Old World Greenhouse & Orchid House

An Orchid House for display and a greenhouse for cultivation, this unique pair of structures make a commanding ensemble. A decorative steel interior structure harks back 150 years.

An Orchid House & Conservatory In The Grand Tradition

Stained Glass WindowsPerched high on a second floor deck, this interconnected pair of horticultural houses supports the passion of its owner, an avid orchid enthusiast.

Inside, a uniquely decorated steel structure is used to support the glass facades in much the same way nineteenth century designers first used iron and glass to build their now historic palm houses. The steel structural system is both decorative and functional. It is used as a design element but also allows the room to be constructed so that it is lightweight and transparent. The vision, now as then, is to allow in as much light as possible so that the plants within might flourish.

The design began with a request by the owners that we produce not merely a room to enclose their flowers, but “a work of art” itself. Our design team looked back to the “golden era” of conservatory design in the nineteenth century, a time when designers conceived of the great glass palaces as whimsical architectural jewels and wealthy landowners sought them as unique additions to their properties.

Inside, this conservatory is fabricated using sapele, an African hardwood similar to mahogany but with a more pronounced grain. It is stained a rich natural color that complements the custom designed stained glass panels of floral motifs.
They were built to house exotic collections of flora from around the world but needed to provide architectural fancy as well. The country castles of the English gentry were formal indeed and the opportunity to build a fanciful conservatory on the estate was a welcome challenge. Sunshine poured into these new spaces and drew occupants out from the dark damp interiors of their stone houses.Here was an opportunity to relish the plants and the warmth.
Gigantic water lilies imported from the Amazon were popular as were palm trees, citrus and spice. Grand social gatherings were common. The conservatory became imbued with an aura of romance. At first only the well-heeled could enjoy such extravagance, but by the end of the century grand public gardens housed under glass were built in cities of every size. They became entertainment centers with restaurants, shops and even theaters — the actual forerunners of today’s shopping malls.Not unlike many cultivators of the past, this owner most often looks forward to quiet time among the pots and plants and a welcome break from the hustle of modern life.

Detail on the Orchid House

The dark bronze painted exterior and copper trim match the house.