Unique Conservatories – What Is The Attraction?

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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.

Alan mentioned,

“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?

Elegant steel and glass pool pavilion, which became the highlight of a large renovation project. Cast iron and aluminum details stylishly complement the work.



The conservatory is one of three focal pieces in the Pagoda Garden project conceptually designed by Gilkey and Jannopoulo. The project consists of different vignettes or “rooms” that present unique aspects of Asian design — a grouping of authentic Chinese Pagodas, a one of a kind koi pond, and a greenhouse in the conservatory style.



Designed and built using cast stone and copper, this unique garden bar is the focal point of every gathering.



Are you fascinated by the conservatory lifestyle?

Call us today to talk about your vision for bringing this timeless piece of art to life.

We look forward to working with you and your team.

410 479 4700 | Tell Us About Your Vision | A Client Story

Have you seen us in Virginia?

Posted April 27th, 2016 by Nicole Mihalos and filed in Gardening, Greenhouses, Magazine Articles
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… an elegant greenhouse designed to be a simple expression of the honest use of NATURAL MATERIALS. Resting in a beautiful garden, you can’t help but love it. Made of smooth, hand-crafted cedar with copper and stone accents, its CALMING ARCHITECTURE abounds with rare specimens of cacti and orchids – all in your own backyard!best-of

Recently featured in NORTHERN VIRGINIA MAGAZINE, this unique greenhouse is not only used to grow some unusual edible plants, but relished by its owner for the exotic feeling of being outdoors while completely enclosed within a glass jewel.


A Natural Retreat

Lynn Norusis, managing editor for Northern Virginia Magazine, wrote an article about this CEDAR GREENHOUSE in the May 2016 issue.

Lynn writes: “Tanglewood Conservatories builds rooms that blend the aesthetic of the 19th century with 21st century technology to create WONDERFUL, LIGHT-FILLED INDOOR/OUTDOOR SPACES. For those of us around the world who have a love for something about these old structures…the greenhouse in McLean hits a note with every aspect of its design.”

Read Lynn’s article, “A cedar greenhouse provides a natural retreat in McLeanand LEARN MORE about the project and the excitement and challenges of creating a custom unique greenhouse.

CALL US at 410.479.4700 to start your own project!

Tanglewood Conservatories Featured in HOMEFRONT Magazine

Posted August 25th, 2011 by Alan Stein and filed in Conservatory Projects, Greenhouses, Magazine Articles
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We made mention in our July post that HOMEFRONT Magazine featured one of Tanglewood’s conservatories in its summer 2011 issue. However, that is not the complete story. We would like to continue the tale and tell you a little bit more!

HOMEFRONT Magazine is published quarterly and each issue features “a sneak preview of the world’s finest in design, lifestyle and travel. Written by a team of respected experts in their chosen fields…” We are thrilled to have been chosen to have five different conservatories in this issue.

Tanglewood Conservatory in Florida

Enamoured with Conservatories” begins with a greenhouse whose three sets of French doors open onto a stone patio set with a wicker table and chairs; the perfect setting for an early morning cup of coffee, a late morning brunch, an after dinner drink or anything in between. This large (21 feet wide, 28 feet long and nearly 20 feet high) Tanglewood conservatory is located in Florida on land that slopes towards a river. The glasshouse was added to the home as part of a major restoration of this historic property.

The next page features the poolside conservatory that graces the cover of the “Der Neue Wintergarten Ratgeber.” This bright and inviting glasshouse was created to provide the perfect place to relax or change before or after a vigorous or languorous swim in the pool or after an exercise session in the suite of exercise rooms located beneath it and connected by a spiral staircase! This Tanglewood conservatory, located in Glen Cove, New York, “beckons with the promise of a refreshing dip, an iced drink and a magnificent sunset.”

The third conservatory, located on the lakeside Riverstone estate in Foxburg, Pennsylvania, was added onto the historic mansion (built in 1828 by George M. Fox, the founder of the Quaker religion) during a major renovation in 2000. This magnificent room, over 1,000 square feet, has windows on three sides and a cupola on top that “washes the room with daylight.” Imagine, sitting in an overstuffed chair on a late fall day, watching the sunset, reflecting off the lake, mirroring the surrounding fall foliage. For more information, you may want to read Tanglewood’s founder, Alan’s, blog post about the estate and its “most loved and commented on custom conservatory projects” being up for sale in January 2010.

The Minneapolis, Minnesota owners of our fourth conservatory first envisioned a sunroom in which to keep and grow their exotic plant collection, including Hibiscus and varieties of ferns. However, the room has become much more, and now is also used as an intimate gathering place for social functions.

Our fifth and final conservatory uses no artificial light even when the day is overcast. “…antique sconces make it glow like golden amber” in the evenings and on cloudy days. This  addition to a hilltop stone cottage in North Carolina was built “using panes of glass each slightly differing in width.” Imagine viewing the valley below during the transformation of seasons, from summer to fall, and fall to winter. The colors must be spectacular!

We hope you enjoyed perusing HOMEFRONT’s summer 2011 issue as much as we did and that it has given you some ideas for your upcoming conservatory, glasshouse, greenhouse, or orangery project!

Wintergarten-Fachverband & Homefront Magazine Honors

Posted July 11th, 2011 by Alan Stein and filed in Conservatory Projects, General, Magazine Articles, Travels
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Just over two years ago, in June 2009, Alan and Nancy visited Greenhouses, Wintergardens, and Conservatories in Germany. After spending two days in Munich, they traveled over several days by car to Hamburg, stopping along the way to visit companies that build greenhouses and aluminum wintergardens (what conservatories and sunrooms are called in Germany). In his next blog post, Tanglewood Conservatories Presentation and Award in Hamburg, Alan writes about the excitement, surprise and honor he felt when he was unexpectedly presented with membership in the Wintergarten-Fachverband of Germany and Austria. Alan and Nancy are now even more excited to announce that one of Tanglewood’s conservatories is featured on the cover of the “Der Neue Wintergarten Ratgeber” (The New Winter Garden Guide), a publication published by the Wintergarten-Fachverband.

The Wintergarten-Fachverband, founded in 1990, is a group of German and Austrian conservatory manufacturers who dedicate themselves to designing and building conservatories using wood or wood-aluminum. The association adheres to strict quality controls, guidelines and ethics and does not allow just any conservatory or winter garden designer or builder to become a member. Alan is honored to have been chosen to be part of this elite group of conservatory enthusiasts.

The “Der Neue Wintergarten Ratgeber” is a 132-page guide featuring full-color photographs, and descriptions and floor plans of conservatories. The guide also includes quotes from satisfied conservatory owners about their “Traum unter Glas holen” (dream under glass). In more exciting news, the same conservatory that graces the cover of the “Der Neue Wintergarten Ratgeber,” can also be found in the current issue of “Homefront Magazine.”

The conservatory pairs perfectly with its poolside location (see page 21). Imagine taking an early morning dip and then enjoying coffee and breakfast while you read the newspaper in this bright and inviting room. Or sipping wine or mineral water, after a late afternoon swim, while watching the sunset. It is easy to see why this glass house is featured in both publications.

Tanglewood Conservatories is proud to be honored in both ways. We hope you enjoy the honor as much as we do!

Architectural Digest Magazine shows Steel and Glass Pool Pavilion by Tanglewood Conservatories

Posted July 17th, 2010 by Alan Stein and filed in Conservatory Projects, Magazine Articles
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The July issue of Architectural Digest included a photograph of a unique swimming pool enclosure designed and built by Tanglewood Conservatories.

Included in the recent issue of Architectural Digest magazine is a feature on a large renovation project by Louisiana-based architect Ken Tate. The project includes a very unique conservatory which he commissioned Tanglewood to design and build. The full page image on p. 89 shows off the steel and glass pool pavilion that Tanglewood designed specially for this project

Steel and Glass Pool Pavilion by Tanglewood Conservatories

The architect had approached Tanglewood Conservatories with the request for a pool house conservatory which he insisted be constructed with steel and glass instead of the more traditional material for custom conservatories – wood.

When Ken first approached Tanglewood for some help with his project, he was unsure how the conservatory pool enclosure could be done in all steel, but trusted our team enough to let us run with the design work. He had some images in his mind but had no idea how it could be built.

After some discussion with Ken and the client about the design direction and other important factors to the design, we set to work. This initial phase of the work took about four weeks. We produced drawings for Ken to review, then went back and forth refining the concept.

When Ken first saw our initial design for the pool enclosure, he was completely enthralled. He hadn’t imagined how we could have designed the steel and glass pool pavilion conservatory the way we did and he was delighted with Tanglewood’s unconventional approach and design expertise.

Following his acceptance of Tanglewood’s pool house design, we worked together to resolve the many construction issues having to do with how the conservatory connects to the rest of the house, how it is set on the foundation and how all the small details would come together. Ken was one of the most detail oriented architects we’ve ever worked with but the close collaboration yielded a most remarkable project!

Mutual respect was the key to our success. Ken obviously had a great deal of respect for Tanglewood’s many years of experience in the design and construction of custom conservatories and we absolutely loved Ken’s work and were thrilled to be able to contribute to one of his great projects.

This project is really not much different from many of our other commissions. Tanglewood is hired by some of the best architects in the world because they can see our dedication to great design work and our vast experience within the highly specialized niche of traditional conservatory design. The fact that we are completely comfortable working with steel, bronze, wood or many of the other materials they might choose to use is a great benefit to them.

On our side, we make the commitment to them that we will produce an exceptional, innovative high quality building in a time sensitive and a cost efficient manner. We realize that one of our most important jobs is to make them look great.

The interior picture of the pool house is on page 89 of the magazine.

Ken paid us a big complement on seeing the steel and glass pool pavilion the first time. He said: “Extraordinary, I just want to tell you that I think it is fabulous. I think of how great your quality is, it’s absolutely extraordinary and I hope you love it as well!”

Thanks Ken. The project is a great one!


Tanglewood Conservatories project featured on Luxist.com

Posted January 13th, 2010 by Alan Stein and filed in Conservatory Projects, General, Magazine Articles
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One of our new conservatories that encloses a large indoor swimming pool has made it onto the website LUXIST.COM, a watch listing of all things luxurious. We’re at the top in a section titled “The Classicist”. There’s all kinds of interesting and semi-interesting stuff on this website. The site is:


Steel Pool House Conservatory Update

Posted November 30th, 2009 by Alan Stein and filed in Conservatory Projects, Magazine Articles
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looking into cupola
Looking up into the cupola

interior steel detail of swimming pool enclosure
Pictures looking up into the cupola of the steel structure of the swimming pool enclosure.
A detail of the steel structure

Here are some pictures of the old world steel and glass swimming pool conservatory we are building as it nears completion – and with winter fast approaching, it’s not a day too soon.

The great room is now completely weather tight so all remaining work on the inside can proceed unhindered.

Now with scaffolding down and out of the way, the majesty of the structure begins to come into view.

The cast iron and steel parts with their forged curls and intricate rosettes make a tantalizingly reminiscent image that could be right out of a history book on the great glass houses of the nineteenth century. This was our intention from the start. In fact, it was the great glass conservatory at Syon Park which was the original inspiration for the design.

When complete, it will be filled with palm trees and make for one of the most unique custom pool houses Tanglewood Conservatories has ever built.

view of roof

exterior view of project
On the exterior, all of the windows and doors are installed and you can see the wonderful stained glass panels in place. All that is required is the final trim parts to be put on and the stone veneer to be laid up and this will have to wait for springtime and warmer weather.

The construction of this steel and glass conservatory house is a huge undertaking with the conservatory an important part, but only one of many really unique features. Final completion is not expected for another two years!

My other favorite feature of this mega-home is the thirty-five foot long shark tank. When the home is complete, you will descend a curving stairway to a lower level recreation center with the sharks on one side of you and a waterfall that spills over the edge of the swimming pool on the other side.

The theme of much of the home is water which makes sense since the home is situated with exquisite views out across a busy northern waterway.

You can see more pictures of the progress of this remarkable conservatory pool enclosure project at a new page on our website titled “Steel Structures”.

Also included on the page are images of the construction of several other very unique projects, one in particular, the magnificent greenhouse with the curving glass roof that is shown completed on the Antique Greenhouse page.

It is the greenhouse conservatory that is featured in the Washington Spaces article “Enchanted Estate” that was the subject of my previous blog.


Tanglewood Conservatories on CWB cover.

Posted April 6th, 2009 by Alan Stein and filed in Magazine Articles
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Unbeknownst to me beforehand, Tanglewood Conservatories made it onto the cover of Custom Woodworking Business magazine this month! What a surprise when I opened the package with the issues of the magazine and saw the great cover shot of our conservatory interior.

Michaelle Bradford wrote the three page article on Tanglewood Conservatories titled “Bringing the Garden Inside- a Maryland company creates a ‘fantasy’ room for the home”. The piece focuses on how Nancy and I began the company and is the latest in Michaelle’s section called “Winning Niches”.

Michaelle is the Managing Editor of CWB as well as of several other Vance Publications and has the great job of flying around the country interviewing interesting people and writing about their stories.

I first met Michaelle in Germany last year when we were touring woodworking facilities and machinery manufacturers in the Black Forest region. I thought she had a great job then and I am even more impressed now.

Custom Woodworking Business magazine is an interesting publication geared towards; well- custom woodworking businesses. I had never heard of it before I met Michaelle. It addresses business issues, technical and production issues, marketing issues and strategic issues all highlighted using case studies involving “industrial strength” woodworking business (as their cover notes).

For example in this issue, there is an article on Terry Bostwick’s custom furniture line. Terry first gained national recognition for his “Art Nuvo”- style furniture but has more recently moved towards more modern pieces such as his “Slab” series. He’s got some cool looking stuff.

Then there is a column on Management Strategies titled: “The Full, Fast Truth” which talks about running an efficient woodworking business, and another profile of a company in Colorado that manufactures some very nice high-end custom doors.

And finally, there’s an article about airbrushing techniques and an “equipment spotlight” column.

A nice little niche publication.

Thanks Michaelle.


Price Tag- Conservatory Glass Dome

Posted December 10th, 2008 by Alan Stein and filed in Magazine Articles
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I don’t know if anyone else picked up on the error in last weekend’s Financial Times annual holiday gift ideas piece, which included the suggestion of a glass and copper dome by Tanglewood. The price mentioned was supposed to be $35,000. Instead they printed $350,000! Wow!


Holiday Gift Idea- London Financial Times

Posted December 3rd, 2008 by Alan Stein and filed in Magazine Articles
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If you pick up a copy of the Financial Times newspaper this Saturday, you’ll find their annual Holiday Gift Guide will include at least one holiday gift idea from Tanglewood Conservatories.

They have asked to include one of our custom glass domes as a potential gift!

“We are running a gardeners gift guide in the House & Home
section of the FT Weekend, and one of the items featured is your glass
domes.” It mentions “…a shimmering curved glass dome framed in lead coated