Hearts of Glass –Chesapeake Home Magazine
“He saw glass as those who love it perceive it. He understood that it was the gross material most nearly like the soul, or spirit…that it was free of imperfection, or dust, rust, that it was an avenue for glory.”
—Peter Carey, Oscar & Lucinda
by Kevin Varrone
To every room, a purpose: so what does one do in a room made of glass? When I posed the question to Nancy Virts of Tanglewood Conservatories, she replied, simply, live. “People move into their conservatories,” she said. “It’s their favorite space in the house.” A room is practical. A conservatory, however, is something more, something of an architectural stanza. It is not simply a sunroom or greenhouse; it’s no longer the Victorian construct intended mainly to harbor tender plants; it’s not just an addition to a house—it is an extension of house and landscape, arising equally, somehow, from both. A conservatory is a glass transition, a segue for segue’s sake. Built mostly from liquid (glass is considered a supercooled liquid rather than a solid), a conservatory exhibits a readiness to flow, to change—to be alchemical and transmute space rather than define or enclose it. If one enters a conservatory from the outside, the feeling is of having come in. If one enters from the main house, the feeling is of having gone outside. Erected in and as transitional space, quixotic and chamelionesque, the conservatory is a most contemporary structure, blurring the very lines it punctuates. Simultaneously, there is scarcely a structure more traditional. Its ethereal existence precisely on the cusp of the built and natural environments produces its acute charms—its challenges.
A conservatory offers seemingly simple elegance, but it is neither a simple structure nor an add—on. It is a permanent extension of a home and a major project in terms of scope and expense. As such, it requires careful planning and expertise. Your conservatory should be built to last by a company with know-how, experience, and a true passion for building conservatories.