy of Light and Life
Typically, a design brainstorm session at Tanglewood starts something like this:
“The family wanted something so unique and have a sense of history that there was nothing like it anywhere in the world” – A Client’s Representative
The solutions We propose are often a mix of the old and the new, a synthesis of the contrasts of glass and steel, wood and copper, light and dark – and a sum greater than the parts that went into it. Indeed, nothing less than an experience.
Two disciplines that Tanglewood champions are the architecture styles of Art Nouveau and that of the European and American Conservatories, innovations and traditions that sought to fill very different yet similar needs.
As Tanglewood President and Director of Architecture Alan Stein points out:
“Art Nouveau started as an intentional search for a new aesthetic, whereas conservatory design started with a response to an actual need – to conserve orange trees and other over winter through the use of glass. It then developed into an aesthetic, not so much because of an ideological position, but because it was not possible to use the existing classical architectural language for glass buildings. Classical architecture is based on masonry construction where it is the “solid” walls that are the important elements.”
Architect and Engineer Bill Bertsche warns that “True conservatory design takes experience, talent, a keen eye for detail, and innovation. You cannot build a conservatory the same way you build a house [There must be] much more flexibility for design & detail.”
The architectural styles and inspirations of Art Nouveau provide those options. With its emphasis on the organic and its evocation of living organisms, Art Nouveau was born to live. This is particularly evident in the trees, flowers and other botanical embellishments that typically can be found in the details of Art Nouveau inspired buildings.
As the Encyclopedia Britannica comments, “Art Nouveau is characterized by its use of a long, sinuous, organic line and was employed most often in architecture, interior design, jewelry and glass design, posters, and illustration.It was a deliberate attempt to create a new style, free of the imitative historicism that dominated much of 19th-century art and design.”
Conservatory architecture, on the other hand, was born of a need to preserve.
Initially, Conservatories were seen as a place to preserve the conditions of a growing environment for the fruit trees and other botanicals of the Elite, as well as to provide a refuge from the calamities of the Outdoors. Indeed, the root of “conservatory” is postulated to be from the Latin “conservato”, relating to the Ancient Roman practice of having specific rooms or building designated for the preservation or “conservation” of food stuffs.
Together the two styles create an aesthetic for organic, living spaces that breaks from the traditions before it and grows it into the future. As Architect and Tanglewood Collaborator Dan Russoniello comments, “When working with the environment we end up with a better quality of life as well as a better sustained quality of life.”
So, what is the Future of Conservatory architecture?
Dan observes that:
“People are amazed at the absolute beauties of the… historical conservatories and they don’t realize that they are still being built. And the ones that are being built today are in many ways equally beautiful and equally experimental – in terms of the use of technology and engineering – as they were in the day when they were built a hundred years ago.”
Alan concurs when observes that:
“There is huge interest right now in building new conservatories, renovating existing conservatories … We would like to assist in pushing that initiative forward by offering something which is really not offered out there, which is a … history and an insight into the beauty and the relevance of the building itself … In terms of the building and its pedigree and its possibilities I think we’ve got something unique to offer the public that they find really interesting.”
Tanglewood Conservatories is more than a collection of craftspeople and designers devoted to the new renaissance in glass and steel domestic architecture. We are Caretakers of the Conservatory traditions – past, present, and future – and We will enjoy sharing our knowledge and passion for this living architectural style with You and Your Clients.
Imagine being a student that loves going to class…
It’s hard isn’t it? For some of us growing up, high school was nothing more than just a place you go to hang out with friends and learn things you’ll never use once you graduate. But for the students in the Advanced Manufacturing and Production (AMP) Program, going to class is much more than sitting and listening, barely paying attention; it’s about putting your mind, creativity, and craftsmanship to the test while learning practical skills that translate to real jobs after high school.
If you were to walk into our event this past week, you would have seen a group of students passionate about making the most of their skills, and excited to start building their dreams (literally and figuratively) in the coming week. At Tanglewood, we improve our community by partnering with Caroline County Public Schools and local businesses to give students a chance to discover what drives their passion and build a career that is satisfying and will provide financial stability in an economy where university degrees aren’t always worth what they used to be. By giving students who are gifted in working with their hands an opportunity to pursue and develop their talents, we hope to prepare them to not only contribute to the economy of our community, but more importantly, to empower them to do what they love.
An important aspect of this event was giving the parents, faculty, and participating businesses a chance to interact and get excited about the coming year. And it was a big hit! One parent even said,
“For those who didn’t attend it was a missed opportunity…this program is really going to change our community and children in a great way”
And we agree. Being able to partner with several other businesses based on quality hand-made craftsmanship with an emphasis on creating a strong sense of community is a privilege and wonderful opportunity to pass on our skills to the next generation of artists and craftsmen.
The world is changing, and it’s up to us to make sure students are prepared to take on the new challenges. Another parent described best why we participate in this program,
“WOW – the event was a hit! The attendance was great, and the students are genuinely excited about what opportunities there are when they graduate the program”.
We hope to inspire this feeling in every student we work with this year! When asked about the event, Tanglewood Conservatories Co-founder, Nancy Virts summed up the event perfectly when she stated,
“It really felt like a community tonight. Even though we all produce very different products, we are all working toward the same goal. It was great to see everyone and getting to know the businesses right in our backyard.”