Client Testimonial: Swiss Home Enhanced with British Style Timber Orangery

Mrs S is an international client from Switzerland. After being unable to source her envisioned extension locally, Mrs S enlisted the help of Westbury to add a British touch to her family home.

I started thinking about a home extension and was already decided on the style, the ambiance and overall feel I was after. I just could not find the exact look of what I was searching for. It did not seem to exist locally on continental Europe so I started looking through British Architectural and Interior Design Magazines and fell upon an article about Westbury Garden Rooms. This is when I learned that what I was looking for was called an Orangery and that they are custom-made to be added onto an existing home. When I saw a British style timber orangery it was simply love at first sight!

How was your experience with Westbury?

From the first touchpoint, which was an email enquiry, to any ongoing post sales service, Westbury’s consistent customer experience has been outstanding.

Mrs S

The tone and style used by the Westbury team members in their initial communications back to me was open, honest, helpful and guided me through the whole design and construction process with a ‘can do’ attitude.

When one visits the Westbury facilities, be it on the factory floor during the excellent in-depth factory tour or in the offices with the design team you get a sense of confidence, of caring for the customer’s unique requirements and a desire to go beyond what one wishes for. One of the Westbury brochures states that the company always strives to ‘deliver on what is promised’ and I learned that this is indeed entirely correct; it actually goes beyond this with regards to attention to details. The preparation before the build was very thorough leaving no space for errors and when the fitting team were on-site it was impeccable. I was delivered a perfect end product with no glitches along the way.

Why did you decide to add an orangery to your home?

I had the challenge of wishing to add more floor space on the ground floor but not wishing to add any additional rooms upstairs, so the need was a single floor home extension that would blend in perfectly in the style and not look like an afterthought or a later addition. For this single floor home extension, I had three requirements:

  1. A wish for a lot of light. As summers are relatively short, I wanted to enjoy the maximum of light all year round.  
  2. The ability to have more of an opening to enjoy the garden views.
  3. A space to which I could comfortably relocate the kitchen.

All these were very met with the Westbury Orangery addition. There were of course other options such as aluminium made conservatories or very contemporary flat roofed structures but I really wished to have the extension fit the exact same style of the existing home and an Orangery did just this.

What is the style of your property?

The challenge of my property is that it’s quite classical, which is why Iove it, and today it is not easy to find a solution that blends in perfectly, architecturally wise, but that is modern enough to adhere to stricter modern day building requirements. My husband and I own a typical maison vaudoise in Switzerland and did not want to deter the overall classical look and Westbury allowed for just that.

I even managed to match the window fenestration with those of the existing home. The paint colours were also matched so nothing seemed to have been added on at a later date. Now, an Orangery can be made with a more or less classical look and can be tweaked depending on the look of pilasters, wood panelling, window glazing patterns, colour and ironmongery used – quite anything is possible and this is what makes it such a great solution for so many styles of houses.

What was the existing property like before adding the orangery?

The existing property obviously had less floor space but really the main two differences was the lack of full visibility into the garden and the fact that the space was much darker inside. The kitchen was small and had a dull view with little to watch from it.

What was the design brief for the space you wanted to create?

The design brief was to allow for a seamless style look, a large space allowing for a kitchen and a lounge area, a full masonry wall to the north to allow for kitchen cabinets and the range cooker to be placed there. I wanted bifold doors opening to the south and west to give an impression of constant flow between the interior and the exterior – hence almost bringing the garden inside the home.

The Westbury design process is so tailor made to the customers wishes that I could even design the pilasters and the type of moulding on them; a big part of the fun of working with Westbury is that the design process, if you choose to, can be really hands on and you can truly put your personal touch on the build if you so desire.

Were there any constraints faced in designing the orangery? What were they/how did you overcome them?

Like in most countries, there are strict building rules in our country, both at national, cantonal, and communal levels so an architect helped me work through them and Westbury simply adhered to the guidelines and delivered a product that was fully aligned with all requirements.

What was the plan for the new space and how it would be used?

The plan was to move the location in the house where the kitchen was placed to a more practical and brighter spot. The orangery was absolutely perfect for this as the family and pets spend a lot of time in the kitchen and it leads directly out to the terrace and to the garden. Today our bright and light kitchen by Neptune, is a wonderful space that everyone is drawn to – it’s light and atmosphere change depending on the time of the day. It’s well isolated from the outside but still allows you to benefit from the remote sounds of birds chirping in the trees and rain falling on the roof making it a very ‘living’ experience.

What was the setting for the new orangery?

My home lies in a suburban villa area with a lot of greenery in the surroundings. Since the Orangery was built I clearly live closer to nature and can witness the changes in scenery with the four seasons. In the springtime you see the migratory birds fly in the sky. In the summer you enjoy blue skies during the day and long summer evenings with the bi-fold doors wide open. In autumn you watch the trees change colour and a great favourite of mine is in the winter when you watch the snow fall all around you.

Having a Westbury Orangery is an immersion into nature at its best!

Mrs S

Are there any bespoke/interesting parts of this project that you would like to share?

I selected a fairly classical look but had a keen interest in making sure the pilasters had the look I wanted and achieved this with ease when working with the Westbury design team. Also, I wished to have an elevated flat roof to have two large lamps hanging from its centre. I was concerned about weight but there was none to be had and I decided to add a decorative aspect to the ceiling in the shape of an X and this is a feature I absolutely adore. In the corners of the ceiling, I wished to have cornices, and these were added following my design. That even allowed me to match some of the design elements of the kitchen.

What is your favourite part/thing about your new orangery?

Where to begin? If I had absolutely had to choose one it would be: Its beauty and quintessential English style. But there is so much more to say about it. Its quality, practicality, ease of maintenance, ability to enjoy all the seasons whilst keeping out of the elements, additional space without having to add two floors, the knowledge of having the Westbury team available just a phone call away if I need them.

What difference has the orangery made to your home?

It is said by many, in our day and age, that guests are often drawn to the kitchen when they visit for drinks or dinner. It has become an acceptable space to spend time around a drink especially in open plan lay-outs. This was true in our home before but now it’s even more true! Guests enter the house and instinctively are drawn into the Orangery in awe; the space becomes a major discussion topic because of its visual impact and because of the fact that in our country nothing quite exists that resembles a Westbury Orangery. For the family it is a place we spend an enormous amount of time in as it simply feels so great to be in it!

Were you happy with the service you received from Westbury?

I was extremely happy, perhaps may I say delighted, with the service I received from Westbury. In dealing with a company of this size you get personal attention, with just enough people interact with, and I thoroughly enjoyed feeling cared for at all stages of the process. My husband and I were taken around the factory by Mr Jonathan Hey, company owner, in person, during the oh so important visit to Chelmsford to see how the Orangery’s are built, and this really made a difference. For many it’s a major life investment that will have impact on one’s way to live and Westbury understands this. I would also add that I felt coached by Westbury in situations where I was unsure of what direction or choices to take – as there are many; Westbury always advised wisely with excellent logic and argumentation.

Would you recommend Westbury to others?

Yes, I could not think of another company I would so highly recommend!

Mrs S

Is there anything else that you would like to share about your project?

I would highly encourage anyone who is thinking of a Westbury Orangery to experience one; and if possible, by visiting Chelmsford to see the factory, meet Mr Hey, the team and see the Orangery’s. It is only by standing in an Orangery that gives you the true feel of how it is to own one!

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