For Architects, Designers & Builders

A Note on Collaboration

Getting your conservatory design right-exactly right-is why we do what we do at Tanglewood. How we do it, however, depends largely on you. We often work exclusively with homeowners, from blank canvas to finished structure, but we frequently collaborate with other architects and design professionals as well. We know that collaboration is an important component of the design and construction process, and we pride ourselves on fulfilling our role, in whatever way it comes to be defined. Tanglewood is a full-service conservatory company; we wear many hats, and we bring our expertise, experience, and passion for conservatories to every project.

Collaborations: Refining the Wheel

We’ve worked with many architects who want to design their client’s conservatory but recognize the challenges and artistry specific to our craft.

Interior of Glass DomeThey often produce a conservatory design, then look to Tanglewood to develop and refine their concept and work out the building details for a properly constructed conservatory. Architect Bob Scialla, in Morristown, New Jersey, had clients he’d worked with before who now wanted a large conservatory design added to their family room. According to Scialla, “The clients had ideas about what they wanted in the conservatory, but did not have a specific design in mind.” So Scialla and his team developed a conceptual plan for the project and then contacted Tanglewood. “We brought Tanglewood in because conservatories are highly specialized and highly technical structures. Building them right requires a unique set of skills, and we wouldn’t take it upon ourselves to develop details and tackle the engineering on a project as specialized as a conservatory. Sometimes, architects want to reinvent the wheel, but why reinvent the wheel when Tanglewood has already perfected it?” Working in close partnership with Scialla, Tanglewood turned his concept into a conservatory design that was both elegant and could be well executed. “They made suggestions and recommendations for all the details-glass types, waterproofing, the windows and vents. They engineered the structure and made a difficult design buildable,” said Scialla. “Tanglewood took our concept and brought it to fruition. Then they fabricated it, shipped it up to us and installed it at our client’s home,” he explained. “Our relationship with Tanglewood was very, very good. They are consummate professionals. We’d call them again in a minute; in fact, we have, for another project that’s in development now.”

Hands On, and Hand in Hand

Sometimes the collaborative effort involves an architect who wants to take a more hands-on approach to the conservatory-not only conceptualizing and developing the design, but being intimately involved with the many details as well.

Classic English Greenhouse

Architect Arthur Chabon designed an 18,000-square-foot home for a client that included a large conservatory. His client had come across Tanglewood in an advertisement and Chabon called to talk about the project. He had produced a complete design already and was looking for a company with specialized conservatory design experience to help construct it. Tanglewood produced detailed shop drawings of Chabon’s exact design. “Alan handled all the technical matters; we modified all the details,” Chabon said. Throughout the process, Chabon reviewed each detail with a very discerning eye and had Tanglewood modifying shapes and profiles by as little as 1/8 of an inch at times. Working in the background, Tanglewood used its experience, expertise, and creativity to bring the architect’s refined vision to life. “Tanglewood was fabulous,” Chabon said. “They have a really talented team.”

Conceptual Art

Tanglewood is sometimes retained by a project architect to provide the conceptual design as well as the details.

Glass Conservatory Sunroom

Tanglewood is not the first conservatory company architect Jim Davis has worked with, but he’s selected Tanglewood for a number of recent projects because, as he says, “With Tanglewood, you get the benefit of their design staff. They can produce conservatories that are sympathetic with your ideas. With other companies you’re constrained by their stock designs or limited creativity.” He cited a recent project as an example of why he continues to work in concert with Tanglewood: “Our current job is a French Revival home. I started with an idea for the conservatory and gave it to Tanglewood. They came back with a design that matches my intent but one I would never have come up with. Their creativity and open-mindedness really benefit the client. The quality and uniqueness of their design are not something I’d have gotten by selecting from a predetermined set of options.” Davis draws an analogy between hiring Tanglewood and commissioning a sculptor for a piece of art. “You lay things out generically,” he says, “and then use someone who has specialized expertise.” Davis didn’t come to his first project with Tanglewood with this attitude. “Over time I came to realize that Alan and his staff are very, very talented. It’s a pleasure working with them. We work hand in hand. They’re good personalities. There are no egos battling. There’s a genuine effort to produce something we’re both happy with-and that ultimately benefits the client. Also, it makes a big difference that when you call Tanglewood you get to speak with the president of the company. Dealing with a person who has a direct hand in the outcome of the project is invaluable.”

Direct Connections: A Room with a Larger View

When working directly with a homeowner, Tanglewood takes the role of primary designer and architect.

Stone and Brick ConservatoryHere, we might consider design elements affecting the entire home as well as the conservatory itself. One client spoke of her experience with Tanglewood in this way: “We had a very different design [for the conservatory] in mind,” she said. “Alan and Nancy came to the house several times and we talked about the possibilities. They offered suggestions and the design evolved.” The evolution took the entire house into consideration. Substantial interior renovations were undertaken: walls were moved and the design was reoriented so that it (and the yard and garden beyond) appears as you enter through the home’s front door. “The ambience of the entire place has changed,” the homeowner said. “People walk in the door now and they say, oh, wow, your house has become huge.” The finished product not only opened up the client’s home, but her lifestyle as well. “My husband loves to play his violin out here and I work on my plants-so it’s a conservatory in both senses of the word. We like to entertain a lot and now we have the perfect place for it. Tanglewood has changed our lives,” she said. “There, we found people who were not only sensitive to what we wanted but they designed down to a fraction of an inch. They were very much in tune with trying to create what we wanted-and could afford. They never tried to force ideas on us-the first thing they did was listen; at the same time, they were very imaginative in terms of what we could do. They met with us numerous times to talk about what our conservatory could be. And they spent as much time on the last little tidbits as on the major pieces. They were wonderful. And now, coming home is an excitement every day.”