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Classic Conservatories: 
  the Beauty of an Architectural Icon
– Luxury Landscapes Magazine

Conservatories convey an Old World elegance that enhances both a home and its outdoor living space.

Lakeside ConservatoryView beautiful pictures of traditional glass-walled conservatories. Discover how these structures convey an Old World elegance that enhances a home and its outdoor living space.

Have you ever sipped tea in a fine, sunlit conservatory? Admired a bonsai or caught the fresh scent of springtime blossoms as the sun streamed through the glass above? Shared a private moment or a glass of port beneath the stars? lf so, you have felt the spell of conservatories, for a conservatory is truly a magical place. Charming, graceful, and refined, a conservatory quickly becomes a focal point in your home and a natural bridge between the house and garden.

Rooms filled with ever-changing natural light lift the spirits and enchant the senses. They add space, beauty, and value to a home. They frame their surroundings and accentuate the plants and furnishings within. And they’re marvels of design, craftsmanship, and engineering.

Each design is highly personal. As a host, you’ll love the ambiance of a conservatory when you have friends to dine. As a gardener, you’ll revel in the year-round splendor of lush greenery. From your favorite armchair, you’ll see day break, watch moonlight paint the room, and read peacefully as a gentle rain (or snow!) falls overhead.

Although many people associate conservatories with Europe, it might surprise you to learn that numerous striking examples of these structures were built here on our shores. Visit the Enid Haupt Conservatory in New York City, the Palace Hotel and The Conservatory of Flowers in San Francisco, or the Biltmore Estate in Asheville if you haven’t already in your travels. Restored to their original glory, they stand as evidence of America’s rich contribution to the conservatory tradition.

The following images illustrate the beauty that is found within the magnificent glass walls of a conservatory. As you enjoy these pictures, be prepared to become enchanted by the graceful designs, intricate details, and wonderful quality of lightness that, quite literally, reflect a century-old tradition.


Tea Room Conservatory

 

Much of a conservatory’s charm stems from its classic lines and prime materials. Throughout history, architecture and technology have found their perfect playground in the conservatory.

This design features double 15-pane doors bracketed by Doric columns and a heavy comice that replicate the existing porticoes at the front and rear of the home. Although stylistically indebted to classicism, the conservatory makes use of the most sophisticated technologies. High-performance glass blocks out much of the heat, yet is virtually clear. The thermoplastically controlled roof vents close automatically when it starts to rain-yet we double the homeowners notice that while they gaze out over the banks of the nearby river.

Tea Room Conservatory

 

 

The land surrounding this conservatory slopes gently toward the river, so the structure itself becomes a passage. Taking its proportions and lines from the house, the conservatory functions as an architectural palindrome, from house to yard and back again. It offers a place to pause and contemplate perspective-and either follow the path out onto the yard or top under the elegant canopy, perhaps to sit for tea among the flora and watch the tree that’s taken center stage dance in the breeze.


Glass Conservatory

There’s a certain Slant of Light,” Emily Dickinson wrote; and “When it comes, the Landscape listens-Shadows-hold their breath.” This conservatory illustrates that sentiment. It is the first addition to the original 1920s home-as a segue between the stone house and the shadow-filled garden. The design incorporates details from other parts of the house, such as the pilaster and window mullions that were specially fabricated to replicate the existing ones. The curved facade and window heads gently echo shapes from the home’s stately front entry and a bay window along the side of the house.

 


Glass Conservatory

From the very beginning, greenhouses and conservatories have blurred the very lines they’ve drawn. They extend a home into nature while keeping the same nature at bay, delivering all the beauty of the outdoors with all the comforts of home.

Originally conceived as a place to collect and maintain exotic plants and flowers, the conservatory has blossomed into an elegant social setting, ideal for an intimate supper or sunny Sunday brunch. The interior reveals all the conservatory has to offer. Hibiscus bloom in the foreground as ferns (suspended from structural tie rods doubling as plant holders) hang overhead. Every detail contributes to the ambiance, from the curved windows and pilasters that match the conservatory’s exterior, to the exquisite Italian marble mosaic floor. The table, dressed for an elegant meal, was made from steel supports salvaged from an old greenhouse that formerly stood at the same location.


Gallery Conservatory

 

Conservatories offer everything one could wish for in a social setting: supple ambience, a gentle hush (perfect for intimate conversation), lush greenery and fragrant blossoms, and the warmth of wood.

This distinctive conservatory features a central octagonal gallery seamlessly integrated with single-slope roofs on either side. The large room’s overall effect is a well-proportioned whole that artfully complements the home. The quarry tile floor and deep green interior lend depth of tone to the room and are contrasted by a pale wooden table and bright red blossoms-perfect for some afternoon reading or a glass of wine.

 


Conservatory Interior

 

Winter, spring, summer, and fall, nature is a four-season phenomenon, so it’s only natural that the conservatory, the place best suited to celebrate its daily bounty, also be a year-round structure.

With sun bursting through the canopy of leaves, how elegant a setting for a summer afternoon! This classic octagonal conservatory, an extension of the home’s formal living room, combines modern technology with Old World charm. The specially selected glass appears clear, yet blocks most of the solar heat gain and works exceptionally well at insulating against the cold. Intricate steel brackets and iron castings accentuate the structure as the conservatory opens onto a grove of grandfather oaks.