12 September 2012 By Billy Hawkins
Past Alitex greenhouse clients approached their conservatory replacement with an attitude which is familiar to anyone who has had to maintain a wood and glass structure.
After twenty five years of a wooden conservatory attached to their house, the timber had eventually rotted and needed replacing. The client did not want the same upkeep problems associated with wood and broached the idea of aluminium with their local planning office – a necessity as the house, built in 1735, was Grade II* listed.
Keeping to a similar footprint, the new plans were submitted with a number of amendments which brought the conservatory up to date, whilst retaining the lines of the house. A hooped window on the gable end of the conservatory which reflected a similar window on the house was to be omitted and the window sill height was to be slightly lowered so that views could be appreciated from a sitting position. Unfortunately the planners saw “aluminium and glass structure” and they indicated that listed planning consent might not be granted. The problem was that the planners seemed to have in their mind a large metal structure which would not be in keeping with the house. The client, having enjoyed a long and successful career in construction and engineering, resolved to work with the planners to try to appease their concerns.
The client invited the planners for a site visit and indicated to the greenhouse across the garden, saying that the material and finished product would be to a better standard. The planner was astonished to find that the greenhouse had been manufactured in aluminium and so the new conservatory was given the green light.
From this point the client was able to work with Alitex in a dynamic fashion, getting involved with detail to suit the house and their living style. The original wooden conservatory had wooden round balls, forming part of the finials, which had rotted. The client replaced them with stainless steel balls and was delighted with the reflections cast. They wanted to keep this element and worked with Alitex to include similar stainless steel balls. The client was able to keep the cleaner lines which were more desirable on the new structure whilst simultaneously acknowledging the Georgian heritage of the main house by altering detail with both the windows and the door panels. The client was able to make comments to the original proposal which were then followed through and delivered by Alitex.
Having previously had pinoleum blinds on the wooden conservatory the clients have delayed their decision on putting new blinds in, as they are simply enjoying the airy light feeling of space. They are managing well with white parasols on wheels, placed where and when they are needed.
Five years ago the clients had chosen a greeny blue as the colour of their greenhouse, but this time a striking sky-blue was chosen, blending in beautifully on a blue sky day and brightening up a more usual grey day. The conservatory has come into its own during the wet English summer when the light of the day could still be enjoyed. However on the few hot days, all three sets of doors have been flung open to let the sunshine in (and the grandchildren out!)
The conservatory is used as a family room, plants are consigned to the greenhouse and with seven grandchildren our clients enjoy the functionality and size of the new structure. As one of the grandchildren accurately commented from the garden “That’s the greenhouse and that’s the blue house”, which has now stuck.
Thank you to our client for taking the time to speak to me.
Further conservatory case studies can be found here.