An exciting challenge in terms of the scale of design and location, this modern conservatory is now the final piece of an enormous renovation project in Wisconsin, USA. Wanting to transform their whole home with dramatic effect, the clients engaged with renowned American architect firm, Wade Weissmann Architecture, to reimagine their property and handle the project.
We were very excited to hear from the project contractor, following a recommendation made by the architect. Due to the quality of our products and our heritage, British brands are in high demand overseas, particularly in America, where homeowners admire a classic English style. We talk about this trend in more detail in our International Special article. Ultimately, no one in the American or Canadian markets is producing anything like our garden rooms, orangeries, sunrooms or conservatories so the family ended up with a unique addition to their home like no other.
The focus of the project brief was to create an elegant and spacious extension which felt peaceful and inviting, with plenty of room to allow for entertaining larger parties. Working collaboratively with the contractors and following the architect’s specifications, we designed a magnificent open-plan dining room to the far end of the property. They were keen for us to create a modern timber sunroom that would act as an extension of the existing living space, but would also have a sense of grandeur that guests might admire as a symbol of prestige.
With all the traditional depth and charm you would expect to achieve from timber joinery, the conservatory also performs like a high-end, modern structure. All the windows and doors feature premium ironmongery, again made by a British manufacturer with a proud heritage. Automatic, thermostatic double roof vents help to ensure a comfortable temperature, opening by themselves when the room reaches a specific temperature to draw the hot air up and create airflow. The roof vents close again once the room cools, or when their sensors detect the first drops of rain.
We particularly liked the architect’s request to source copper guttering and copper roof apex covers, which perfectly complements the style of the home. With such a considerable proportion of glazing, the room feels broad and expansive, but not empty. A set of French Doors to the left of the room open outwards onto a garden path, which leads round to a generously sized private swimming pool.
Due to the gradient of the landscape, the two sides of the property looked out onto different ground heights. While the garden room appears to be on the ground level from the front, it becomes apparent from the rear that we have built the raised extension above the garage to reach the first floor. Being able to create garden rooms that perfectly complement the existing house, no matter how unique the structure is, we were able to work along with the American structural engineer and his drawings to make sure the raised included the correct reinforcements required for the height.
As you walk into the conservatory, you are struck by the bold, dark painted joinery. The deep shade, named Roman Bronze, works perfectly with the warmth of the hexagon terracotta tiles. Unfortunately, dark paint has a bad reputation because of its tendency to absorb UV rays that cause the surface to crack and peel. However, the unique paint formulas we use means that homeowners can now choose any colour tone, making dark coloured joinery ever more popular. Using a water-based microporous paint, we spray applied the internal and external timber with three coats in our factory. These layers dry to create a highly durable and protective barrier against weather, high levels of UV exposure and fungal damage. When properly cared for with a bi-annual wash down, our paints will protect timber joinery for 12 years or more before it needs repainting.
Preventing cracked painted surfaces and ensuring the longevity of an orangery or garden room does not stop with the paint, however. By using the right timber, we can increase the lifespan of our structures and decrease the maintenance requirements. We always use Accoya® – a revolutionary material made from fast-growing, sustainable FSC® or PEFC™ Radiata pine. Accoya® is highly stable, meaning it will not shrink or swell in the way that standard timber tends to do. Both the paint and the Accoya® work together to ensure the orangery will maintain its elegant finish for 50 years or more.
For our UK projects, we would always have our team of installers working on-site to fit a garden room. However, our process is slightly different when working with international clients in the USA. The contractors already working at the property provided the installation, and our site staff closely oversaw progress from the UK to ensure everything ran smoothly.