Renovations that are better than the real thing
9 March 2016
Renovating an old property can be extremely rewarding. Whether the original structure has fallen into disrepair or you just want to add a modern twist to an old design, renovating a property is always about balancing original features and heritage with the modern touch.
Here, we’ve gathered together some successful renovations we’ve carried out – where the finished result is arguably better than the real thing.
Greenhouse Restoration in Winchester
This beautiful Grade II listed property was built in 1810 and featured a greenhouse. Unfortunately, the greenhouse had fallen into disrepair and the owners wanted to replace it with a historical reproduction of the original. The property is protected under a conservation order, so we worked closely with the conservation department to achieve the finished result.
We managed to save several fixtures from the original structure, such as cast-iron spandrels and a winding mechanism which manually controls ventilation. This helped to create the authentic look and style of the finished greenhouse.
In addition to the original ventilation system, we added a discreetly hidden modern touch – a computerised ventilation system. The next challenge for us was to preserve the old vine growing in the greenhouse and reinstate it in its new home. This involved carefully detaching the plant and removing it while the work was carried out. Luckily, as you can see in the pictures, the vine is flourishing once again.
Replacing the Conservatory at Phyllis Court with a Stunning Orangery
Phyllis Court is an exclusive members club in Henley-on-Thames, with beautiful views across the Thames. This Georgian building previously had a conservatory, which had seen better days and the club wanted to replace this with an orangery in keeping with the style of the original property.
For instance the property had sweeping arched styling, which the club owners wanted to be reflected in the orangery design. From dismantling and removing the original structure to building the new orangery, David Salisbury handled the whole project. The club were so pleased with the finished result that they also commissioned a replacement garden room and the redevelopment of the members’ bar.
To develop the bar and garden room required a complex remodelling of the roof structure; which has given stunning results providing more light, space and a sense of elegance.
The end result is a renovation arguably better than the original design. In the words of Club Secretary and Director, Graham Owen, “…the projects undertaken have not only significantly enhanced the feel good factor for the members, but also had a beneficial commercial impact.”
Conservatory Restoration at Arlington Court
Built in 1923 and extended in 1860, this neoclassical country house in Devon is surrounded by 30 acre gardens, including a Victorian conservatory. The National Trust commissioned David Salisbury to replicate this beautiful greenhouse after a 1980s replica – made using inappropriate softwoods that couldn’t face the tests of time – fell into a dangerous state of disrepair.
The project began with the removal of the old structure; with the team carefully removing the heron on the roof so that it could be restored and added to the new building.
The heron with an eel in its mouth is an important symbol of Arlington Court, as herons appear on the main gates and across the grounds. In many ways, the herons are as important as the greenhouse itself and ensuring they were restored to their former glory was essential.
Above, you can see the stunning conservatory from the inside; filled with exotic plants and with views out to the beautiful grounds of the estate. However, this is only phase one of the restoration. The finished design will be three times as wide to copy the original 19th century design, with an extra wing on each side of the main structure.
As you can see, it’s more than possible to renovate a property and enhance the original design. You often benefit from the character of an old property with the insulation and structural quality of a new building; including more efficient modern touches that can be tucked away.
If you’re looking for more inspiration – browse our case studies, with plenty more examples of conservatories and orangeries bringing new life to period properties.