Legacy Conservatories: What will yours entail?

Posted March 1st, 2017 by Nicole Mihalos and filed in Client Stories, Dynamic Glass, Pool Enclosures, Steel Structures, Uncategorized, Windows & Doors
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Imagine… creating a legacy that transcends generations. What would yours entail?

Does the combination of modern buildings and old world architecture inspire you? How would you make an impact on your home?

Aspiring to leave a lasting legacy is one of our clients driving forces behind creating a conservatory. They love the uniqueness of the architecture, the combination of historic beauty and modern technology while still possessing the ability to transform the structure into anything they dream of; to create a room that truly has no replica.

A recent client put it best, “every detail of my conservatory needs to be perfect. This is a legacy project. We are thinking of our children’s children!”

Building Inside Out

Have you ever traveled to the Schönbrunn Palm house Conservatory in Vienna, Austria? This magnificent structure is one of the most unique, historic conservatories in the world and is known best for its exoskeleton design. That exoskeleton is rare, and makes the conservatory look more massive and strong from the outside. Inside the glass seems connected mostly by its edges, presenting smooth sheets of transparency.

It is also the inspiration for a couple’s grand pool enclosure in the San Juan Islands.

Drawn to its unique look of strength and permanence, the family wanted to echo the exoskeleton design with a few upgrades. While we are quite familiar with building glass conservatories, we have never done one like this before! Normally the frame of a building is hidden between the inside and outside walls, but this design exposes everything.


In a typical glass conservatory, the frame or skeleton is on the inside with the glass hung or attached outside as the skin of the building. Of course, the glass not only creates the temperature controlled inside, it allows you to see the frame, but inside the glass. With the exoskeleton design, the interior of the conservatory glass is smooth and uninterrupted. In truth, we spent about six months consulting with engineers and brainstorming in order to create exactly the pool house our clients wanted.

The result is amazing. Although much smaller than the Schönbrunn, its exoskeleton creates exactly the look and strength the client wanted. The exoskeleton sparkles in the sunlight, just as the glass and the water in the pool shines in total concert with the harbor’s – all in an enclosure that’s about 1,900 square feet.

So, how would you create your legacy?

Let us help you create a structure that will awaken and delight for generations. Schedule a consultation or call 1-410 479 4700 to discuss your vision.

Will adding a conservatory or pool enclosure increase the value of my home?

Posted January 18th, 2017 by Nicole Mihalos and filed in Client Stories, Conservatory Projects, Pool Enclosures
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We’re often asked if a glass conservatory or elegant pool house adds value to a home.

What do you think? Is that even the right question?

We’re partnered with a writer who, before she began writing, was the third generation in her family’s real estate business on the west coast.  She told us that her father advised people who were searching for a home not to consider it part of their investment portfolio, although he recognized that a house could indeed be an investment. Instead, he suggested they buy and use the home that best suited the family – in other words if you want a conservatory in your home get one.

What does a conservatory add?

There are three critical values to determine the worth of any home; what you think its worth, what it’s going to be worth to someone else, and what a professional will think it’s worth. While that’s true when you’re talking price, it doesn’t encompass what living in the home is like for you.

When we talk with our clients about what the conservatory brings to them, the most common response is it’s become a part of their everyday lifestyle, where they go for safe haven, create priceless family memories, and live out the things they are most passionate about. Often it comes down to becoming part of their legacy; the mark they want to leave on their family with the most cherished memories.

What is the value of a memory? Or a place where you feel close to nature and at peace? A place of light and love?

In our experience, an elegant, well-crafted conservatory generates massive curb appeal to a home, drawing people’s eyes around the room to look at the detail within the wood and steel work.

A Recent Sale

Several years ago we built a conservatory for Hollywood Director Ron Howard as a focal point with elegant seating at the far end of his pool house. It added just the right dramatic touch, matching and enhancing the beauty of his estate.

On Friday, January 9, 2015, the CT Post announced the sale of Ron Howard’s home for $27.5 million! From curb appeal to relaxing nooks to family fun spaces, the home is nothing less than extraordinary. What many find as most appealing is the heated indoor pool linked to its glass conservatory. During those cold New England winters, this addition to Ron’s home is the perfect cure-all for those long, dark months and a perfect protected place when it’s hot outside.

While we certainly don’t know how much Ron’s pool house conservatory contributed to the sale price, we’re pretty sure it didn’t hurt. After all, how could it?

Not surprisingly, Ron Howard obviously has an eye for design and for a true artist’s attention to detail.

This expansive property set amidst 32 groomed acres might be called the epitome of visual appeal. There’s a delightful flavor of the Victorian and the pool house he added while he lived there played well with that theme.

Beauty creates its own draw

People are naturally drawn to beauty and as HGTV puts it:

“A good-looking face isn’t just memorable – in real estate, an attractive exterior can make or break a home sale.”

There’s no reason to think a glass conservatory or gorgeous pool house does anything but improve the face a home presents to the world.

Of course, a conservatory or pool houses is more than a pretty face. They provide the kind of space that creates a celebration of life and health. With the natural light and warm, healthy atmosphere, families and friends, young and old often find themselves in a kind of intimacy that’s hard to replicate anyplace else.

Just as a glass conservatory or magnificent pool house adds beauty, it can also add value to your home and your legacy. To learn more, take a look at our e-brochure on the left hand side of this webpage or schedule a 30 minute consultation with our team.


The Magic of Smart Glass

Posted May 18th, 2016 by Nicole Mihalos and filed in Dynamic Glass, General, Pool Enclosures, Skylights
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Are you one of the many who are enlivened by natural light but don’t enjoy its overbearing heat or chilling cold when it is gone?

A glass room can bring an ABUNDANCE OF BENEFITS to your home and now we can enhance those benefits! Glass is enchanting, and getting smarter all the time. You no longer have to depend on the weather to be comfortable under glass, nor try using shades or painting glass to give you control over how much light it lets in.


How is that possible?

Smart glass (also known as e-glass, intelligent glass, switchable glass, and self-tinting glass) is created when special materials, like nano-particles and liquid crystal, are sandwiched between layers of glass, Diagramchanging its properties to respond to light or electricity. We are most familiar with two types, Active and Passive.

ACTIVE SMART GLASS requires the use of electricity. When the electricity flows through a special layer within the glass, its transparency is changed to translucent or even opaque literally at the turn of a dial. Active glass allows you to MANUALLY CONTROL how the glass in your conservatory behaves, like magic!


PASSIVE SMART GLASS, on the other hand, responds to surrounding environmental conditions, adapting to its changes almost instantaneously. This allows your glass room to create the PERFECT BALANCE of natural light and heat while preserving an amazing view.  As the sun heats the glass, it becomes more opaque and when clouds pass or night falls, the glass cools and returns to its transparent state.

See it in Action!

Currently, we are creating a marvelous POOL ENCLOSURE using smart glass technology, assuring swimmers and sunbathers total comfort regardless of the weather. We understand the importance of COMFORT and EFFICIENCY in your glass structure. Using either active or passive smart glass to create your conservatory or other structure will ADD VALUE to your home while giving you and your guests a truly special place to relax and enjoy.

We’d love to show you what we can do with it! GIVE US A CALL at 410.479.4700 or fill out the form on our contact page. We’d be happy to discuss smart glass with you.


A Hidden Dream Brought to Life

Posted August 26th, 2015 by Nicole Mihalos and filed in Greenhouses, Pool Enclosures, Uncategorized
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Do you remember the Doylestown dream?

As promised, this Doylestown dream is brought to life! In just a few days, 350 square feet of beautiful mahogany, elegant French doors, and light-giving cupola will be ready to house its plants and flowers.


On Site

During a recent visit, the client expressed how much she is in love with their new greenhouse! They are eager for its completion and the beginning of the pool enclosure; a far more ambitious project. 



The fully operating grow systems in the greenhouse are automated, which gives the owners precise control of the greenhouses environment. The abstract look of the lapped-glass roof sloping up to the cupola gives this greenhouse a unique touch and the arched woodwork in the windows are truly hand-made, custom pieces.


Current Status

As for the pool enclosure, it has left engineering and is on its way to our shop floor! Our production team expects to have the pool enclosure ready for installation to begin in November; just in time for their children to use the pool before the snow falls!



This certainly is another dream we are thankful to be a part of creating and are looking forward to the completion of the pool enclosure late November! It’s apparent we all share the same vision and dedication to bring this dream to life.


Craving more? Check out more dreams created at Tanglewood. Who knows, yours could be next! Give us a call at 410.479.4700 and contact us!

A Hidden Dream

Posted June 26th, 2015 by Nicole Mihalos and filed in Greenhouses, Pool Enclosures, Steel Structures
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Do you have a hidden dream?

Hundreds of dreams are created at Tanglewood before they are installed on location and with each dream we have uncovered something we’ve never done before. How can we help you discover your hidden dream?

We invite you to take a closer look into our workshop at some exciting developments, starting with what we believed to be an everyday project from a home owner in Doylestown, PA.

Several months ago, a client came to us with their dream to construct a unique pool enclosure for her kids to enjoy year round. Immediately struck by Tanglewood’s exceptional design and passion, she looked no further and invited us out to see her home.

It was her dream for us to construct a 3,000 square foot pool enclosure with a design that required both steel and wood finishes.




But before our meeting came to an end, the client was so impressed she proposed a second project that they have been dreaming about… a greenhouse! We eagerly accepted.

For this project, she envisioned a 350 square foot fully operating wood greenhouse to finish with an aluminum roof.



Together, our teams immediately got started on design, working with not only the client, but landscape architect, builder and architect to make her dream a reality.

Current Status:

After discussion of the greenhouse began, it instantly became first priority. Currently, we are putting on the final touches in our shop and plan to have the project completely finished by this summer.

As for the pool enclosure, designs are now complete and installation is set to begin in the fall.

We work hard to make sure all of our client’s design visions come true, no matter how big or small, complicated or simple, modern or classic. Want to read more about Tanglewood’s uncovered dreams? Keep in touch, there’s more to come!

To get your project started, give us a call at 410.479.4700.

Finding Inspiration in Historic Steel Conservatories

Posted April 10th, 2015 by Bonnie Hall and filed in Conservatory Projects, Greenhouses, Pool Enclosures, Steel Structures, Travels, Uncategorized
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How can looking back at historic structures help us build conservatories today?  The answer is actually relatively simple – because they help us dream!

The earliest glass houses date from the 17th century, but it wasn’t until the 19th century that steel and glass hit its heyday.   The abolishment of the glass tax in 1845 and advancements in cast iron production made during the industrial revolution fueled the passion for exotic glass houses.   The romanticism of the design – the sensuous curves, the play of light from the many angles and multitude of glass – the simple elegance and serenity – the list could go on and on as to the attributes of the historic conservatories.  Let’s take a look at how one historic structure fueled a dream!

Schönbrunn Palace Palm House
The Palm House conservatory is one of four greenhouses that occupy Schönbrunn Palace Park.  The present Palm House was built by metalworker Ignaz Gridl between 1880 and 1882 and was designed by Franz von Segenschmid.  The last of its type to be built in Europe, the great Palm House was designed using the most modern technology of the time.  With a length of 111 meters, a width of 28 meters and a height of 25 meters, the great Palm House is the largest glass house – with over 45,000 glass sheets on the European continent.

What is most interesting about Schönbrunn is that the steel ‘framework’ is actually on the exterior – forming a very unique exoskeleton! Most buildings begin with the structural ‘skeleton’ fitting inside of the exterior ‘skin’.  The ‘skeleton’ provides the framework, holding the building up and the ‘skin’ keeps the building weather tight.  Schönbrunn is just the opposite!  By reversing the arrangement, the steel exoskeleton celebrates the steelworks juxtaposition from utility to an elevation of art.

schoenbrun detail

Even the rivets in the girders lend such ornate detail to the entire structure.  Over 45,000 panes of glass cling to the curved iron girders like skin.


Tanglewood Conservatories is currently constructing a pool enclosure inspired by Schönbrunn Palace Palm House.  The client had some very definite design ideas that we discussed during our design meeting – a pool enclosure that mimicked an Irish countryside greenhouse – rustic and pastoral.  However, upon viewing photos of historic structures from 19th century Europe, the client asked to return to the Schönbrunn photos and was completely mesmerized by the concept. Their design vision was quickly and completely changed and now boasted an exterior steel structure and a multitude of glass panes functioning as the skin.  Tanglewood was captivated by the challenge to recreate such an iconic piece of history.  The project should be complete by late fall – photos to follow!

Enclosed Luxury…Design Elements for Your Pool Enclosure

Posted March 27th, 2015 by Bonnie Hall and filed in latest, Pool Enclosures
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Whether you desire an endless swim season, privacy for your early morning swim sessions or just protection from sun and insects, a pool conservatory enclosure can provide you with a very luxurious swimming and entertaining setting.  Regardless of the heat of summer, rainy season or the coldest east coast winter ever on record, your pool conservatory will allow you to comfortably enjoy your pool or spa any time of the year.

With the guidance of design experts, creating the perfect pool enclosure will not only provide you with endless enjoyment, it can also add dramatic architectural accent to your home.  Typical discussions for pool enclosure design are usually centered around which type of glass is best (low-e coated glass can reduce heat by up to 50% while cutting UV penetration with will help minimize heating & cooling costs) and environmental controls (how to stay cool in the summer and warm in the winter) at times however, personalizing the space to reflect your passions is overlooked.

Designing Your Space

Much like a traditional conservatory, your pool or spa enclosure can be designed to reflect your personality and lifestyle.  Style should not take a back seat to functionality and now, the choices are truly limitless.  Tanglewood designed and built a mahogany spa retreat for one client that expressed their desire to have their own personal oasis to unwind in, after a hectic day at the office.  The client was very involved in not only the design of the building, which features extensive curvilinear shapes – which studies have showed enables better energy flow, reduces stress and creates positive emotions but also in the calm and soothing decoration.  A fireplace was added not only to serve as a focal point – again emphasizing the prominent curves of the room – but also to create balance for the ‘cooler’ water feature of the spa with the ‘warmth’ of the fire.  A small wet bar and cozy seating area completes the room.



spa room


As intimate as the hideaway retreat is above, the project below is very spacious, open and airy.  Very reminiscent of the great conservatories of the 19th century, the open feel with the sturdy steel frame embellished with the whimsy of scrolls, medallions and stained glass.  This setting is very inviting with plenty of entertaining space, a large seating area and adjacent kitchen.  Plants warm the vast openness, pulling the outdoors in.


Current trends to incorporate into your luxurious enclosure include

  • Fire focal point – whether a fully functioning fireplace or an upscale fire pit – bringing a fire element in the room provides a perfect balance
  • Water Feature – beyond the pool or spa, many are incorporating an additional water feature such as a fountain or reflection pond stocked with Koi to enhance and balance the room
  • Architectural details from historic conservatories brought back to life in current projects. Details include the romantic use of steel as both a structural material but also decorative such as the scrollwork, extensive use of glass to give a more translucent feel to the open and airy space.

For more information on trends and how Tanglewood’s creative design process works to help you design and build the enclosure of your dreams, send us an email and let us know about your project.



Dea Digs….Perfect Plants for your Poolhouse

Posted March 20th, 2015 by Bonnie Hall and filed in Dea Digs, Gardening, Pool Enclosures
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Some would say it is the height of fortune to possess a natatorium, or pool enclosure, especially if designed and created by Tanglewood. Is there anything that could possibly add to that fortune? Of course—and that would be plants.

Such a building has a very different environment from greenhouses and conservatories due to evaporation of the large body of water it contains and its main purpose. Heat and humidity are what make the major difference. As with all such structures, each is unique, so temperatures and moisture will vary slightly. But because they will generally be within a range humans need for comfort while swimming year-round, it’s a fairly static tropical environment.

An important factor to consider is your interest in plants. How much care and attention will be provided and how much ‘house-cleaning’ is tolerable? Ferns are pretty universally loved, but they can be somewhat messy residents—a major concern around a pool. So I’ll start with some more unusual suggestions for the minimalist ‘neatniks’. (Dracaenas, Ficus and Aglaonema are not mentioned because they are so common—by the way, of these, only some Ficus are messy, especially the classic benjamina).

Some of the loveliest, easiest and most unusual plants are in the Aroid family. These include Alocasias, Anthuriums, Philodendrons, and Monstera. There are hundreds of species and varieties. They are often seen as slow to moderate-growing vines, either creating their own trunk/stalk or hugging a large wooden or fiber post. Some get very large. Their generally heart-shaped leaves come in the most astounding colors, sizes, and variations. Some are so artistic in appearance that they will generate serious admiration! All eventually flower, some a little more colorfully than others. Many of the Anthuriums have particularly lovely spathes. Watering, pruning, and feeding will be moderate.

perfect plant_collage 1

Many plants in the Zingiberaceae family are great, rather tidy contenders too. These include ornamental gingers, Calatheas, Alpinias, Heliconias (Lobster Claw/Parrot Flower), Strelizia (Bird of Paradise). Many have colorful, unusual flowers. Some can get rather large, so it’s a good idea to know the final height of your botanical treasure!

Other plants on the tidier, showy spectrum are the epiphytes (which get moisture and nutrients from the air and grow on rocks, logs or other plants). These include orchids, bromiliads and some cactus which can be very artfully displayed. I don’t recommend terrestrial orchids unless you can simulate seasonal changes.

perfect plant_collage 2If your pool enclosure is on the dryer side, terrestrial cactus and succulents of all species and varieties can be used. They’re easy, clean, and may reward you with some of the most beautiful flowers on the planet. Some are spectacular night-bloomers—cause for a celebratory midnight swimming party!

I haven’t mentioned palms yet because many not only have a mess-factor, but because most need a more watchful eye when grown under glass. I recommend them for plant people or those employing knowledgeable gardeners. If you really love that fluffy, handsome, full look of ferns, palms, and perhaps even cycads, arrange for them to be ‘washed’ once a week with a showering. The leaves not only drop detritus, but they are prone to catching debris and developing the occasional insect infestation (clearly, pesticides aren’t recommended in a pool enclosure).

There are so many appropriate species and varieties that it’s impossible to mention them all in a blog post. But if there’s something you particularly love, a little research and an attempt are always worth it—the most important criteria is whether the plant is suitable for a static, tropical environment.

Success will be from the very things that make a successful natatorium. Air circulation is critical, so be sure a slight breeze flows over the plants, either from a fan or venting. Also, watch out with that pool water and its chemicals. NEVER get bleach, ammonia, chlorine, or bromine on the plants and never use pool water to water them. If mold/mildew are an issue in a particularly humid space, an organic fungicide (like a copper spray/drench) will take care of the problem.

Finally, if you go the plant route, know that they will positively affect the air quality of your environment—adding oxygen, absorbing carbon dioxide, and critically—bringing artful living beauty to your lovely structure.

Why Invest In A Pool Enclosure?

Posted March 6th, 2015 by Bonnie Hall and filed in latest, Pool Enclosures, Uncategorized

Your pool is a major investment, but how much actual time do you spend enjoying it?  More than likely you use your pool just one season out of the entire year; but certainly not if it is rainy, or thunderstorms, or a snowstorm in a winter that just doesn’t want to end!  And this doesn’t count the hours spent opening and closing your pool, along with cleaning and skimming leaves and insects from the water.  Your desire to swim all year round can be solved by designing and building a pool enclosure.  They can  protect your pool, allowing you more time to swim, alleviating some of the cleaning (no more leaves!) but the enclosure also will allow you to swim all year round, regardless of the weather.

dunes collage

With over 20 years of experience in building conservatories, greenhouses and glass pool enclosures, Tanglewood Conservatories has the expertise to guide you through the design process to installation.  With TWC’s broad knowledge base, along with creative design work, we can assist with decisions such as:

  • HVAC – how to incorporate HVAC into your design
  • Proper humidity & condensation control
  • Discreetly and decoratively conceal mechanical systems – especially important in an all-glass structure
  • Special coatings for the steel to inhibit rust
  • Size and orientation

While it might seem like an odd time to begin designing your enclosed pool with summer close by, if you want to swim in late December, the design process should begin now so that installation is ready to move forward in late fall.   Take a look through Tanglewood’s gallery for more ideas.  Next week we will discuss common HVAC issues with pool enclosures.  If you would like an early preview, complete the form:

A Dip in December?

Posted December 12th, 2014 by Bonnie Hall and filed in Conservatory Projects, Pool Enclosures, Steel Structures
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Wouldn’t you love to go swimming in December?  With short days and cold nights this might be a foreign concept unless you have a membership to the local YMCA.   A steel pool house conservatory is the perfect answer to extend your swimming season (indefinitely!).   The spacious swimming pool enclosure below contains the swimming pool, a spa and ample space for entertaining or just relaxing around the interior fireplace.

Exquisite pool enclosure by Tanglewood Conservatories

The tradition of building a structure to enclose both public and private swimming pools is actually centuries old – dating back to the Great Roman Empire.  Roman bath houses were also important drivers in the evolution of architecture offering the first dome structures in Classical architecture.  These bath houses were built using millions of fireproof terracotta bricks and the finished buildings were very lavish with fine mosaic floors, marble-covered walls and decorative statues.

Roman Bath
Roman Bath

Tanglewood works closely with your team to design and build a one-of-a-kind, unique to you structure, utilizing the highest quality materials backed by over twenty years of specialized experience.  Tanglewood’s unparalleled attention to detail, such as cast iron and steel parts with forged curls and intricate rosettes, is reminiscent of the great glass houses of the nineteenth century.

Iron work details

Interior of lavish pool enclosure by Tanglewood Conservatories

Whether it is an expansive, elegant space with room for entertaining and exotic plants or just a more simple design for your lap pool, Tanglewood’s team of architects and engineers will expertly guide you through the design and development process and then our team of craftsmen bring the drawings to life with installation on your site.  Tanglewood works seamlessly with your team of architects and designers and are the time-proven experts in these potentially challenging structures.  Issues such as heating and cooling, wiring and structural loading can be difficult when you consider the fact that conservatories (and pool enclosures) are not constructed with typical or standard 2” x 4″.   Tanglewood recommends bringing an expert in early on to help navigate and guide the project.

Enjoy the benefits of summer year round with no more worries about rain, leaves or insects and eliminate the chore of opening and closing your pool as summer comes to a close.  Don’t just dream of swimming in December – let’s make it a reality for 2015!

lap pool interior