How to: Build a conservatory
Don't let April showers keep you from the great outdoors. Bring your English country garden inside on cool days with a conservatory geared toward comfort and warmth. Perfect as a day room for watching the rain come teeming down, insulated private sanctuaries like this keep you cozy year-round.
Before you cuddle up to daydream the day away, check the legal requirements of your area to see if you need municipal permits. Then, manually mark out the area of your new conservatory with a few stakes and string, taking some extra time to make sure your measurements are accurate.
Conservatory materials range from place to place. For the true English experience, woods are ideal, used in period properties where natural airflows are part of the appeal. Timber has proved, however, to be less replaceable and environmentally friendly than artificial materials, and in our climate, Canadians need to consider the impact of everything from sleet to snow to overwhelming humidity. “The best material for conservatories is vinyl,” comments Jonathan Horne of Britannia Conservatories. “The longevity simply cannot be duplicated by a natural material.” Insulation, minimal external maintenance, as well as low costs and a wide variety of colours make vinyl an easy choice. “For aesthetics,” adds Jonathan, “it is important that it complements the home and doesn't look like an add-on.”
Distinctive touches make your conservatory unique. Use cushions and throws in textures and colours that blend with the natural beauty outside-deep greens with bright accents work well in this setting. Place a small table at one end for sunny breakfasts and intimate dinners. Bamboo, wood or wicker furniture and natural slate or terra cotta floors with warm scatter rugs make your conservatory a haven for all seasons.