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10 Jun

Client Testimonial: A grand orangery nestled in the Chilterns

From time to time, we ask our customers to write for our blog. Here’s Mrs O talking about how they designed a grand orangery with the wow-factor.

With wonderful views in all directions, we immediately fell in love with our home as it met our desire to live in a property that was centrally located within its grounds. Nestled in the Chilterns, and bordered by the towering beech trees of Chequers, we knew this was the right spot for us.

However, over the years we realised that the house itself lacked a certain charisma, or a wow-factor, if you will. We were convinced that an orangery would not only rectify this but it would also enable us to feel even more connected to our garden throughout the entire year.

Choosing a bespoke manufacturer

Eager for the project to commence, we approached several specialist designer-manufacturers as we knew they would have the expert knowledge and experience that a general builder may lack.

Upon visiting Westbury’s showroom and workshop, it became immediately clear that they were the right company for us. Impressed by their creativity as well as the efficient production process and quality craftsmanship, we left with great peace of mind that we would be investing in a high-quality structure that would both complement our home and enhance our living space.

A novel design

As we worked together to bring our concept to life, it became evident that Westbury were not simply content with giving us additional floor space but that they had a real vision for the proportions and architecture of the entirety of the space. We were particularly impressed with their ability to take inspiration from the property’s architecture, for example, the bay area of the orangery has been designed to echo an existing window on an adjacent elevation.

Had we been left to our own devices, we may have settled for a traditional rectangular roof lantern as the centrepiece for our orangery, but Westbury suggested an elegant elongated octagon which immediately drew the eye skywards and gave us the individuality that we’d been seeking.

The build

Westbury’s positive approach to solving design conundrums continued throughout. Where other companies had advised us that we would have to install electric underfloor heating, Westbury found a way around it – or rather through it! By drilling through what was not an insubstantial flint wall, they engineered the means to deliver hot water from the cellar on the opposite side of the house. It really did seem to us they always did what was right, rather than what was easiest.

Creating harmony

We used the new orangery as a way of creating a flow from inside to out: rather than select the brighter hue of the property’s rendered brickwork, we took advice from Westbury and chose Portland Stone from their own colour range as it not only made a distinction between the new and old, it also helped the orangery soften into its surroundings.

To create further harmony, the identical colour was also used for the interior woodwork which produced the effect of a subtle framework through which to let the garden shine. Needless to say, we were also delighted when we found a piece of marble for a new worktop that combined both the colour scheme of our original kitchen and the colourways of the new orangery.

Saying goodbye

It is without a doubt that I can say we accomplished our dream of creating an impressive new day-to-day living space – in fact, both the dining room and living room have been rendered somewhat redundant! Our orangery has also reshaped the way we entertain friends and family and enabled us to host a seated Christmas banquet for 22.

Although vehemently happy with the way our orangery enhanced our lives and our property, we had the opportunity to retire to Scotland and begin our next adventure in Stirling. When we came to sell, the orangery stood as the real talking point of the house and enchanted potential buyers (and estate agents!), proving itself to be the valued investment we had intended.

Should we decide that our new home needs additional space, light and wow factor, we would have absolutely no hesitation in using Westbury again.

Mrs O and her husband are both enjoying their retirement north of the border. As well as buying a new family home, they have also invested in a holiday cottage in Gleneagles (which is available to let) and have thus far conquered 60 out of the 282 Monroe Mountains.