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In the Country – Town & Country

Town & Country MagazineCustom-Made Conservatories

Tanglewood Conservatories founders Alan and Nancy Virts named their company for the Berkshires’ famed music festival, and while their stylish structures don’t actually sing, they do give a new voice to the elegant traditions of 19th-century English glass architecture. The small outfit, on Maryland’s Eastern shore, has doubled in size since 2002 (a reflection of the upswing in residential conservatory design and construction nationwide) and has won such high – profile fans – and clients – as interior designer Mario Buatta, director Ron Howard and Lazard Freres CEO Bruce Wasserstein.

“We’re rare because we do modern interpretations of classic conservatories,” says Alan. “And we use design elements like those that made the originals so beautiful,” such as Honduras mahogany and rolled copper. Projects have also incorporated hand-carved capitals, solid brass and cast-bronze hardware, and stained-glass panels that depict the flora on a homeowner’s property.

The custom conservatory creations can take a year to produce, with primary construction occurring in Maryland and the company’s craftspeople traveling the globe to oversee on-site installation. “We work closely with our clients,” Alan says, “taking into account everything from the way they live to their philosophy of life. The final product is a unique statement about who they are.”