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.
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.”
The Architectural Digest Design Show in New York City is just around the corner! This exciting opportunity is a must attend event for art enthusiasts, interior designers, and families looking for the perfect piece of functional art for their home. Creativity is on full-display from artists and craftspeople of all types, but one of our favorites is Invictus Steelworks. Truly one of a kind; it can be the perfect décor for your conservatory, greenhouse, or pool enclosure.
A one-of-a-kind, custom piece for your one-of-a-kind, custom room.
In their profile on the design show’s website, Robert Simmons (co-founder and artist), chose to include a piece from the beautiful poem “Invictus” by William Ernest Henley, which demonstrates the fundamental motivation of Robert and his wife Beth (co-founder):
“It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul.”
It is clear by the quality of Robert’s work, and passion with which he and Beth partner with their clients, that these words ring true and can be seen in every piece of functional art Robert creates. Since in 2015, Robert and Beth have worked together to build Invictus Steelworks into not only a place to buy high quality décor, furniture, and gazebos, but also an opportunity to participate in an experience solely focused on the client’s needs. As the sole designer and fabricator, Robert serves as a guide to explore their imagination to design the perfect piece for their home, office, or commercial project; he is a true artesian.
Starting as a welder apprenticing with a sculptor, Robert discovered the beauty that can be found in a light, unique design, and went on to create works of art that were displayed around the country. As he and Beth continued to grow Invictus Steelworks, they realized that functional art was the future for their business because it gave them the wonderful opportunity to work more closely with clients to satisfy their exact needs, and to build personal, hands on relationships. To make this happen, Robert often must think “outside of the box”.
Drawing on examples from historical designs and craftsmanship, much like Tanglewood, Robert absorbs these ideas and uses them for inspiration to push boundaries and experiment with concepts and ideas to improve his craft and provide the perfect complement to the client’s unique environment. Starting from a simple, hand-drawn sketch, you work directly with Robert and Beth to develop a concept, view several perspectives, and become an active participant in every stage of creation, almost as if you are creating the art and merely guiding Robert’s experienced hand in bringing your concepts to life. It is this commitment to craftsmanship and dedication to you that makes Invictus Steelworks stand out to us. We are passionate about creating beautiful works of art from historic inspiration and bringing our client’s outward expressions of their inner vision to life.
Take a stroll through some of their work. And please, do yourself a favor – check out their amazing work in person at the Architectural Digest Design Show (Booth M802) from March 22nd-25th, 2018!
Comments Off on Imagine… giving the gift of a perfect holiday to a child in need…
People all over the country are finding the perfect gift for their loved ones, watching the delight spread across their face as dreams become reality right before their eyes. Many others choose to spread the spirit of the holidays by donating time and energy to charitable causes. Combined, we find the true purpose of the holidays we celebrate: bestowing joy in others and empowering our communities. Tanglewood Conservatories is passionate about this and fulfills this promise each day. Our team not only works to empower students and children through our Untangled Minds Foundation, we also work diligently to hire team members with similar passions.
Meet our Global Sales & Project Manager, Mike Eline; a shining example of this dedication. His story serves as the embodiment of holiday spirit and kindness.
As a member of the Salisbury Optimist Club, Mike and his fellow members organize community programs aimed towards providing children opportunities to grow in healthy and meaningful ways. Every year, Mike gives back to the children of Salisbury by dressing as Santa Claus and traveling around to the local homeless shelters, giving children the chance to experience the magic of Christmas. To many of these children, Santa is only a story, but thanks to Mike and the Optimist Club, the magic of Santa is brought to life. The children get to spend time with Santa, ask for presents, play games, eat, and most importantly, they get a framed picture of their family with Santa to cherish; a luxury these children rarely get to experience. When asked why he has participated in this event for such a long time (eight years running!), Mike stated that as a father, he has developed a passion for improving the lives of our youth.
“The kids are always amazed and excited when they see us. It’s such a treat seeing the smile on their faces”
We are inspired by the dedication of Mike and the Salisbury Optimist Club. They serve as an inspiration and an example of what love, hard-work, dedication, and a little holiday spirit can achieve for the community we live in.
Do you know of an organization or individual who exemplifies the meaning of the holidays? Tag us on social media with your story!
From our family to yours: Happy Holidays and have a WONDERFUL and PROSPEROUS New Year!
Imagine… one room that will shape your family’s holiday experience for generations to come…
As a slow sleepy yawn spreads across the faces of the children, the quiet mumble of adults shuffling around the house reached the excited children’s ears. Grandparents and parents, aunts and uncles, cousins, all laughing and loving as the holiday spirit filled the home and hearts of the family. From under the sheets, the children can smell the holiday dinner, prepared and baked with the special family recipe, and cascading above the rest of the delicious sides and desserts made communally by the family. It is a time for community and a time for togetherness. The children make their way to the conservatory, a place that has come to be known as the gathering spot for family events, feasts, and celebrations. From inside, they’ve watched the seasons change, the trees slowly changing from green to a beautiful array of orange and red, as if a painter runs their brush across the landscape each day. The children scan the beautiful glass of the conservatory and in the reflection; they see a history of preserving and protecting life. It continues to inspire growth not only in plants but in the children and their families alike. Its inspiration will last for generations. Inside the conservatory, the children can see how dreams, hard work, and a community can come together to make something beautiful; a legacy. They dream of a beautiful meal and family moments to be cherished. Through teamwork, their dreams are created every year, and a tradition is born. Just as the architects dreamt of providing a living example to continue to inspire these ideals in those who get to experience the conservatory.
Make the Holiday’s Last
Across the country, people are coming together to celebrate the holidays in a conservatory at events such as:
Each event is a wonderful opportunity to experience conservatories for their intended purpose; to celebrate with family and friends. Each event offers a unique conservatory to explore and in which to draw inspiration. From model trains, to hundreds of trees, to singing carolers serenading the guests, the holiday spirit will come to life under the encouragement of the conservatories.
Let us know which conservatory your family visits – Tag us on social media!
Comments Off on A Designer’s Vision: Spotlight on Diane Page
Diane Page is an award-winning Interior Designer specializing in residential projects, something she has been doing exclusively for nearly 25 years.Recently, Diane talked with us about a client’s conservatory project she has been working on with Tanglewood:
The Project –
Diane was challenged by a client to help create an enclosure featuring glass-work that would allow them to feel the “great outdoors” comfortably and stylishly inside, starting from where a mere trellis with pavers previously was. Diane suggested a solution from conservatory architecture – an “orangery” – a Particular Passion of hers.
Originating in Renaissance Italy, orangeries feature expanses of glass and lattice work that were originally meant to incubate the fruit trees and other exotic plants of the Elite. Today, they offer a warm and cozy environment where home-owners can spend their leisure time enjoying the natural light of the Great Outdoors, indoors.
Diane shares her passion for the past with Tanglewood’s crafts-people and in-house designers, a trait that came in handy as the Clients expanded their initial idea of a screened-in porch to a fully formed, enclosed room with glass and wood treatments. Listening to her clients Diane relates that she told them that if they wanted that, “then why don’t we just do something beautiful!”
Diane chose to work with Tanglewood Conservatories to make that “something beautiful” a reality. With our extensive conservatory experience and expertise, Diane knew that We would be a natural choice to work with. Like Diane, Our People rely on the knowledge of the past to bring innovation to the future – Your Future. (It’s a passion commonly found in Tanglewood’s Collaborators, Designers, Craftspeople, and Suppliers – See our previous blog post about Our recent Italian trip to meet the crafts-people at Brombal, crafters of the custom Windows and Doors featured in our constructions.
Diane relates that her clients were very enthusiastic at her suggestion. Working together with Tanglewood, Diane and Tanglewood helped bring her clients’ desires to fruition by designing and crafting a 263 square-foot, China-White interior-painted home-addition constructed of Sapele Mahogany Wood, and featuring such additional details as:
Ø A Grooved Wood Ceiling
Ø An Extruded Aluminum Glazing System
Ø Built-In Gutters with a Copper Lining
Ø And Motorized, Easily-operable Windows to Effortlessly Let the Fresh Air In
The Passion –
Diane comments that she loves the work of interior design and plans on doing it “forever … as long as I can!”. She prefers residential projects over commercial ones because “… They’re shorter span projects and they’re a lot more creative”, as well as being a more intimate sort of architecture that allows her to have a freer rein with her imagination – an imagination that includes the pre-Modern Italian, French, Jeffersonian, and Georgian traditions and styles that Diane loves and which are not currently in favor for most Commercial buildings.
And in addition to being an accomplished Designer, Diane is also a skilled draftsperson, with over 40 years of experience in both designing and drafting. Her draftspersonship comes in handy with Clients since Diane likes to communicate her visions via her custom hand-crafted drawings. In fact, she notes that most of her clients “don’t know what they want until they see it”, an envisioning that she is more than happy to help guide them with personally. As Diane relates, “The more pictures you draw the better (your clients) feel about what you’re doing”.
Diane is just one of the many outstanding creators and innovators who work with Tanglewood to make your dream project come true. At Tanglewood Conservatories we believe in engaging with the best designers and artisans to bring You or Your Clients estate enhancements to Life and construct some of the best home-additions in the World.
Contact Tanglewood and Diane today to find out more about designing and constructing you or your clients next home addition, whether it be an orangery, a conservatory, a greenhouse, a skylight, a pool enclosure… the sky and your imagination are the limit! We have extensive experience working with homeowners and professionals to make their dreams come true. And Innovative Designs are Our Specialty!
Comments Off on Great Conservatories of the 19th Century & The Architecture Behind Them
Will you be attending?
Alan Stein says that the more he learned about building conservatories, the more impressed he became.
The co-founder of Tanglewood Conservatories with his wife, Nancy Virts, Alan will give a lecture on “Great Conservatories of the 19th Century & The Architecture Behind Them” at 6 p.m. Nov. 2 at the Rawlings Conservatory in Baltimore. Wine and light fare will be served at 5:30 p.m.
Joining Alan will be Daniel Russoniello, AIA, of Archer & Buchanan Architecture in Philadelphia. Dan has many years of experience in planning and design of institutional and commercial projects. He has worked with botanical gardens around the country and will speak about the relevance of conservatories in the modern age.
“Conservatories are not well understood,” Alan said, “and the importance and impact they had on architecture is not well appreciated.” He said he’ll “take people back to when they were first invented, the forces behind their development … and the sociological, technological impacts they’ve had on art and architecture as well as everything from city planning to shopping.”
An architect and builder, he said he always liked building things. He was asked to design and build a conservatory. “So we figured out how to build it. And then, somebody else asked for one. After the second one, we fell in love with them.” Tanglewood was founded about 25 years ago. Alan has also written a book, “Conservatories,” that covers the historical development and modern relevance of the conservatory, topics he’ll address Nov. 2.
The Rawlings Conservatory opened in 1888. It is the second-oldest steel framed-and-glass building still in use in the United States. Alan was visiting the Rawlings Conservatory some years ago and wanted to help preserve it and help it grow, hence his lecture, which benefits the conservatory.
“People are still building conservatories now. The technology has really changed. Why are people still building conservatories? There must be something important about the role that they play and what they are used for,” he said.
You can learn more about that role at his talk on Nov. 2. He said, “It’s going to be really interesting.”
Works that reflect nature in several different media will be part of A Greenhouse Gallery Art Auction Oct. 20-29 at the Rawlings Conservatory in Baltimore.
As part of Free Fall Baltimore, the show is free to the public and is the second event in the Emergence Art Salon, which celebrates the synergy between art and the Conservatory.
Indeed, curator Kathleen Hamill, of K. Hamill Fine Art, has asked the artists to showcase work that is influenced by nature.
Preview party, Oct. 19 — The art will be for sale at a silent auction at the preview party from 6 to 9 p.m. Oct. 19, which will include live music and light refreshments. Remaining art will be on sale all week at the opening bid price.
The event is a fund-raiser for the Conservatory, with artists donating at least 30 percent of proceeds.
More than 25 artists will participate; for some of them this will be the first public showing of their work.
Among the artists are Wendy Doak, who says she is visually inspired by everything around her. “My subjects vary from still life to seascapes, and my style changes from impressionist to abstract depending on my mood.”
Artist Minás Konsolas develops his canvases by adding and eliminating multiple layers of paint. He creates his textured images by scraping and smearing. This process allows him to paint and draw at the same time, according to his website.
Stephen Reichert’s work includes non-representational markings and circles. Some marks are finely and meticulously applied with brush or knife while others are pulled or smeared in larger quantities across the canvas, wood or metal, with rubber, metal, wood and plastic objects, often repeated numerous times before completion.
The show will also include some photographs by Vivian Doering and other photographers, and perhaps even a performance art piece, Kathleen said.
She thanks the committee that is managing the auction and the hospitality: Rebecca Murphy, Angela Lykos, Mitzie Hughes and Jennie Ray.
Emergence Art Salon
Oct. 20-29, during regular Conservatory hours: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. Rawlings Conservatory, in Baltimore’s Druid Hill Park, at Gwynns Falls Parkway and McCulloh Street.
Greenhouse Gallery Auction: 6-9 p.m. Oct. 19
Also coming up: the Rawlings Conservatory will be part of Doors Open Baltimore Oct. 28-29, when more than 50 city buildings will be open for free tours. Details at www.doorsopenbaltimore.org.