The Beauty of Stained Glass in a Conservatory

Posted January 10th, 2019 by Nicole Mihalos and filed in Conservatory Projects, Stained Glass
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Would you love stained glass in your conservatory?

Many conservatory owners love the fascinating interplay of light and color both in the designs of the stained glass panels as well as the colored accents it throws across the room.

Tanglewood’s bespoke stained glass can be designed in virtually any form and color.  From subtly colored accent to bold primary statement, the design is as personal as your conservatory… and your life.

The owners of each of these designs worked together with the Tanglewood design team to create their personal palette.

“…the stained glass panels that Tanglewood created for our conservatory definitely make the room our absolute favorite. They were able to personalize the design so it perfectly reflects our unique style.” Tanglewood conservatory owner

The use of stained glass in historical conservatories was relatively rare however. The conservatories of the past were designed to conserve and display plant life. In a departure from tradition, the iconic Conservatory of Flowers in San Francisco incorporates a row of colored panels around the base of its dome, an effect that accentuates the building in the same manner as a typical cornice.

The effect is stunning.

For more information about incorporating stained glass into your conservatory, contact our team at 410.479.4700.

A Client’s Conservatory Story

Posted January 13th, 2016 by Alan Stein and filed in Conservatory Projects, Dynamic Glass, Stained Glass
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What is your favorite memory in your conservatory from 2015?

There have been several amazing memories that have come from projects at Tanglewood this year, but for one family, the creation of their long awaited CONSERVATORY was a memorable experience.

We were contacted about this CLASSICALLY INSPIRED project by their architect BILL BERTSCHE from Mercer & Bertsche Architecture & Engineering. From a historic town in New England, the family envisioned a unique structure with a NATURAL INTERIOR crafted after an old room at The Cloisters in Sea Island. After just a few meetings, we could see this project bring out the family’s passion; based on OLD WOODWORKING TRADITIONS, we knew that with our years of EXPERIENCE and KNOWLEDGE of these designs we could help the team incorporate these ideas in the design of their dream conservatory.

Nancy in Library_Copyright
Vice President Nancy Virts at The Cloisters


About halfway through designing the conservatory, the family had purchased a stunning chandelier from Italy. We will never forget when they told us the chandelier had come in pieces! They emailed us after it was assembled and said, “Took four of us six hours to put up!”, but it was worth it; it turned out to be a masterpiece of its own. When they were finally able to hang the chandelier in the conservatory, the family decided to add STAINED GLASS around the exterior to incorporate the chandelier’s elegant design and color. The marriage of these two turned out beautifully.



It was great having the family so deeply involved in the details of the project and together, we created a conservatory made of painted SAPELE and stained natural SINKER CYPRESS with complimenting custom STAINED GLASS, CUPOLA, fireplace, and more. We partnered greatly with the family, architect, and contractor and are glad we could bring such FLEXIBILITY in DESIGN to their vision. What really made this project special were the relationships formed and watching as this stunning conservatory molded into their dream. After talking with the family when installation was complete, it filled our hearts when they told us it is the BEST ROOM IN THEIR HOME!



We hope your year was just as memorable and rewarding as it was for our clients. We are looking forward to all the new memories 2016 has to bring; maybe the next memory you make is with us!

Building Dream Homes: A Client Story

Posted September 17th, 2015 by Nicole Mihalos and filed in Conservatory Projects, Dynamic Glass, Stained Glass, Uncategorized
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Where does the inspiration for your dream home come from? Do you see something and think, “I’ve got to have it!”?

Following a dream that has lasted a lifetime, this client came to Tanglewood to finally bring it to life. Walking through our shop they could envision all their dreams coming true; turning their home into a getaway retreat. Fascinated with our craftsmanship, team and designs, they took one look and had to have it. What was it?

Imagine yourself on vacation. There’s NO worries, NO schedules, NO work, and all you need to do is RELAX. Now, how do you bring that to your home? With a conservatory! They fell in love with the idea of a magnificent brick and stone conservatory to house a spa on the far end of their property.


Notice the stunning copper roof, the gabled entry and cupola atop the conservatory. Stunning additions, such as cupolas and skylights, bring natural light to a room and are decorative, functional pieces everyone desires. In love with their conservatory, Molly refers to it as their “private sanctuary” just for her and her husband.

But their dream home wasn’t finished yet.

About four years after the completion of the conservatory, they uncovered another piece to their dream home! Inspired by the windows of the conservatory, they wanted to accent other rooms in their home.

While renovating their kitchen, they had the idea to add a two story window wall, back entry door, a bay window by the kitchen sink, and an addition to the guest bedroom! Listening to Molly passionately explain her vision and gesture what she wanted, we knew exactly what she was looking for.


The final piece to their dream was uncovered three years later. Off of the master bedroom was an old leaky sunroom on the second floor. Do you have a room that you just never use? This was there’s. Molly eagerly came to us with a beautiful floor pattern she designed ready to renovate this sunroom. The result speaks for itself.


So, did you see something you’ve got to have? No matter how long it takes to create your dream home, Tanglewood is here for YOU. We’d love for you to share your dream home vision with our team and bring them to life! Give us a call at 410.479.4700 or fill out our form.

A Lesson in History

Posted August 19th, 2015 by Nicole Mihalos and filed in Dynamic Glass, Greenhouses, Stained Glass, Steel Structures
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When you were little, did you dream of having a bowling alley or movie theater in your home?

These clients DID! Housed under this beautiful 40,000 square foot home rests a racquetball court, bowling alley, media room and more! What could they POSSIBLY be missing?

During construction of their dream home the architect was tasked with designing several of the home’s unique rooms; then the idea of a greenhouse arose. The architect reached out to Tanglewood in need of help!


The client had big ideas, dreaming of an old world industrial look with a twist – but how do you incorporate almost impossible elements designed over 100 years ago?

We laboriously researched books of old buildings and historic old world greenhouses that inspired our designs and as the great conservatories and greenhouses stood long ago, this greenhouse would reflect a decorative steel structure with curved rooflines bringing a “light” feel to the room.

Look closely…

PicMonkeky_NRF Outside Zoom

The use of circular motifs in the steel beams, stained glass and in the architectural details lighten the framework. The copper roof and dark stained mahogany on the interior and exterior and gutters disappear into the open glass room. As elements came together the greenhouse held a transparent feel, just as old world conservatories/greenhouses had displayed.

Now take a closer look…

Specially requested by the client, designed within the stained glass and steel beams, four leaf clovers showcase her native Ireland bring a piece of her into its structure.

PicMonkey_4 Leaf Clover Close Up - NRF

 No matter the lengths we are dedicated to turning every dream into a reality. Our skilled craftsman have a strong background in historic structures that allows us to relate, NOT replicate, each and every design, creating TRUE ONE OF A KIND works of art.

Are you Dreaming?

Let’s get your dream started!  Call us at 410.479.4700 and click here to get your project started!

Now Offering: Italian-Crafted Windows & Doors

Posted June 19th, 2015 by Nicole Mihalos and filed in Conservatory Projects, Stained Glass, Steel Structures, Windows & Doors
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Imagine, beautiful slim-line, steel or solid bronze windows and doors that are some of the most energy efficient in the world.

… Imagine that they are available in an amazing variety of colors, finishes, custom sizes and shapes; that they are the highest quality in the world.

Will you come dream with us?

Tanglewood has been named the exclusive Mid-Atlantic partner of Brombal products! In addition to our beautifully hand-crafted wood work, this new partnership adds breath to our product line and gives our clients access to a wide variety of hand crafted, high quality windows and doors made with Italian craftsmanship.


An internationally respected brand, Brombal meets the highest quality standard requirement thanks to their cherished family tradition and strong spirit of innovation; a great fit for Tanglewood clients! Each of their products is specifically requested and handmade in Italy.

Brombal Italy was founded in 1970 by Pietro Brombal. In 2011, Brombal USA was created to provide excellent customer service and commitment to U.S. customers. The company’s windows and doors have been used for new and restoration projects around the globe! Areas such as Italy, the United States, Romania and Belgium are just a touch of Brombal’s reach.


“Tanglewood is  thrilled to partner with Brombal in offering their products to the region and our clients,” says Alan “This is an exciting opportunity to explore new design possibilities for our customers and our company.”



As part of a custom conservatory or home renovation, we will be able to fully tailor customers’ window and door needs using Brombal products. Both wood and steel materials, more than a dozen color finished from stainless steel to nickel to cor-ten steel and unlimited shapes and sizes will be available.

Are you ready to come dream with us? For more information about Tanglewood and you’re project ideas fill out our Contact Us form and give us a call at 410.479.4700!

Night Blooms in a Conservatory

Posted July 16th, 2014 by Alan Stein and filed in General, Greenhouses, Stained Glass
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Once a year, for a single night only, the exotic Night-Blooming Cereus* gives the owners of this conservatory it’s beautiful, fragrant gift.


Actually a type of desert cactus, this particular plant thrives in its conservatory home climbing and attaching itself to the ornamental rock wall. The stone feature wall is a focal point in this Custom Conservatory by the Lake and during the day is flooded with natural light. A shallow grotto at the base is filled with ferns and a pool of cool water which feeds a fountain which trickles over the stone.


Arrive on just the right afternoon and behold, the flowers that have made their appearance, are filled with promise and begin to swell. As sun sets in the conservatory and the dinner table is cleared, the blooms imperceptibly open wide in momentary splendor and embrace the night. Hours later, all that remains are their limp carcasses.


Tomorrow night or perhaps some other, if you are fortunate to be there to see, another bloom may appear. Sometimes just one, other times a crowd of silky white blossoms.





*The Selenicereus grandifloras is a cactus species from the Antilles, Mexico, and Central American regions. It is called the Queen of the Night, Vanilla Cactus, or Sweet-Scented Cactus. In its native environment, it is found growing on rocks and trees. It is rare to find these cacti being cultivated; however, it is not hard to grow and is fast growing. It is a perfect plant for a conservatory that has full sun, and which is kept above 41̊ F in the winter. If the cactus is provided with extra light early in the spring season, the buds will be stimulated, but it only flowers in the late spring or early summer, and then, as was said above, for only one night in a year (sometimes several years) and it withers within hours of blooming.

Below is a time-lapse video showing a Night blooming Cereus blooming and withering in 40 seconds.

Rainbows Every Day!

Posted January 14th, 2014 by Alan Stein and filed in General, Greenhouses, Stained Glass, Steel Structures
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The Palacio de Cristal is a magnificent example of a classic conservatory; one that has inspired us at Tanglewood for design details in some of the one-of-a-kind conservatories we’ve built for our discriminating clients. But the post below portrays it in a whole new lightvery different from when Nancy and I visited it last summer.

Imagine being able to see rainbows every day and not have to necessarily deal with rain! I don’t know about you, but I get excited every time I see a rainbow; there’s something about them that takes my breath away. If I had lived in or near, or had traveled to Madrid, Spain between April 27 and July 24, 2006, I definitely would have gone to see the rainbows, without having to deal with rain, at the Palacio de Cristal.

“To Breathe – A Mirror Woman” by Korean artist Kimsooja, was commissioned by the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia. The artist covered the floor of the Palacio with mirrors and all the glass windows of the structure with translucent diffraction film. Before I go into how the rainbows were created by the mirrors and film, let’s quickly go back to school and refresh our memories about how rainbows in nature are made.

Beams of sunlight are actually made up of different colors but our eyes cannot differentiate between those colors. When it rains, and the sun comes back out, or when it’s raining and the sun is still visible, beams of sunlight enter the raindrops and leave the raindrops at different angles. The sunlight is refracted (the direction of the light is altered) and reflected (like a mirror) off the back of the raindrop into your eyes. Wavelengths of light are refracted at different angles, and each color is formed by a different angle. Meaning, each raindrop is in a different place in the sky when the sunlight enters it, therefore, when the sunlight exits each raindrop, it is exiting at a different angle, and the colors of the rainbow are created: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet.


These photographs from the show are on sale on her web site. Click the thumbnails to go to the site to view the larger versions.


The rainbows in the Palacio de Cristal were formed when the outside light filtered through the glass windows and refracted off the film. The rainbows were then reflected off the mirrored floors creating a rainbow spectrum that is seen in every part of the atrium.

We have been many places and seen many things in our decades of creating conservatories, but this is one of the most stunning conservatory environments we’ve encountered.

More Small Spaces… an Arts & Crafts Transformation

Posted November 13th, 2012 by Alan Stein and filed in Conservatory Projects, Stained Glass
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I last talked about the beautiful Conservatory in Druid Hill Park which is large enough to enclose full size palm trees and while even a much smaller, cozy conservatory can warm your heart on a winter’s eve, we recently were able to transform a tiny unused nook into a spectacular room.

A friend’s home had a small space, not a room, barely a nook with a door that was used to access the backyard. So insignificant was it that you would scarcely be aware anything was actually there. It was merely the way to get outside! When asked to “do something” with the windows and back door, we decided to re-think the entire space.

The existing white windows and trim were a big part of the problem. They were so ordinary and so plain that they simply faded the space away. This was the true definition of a “left over” space!

The solution – a double story tall series of feature windows with stained mahogany and beautiful art glass. Of course a new back door would accompany the windows and the entire ensemble would be tied together with a stained mahogany wainscot. Having some beautiful antique mahogany furniture from websites similar to to complement these wonderful art glass windows ties the room together in such a magical way. Out of nothing – using no more floor space than before, an entirely new and enchanting room was created.

Since the architecture of the house was not strictly classical, we had the liberty to design the window glass in the style of the turn of the century Arts and Crafts style. Our friend, the homeowner, was enamored with the decorative arts of this period and loved the design. The wood trim work was also designed in the Arts and Crafts style with simple detailing distinctly different from the typical classical motifs.

Add two red leather wing chairs, a side table and beautiful stained glass lamp to the new space and what was once a mere void, no more than a walk through space, became an elegant parlor.

While many of our conservatories reflect the decorative tastes of mid nineteenth century Victorian society, the simplified design aesthetic espoused by the Arts and Crafts movement can be equally engaging.

The Arts and Crafts movement developed in England during the latter part of the century as a reaction against overtly ornamental Victorian design. It was a movement away from the mass industrialization of the time and while expressed in art forms, was essentially a social and economic reformist movement.

Industrialized mass production of products was to be replaced by traditional craftsmanship. Simple construction and decorative themes hearkened back to an idealized medieval folk style.



*** Morris Chair, Gustav Stickley, produced in 1902. An example of Arts and Crafts style furniture design.

Glass Artistry

Posted June 1st, 2012 by Alan Stein and filed in General, Stained Glass
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Glass artistry is becoming increasingly popular with our clients, and so we decided to share a bit of the history of leaded glass, stained glass and painted glass windows with you.

Stained glass, most commonly used in churches and cathedrals, has been in existence for about one thousand years.  Both the Romans and Egyptians are known to have manufactured small, colored glass objects. Some churches and monasteries in England, dating to the 7th century, show evidence of stained glass windows. Hundreds of pieces of stained glass and lead have been discovered at St. Peter’s Church, part of the Monkwearmouth-Jarrow Abbey, located in northeastern England. Benedict Biscop introduced glass-making to Great Britain in the 670s by bringing French glaziers to the site to make windows for the priory. The National Glass Centre of England, a popular visitor attraction, is now located near this site. Glass-making exploded in this area in the 1800s and, in fact, Pyrex glass (known for its use as measuring cups and baking dishes) was manufactured here until 2007.

Front facia of the National Glass Centre in Sunderland, England.

The National Glass Centre was made with glass and steel; each glass panel is 6 centimeters thick and was designed so that visitors can walk around on top of the roof and look down into the center of the building! The 3,250 square meters of glass can hold 4,600 people at one time! Visitors to the museum can watch glass being made by artisans on-site and visit galleries and exhibitions dedicated to the history of glass-making.

In the Middle East, Syria had a glass industry during the Islamic period (beginning in the 7th century). However, their glass products tended to be transparent and gilded (gold leaf applied to the glass) instead of colored.

The Luck of Edenhall, 13th century V&A Museum no. C.1 to B-1959

Stained glass artistry exploded in the Middle Ages because it was used to illustrate Bible stories to a population that was mostly illiterate. From 950 AD to 1240 AD strong iron frames that allowed the windows to become very ornate and large supported these glass windows. Unfortunately, during the French Revolution and the Reformation in England, large numbers of these Medieval and Renaissance windows were neglected and even destroyed. Because of this, the traditional methods of making stained glass were lost for many years. Thankfully, in the early 19th century, English heraldic stained glass by Thomas Willement showing his own arms and motto. Thomas Willement (“the Father of Victorian Stained Glass”) created a window with a coat of arms. His creation led to the revival of stained glass windows for parish churches.

To make stained glass, the glass is colored by using metallic salts that are added to the glass while it is being manufactured. After the glass is colored, small pieces of the glass are put together to form pictures or patterns. The glass was traditionally held together by strips of lead and placed in a strong, rigid frame but copper foil is now sometimes used instead. Stained glass is sometimes made from glass that has been painted and then placed in a kiln and heated so that the paint fuses to the glass.

Today, most stained glass products are manufactured in glass factories located in the US, Germany, Russia, France, England and Poland. One of the best-known types of stained glass in modern times is Tiffany glass, developed and created by Louis Comfort Tiffany in 1878 after his visit to the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

Blown favrile glass, 1896-1902, Louis Comfort Tiffany V&A Museum no. 1447-1902

Tiffany was a trained interior designer who could not find the type of glass he wanted for his interior design projects. He developed Favrile, a type of iridescent glass that has the color ingrained into the glass itself, which he patented in 1894. To make Favrile, the colors are poured into the molten glass, thus becoming embedded or infused into the glass as it cools.

The Stained Glass Association of America was formed 100 years ago to “advance the awareness, understanding, appreciation, and potentialities of its craft and its organization; to enact programs for the benefit of its craft; to assure survival of its craft by offering proper guidelines, instruction and training to craftspersons…” In addition to the SGAA efforts to re-establish the art-form of stained glass making, educational programs have been created to teach traditional stained glass-making skills.

Most notably is the Master Craftsman Program at Florida State University. Robert Bishchoff (a Florida State artist), along with his wife and 12 students, created a three-story stained glass window that depicts Bobby Bowden (the head football coach from 1976 – 2009) looking over the football field. This 30-by20-foot window is one of the five largest stained glass windows in the United States and is located over the entrance of the Florida State Moore Athletic Center.

Bobby Bowden Field Stained Glass

Tanglewood Conservatories honors the centuries old tradition of stained glass artistry in our custom conservatory projects. We’d love to hear your ideas and incorporate them into your very own project. Please use our contact form to share and discuss your ideas with us.

Below are some samples of stained glass in our conservatory projects…