If you’ve looked into expanding your home, either to take advantage of the garden, to make a brand-new room for the house, or to open up your house and make the most out of your garden, the chances are that the words Orangery and Conservatory have cropped up side by side on your searches and may have left you wondering. So where did they come from, what is the difference, and what exactly is an Orangery?
The original orangeries date back to 16th and 17th Century Italy and were designed to protect citrus trees (hence the name) from the harsh winter frost we experience in Europe. These symbols of wealth and luxury coupled with a desire to grow and maintain more exotic and tropical fruits fuelled glass-making technology across the continent funded by high society’s. From the gardens of the European elite, the orangery grew in popularity and became a major status symbol, until its decline with developments in glass making, allowing a greater degree of glass used in the build as conservatories, as a newer and cheaper alternative.
So what is the difference between an orangery and a conservatory?
Generally speaking, an orangery is more of an extension of the house and a more typical room (dining and kitchen areas being the most popular use), they make more use of brickwork and therefore offer a greater degree of privacy and feel like another room akin to a full extention of the house, in comparison, the conservatory that feels more of an extension of the garden space in the form of a glass room. A conservatory typically is predominantly made of glass or similar material, sometimes with a low “dwarf” wall as the main brick structure. In reality though, the line is more and more blurred as modern building methods and what we can accomplish with glass products has gone far beyond what early Orangeries and Conservatories were, but Orangeries are still considered a more luxury, higher end to the market.
Typically, the modern orangery is built upon a solid base with supporting columns extending to a flat roof with a glass centre which acts as the visual centre-point of the room. French doors, bi-folding sliding doors, or similar often complete the room allowing access to the surrounding patio or garden and help to further bring in the natural light into the room, delivering a light and stunning room to make use of. We can go that extra step for those looking for something truly spectacular and offer the stunning addition of a skypod to bring an orangery to another level, opening the room up and flooding it with natural light and a fantastic focal point.