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A conservatory or glass extension allows you to enjoy the outside in comfort all year round.
How do we define the difference? Traditionally, a conservatory has a lockable door between the structure and the main building. With an extension, there is a permanent supply of services such as heating and plumbing.
However, many conservatory companies are happy to use their design skills and expertise to create structures such as open-plan kitchens so the boundary is becoming somewhat blurred and you could approach a conservatory specialist or an architect to create the building of your choice.
Find a conservatory specialist
Adding a conservatory or glass extension is a great way to flood your home with natural light.
Floor to ceiling windows will maximise the amount of light in the space and will make the outdoors feel like an extension of inside.
Hot air will inevitably build up inside a conservatory, even one that is open to the main body of the house. If it forms part of your kitchen, the temperature will be even greater, at times. Thermostatically controlled roof vents with heat and rain sensors are an efficient way to release hot air on sultry days.
Blinds made to fit your conservatory roof - and glazed walls - will help reduce light (crucial if you want to watch television) but not heat. Budget for blinds at the start of the project. Reflective coatings on glazing are generally not very effective at blocking out light.
For clear views, glass is the best option for your conservatory and can be self-cleaning or solar tinted. Laminated glass and glass with safety film are good options to protect from falling debris. Polycarbonate is cheaper but creates a more muted light and, when it rains, it can sound like 1,000 tin soldiers marching across the roof.
The point of a glazed room is to be able to enjoy the outside in comfort, all year round. While blinds are often necessary - to control the light, and provide some privacy - they can obviously be decorative too. Over time, daylight, whether the sun is shining or not, will cause fading and distress to most surfaces but the quality of today?s glass means you can use almost any kind of furniture or furnishings to dress your conservatory.
A conservatory, particularly one that is adjoined to the body of the house, needs to be suitable for year-round use, even during winter. A heating engineer will be able to calculate the correct amount of heat needed to keep yours comfortable. Thermostatically controlled underfloor heating is the most popular option, especially with stone floors; electrical underfloor systems are more costly and less efficient. Some more traditional conservatory designs lend themselves to trench heating. Working by convection, this is installed in the floor in front of the glass and covered by a grille.
If you decide to have a bespoke-designed conservatory or glass extension, you could replicate features from your house - the arched windows, or a gabled roof, for example - to link the two structures. A more sleek style, however, might work just as well as a more conventional model on, say, a tithe barn, provided the scale and silhouette are complementary. Also, think about the location, views, storage, and for large open-plan spaces, consider ways to define the internal spaces - roof lanterns above separate eating and kitchen areas, for example.
A well-designed glass extension will link with the main building neatly and simply, so that the transition between the two spaces feels natural and comfortable all year round. Improve the flow of your home by treating the newly enlarged space as one; devise an interior layout of furniture and fittings that again makes the transition between the two feel seamless; using the same flooring and co-ordinated furniture throughout are simple but effective suggestions.
Similar bespoke hardwood conservatory
An orangery-style conservatory or glass extension, where stone or timber walls and corners are mixed with tall windows, a flat roof and a glazed roof lantern, can be a spectacular space. Light the dining table from above - by natural light during the day and by statement lights at night. When looking for the right company to build your conservatory, ask to see recent examples of its work, and check the materials used: aluminium or good quality timber frames are best, especially if your house is in a conservation area.
A side-return extension is extremely space enhancing. It is an easy and affordable way to transform a small space into something larger and more useful without impinging on the garden. The use of glass ushers in light and creates a modern feel, inside and out.
Similar structural glazing
A glass-roofed living space can transform the feel of your home, and improve your sense of wellbeing; the effect of natural light on our emotional and physical state is just as positive as it is on plants and the rest of nature.
Pilkington K GlassTM
This conservatory is furnished with a second-hand pine table and mismatched chairs to achieve a relaxed look. The glass roof allows as much light as if they were eating outside, but enables them to use the room in all weather conditions, while enjoying the view of the garden.
Find similar accessories
Relaxed family dining is the aim of this area, located in a beautiful glass-box extension. Easy-to-clean floor tiles and a neat wooden table and benches make this space fuss-free, but very modern.
Table and benches
gives this conservatory a colourful update. The rich purple tones of
the armchair and floor lamp work well with the lime green cushions and
pink floral upholstery. A large leaf-design rug adds warmth to the
floor, while chunky wooden furniture, like the coffee table, adds to the
stylish yet comfortable look.
Fill your conservatory with a variety of exotic plants. Go for ones with a structural shape and brighten any empty corners with tall plants that will reach to the ceiling. Choose a fabric with a bold leafy design. Use it to make cushion covers, blinds and a table runner. Fabrics with splashes of zingy lemon will really spice up the look.
Rattan hanging basket
This conservatory dining room combines classic wicker chairs with a rustic dining table for a homely look. Pretty informal blinds to match the seat cushions add a splash of hot pink to the sunny space. A green table runner looks great with grass green tableware, and a matching rug defines the eating space.
Blind and cushions
Colefax and Fowler
A ?Rue Jan Jaures? street sign starts off a rustic French-style feel in this conservatory, accentuated by the white-painted brick walls, which also add an indoor-outdoor quality to the space. Simple white painted furniture is given a lift with blue accents and a colourful floral centrepiece.
The French House
A reverse lean-to shape can fit under low eaves, suiting a cottage. In addition, a lean-to is often the most economical choice of home extension as the structure is simple yet striking, giving a smaller project the illusion of a large, light-filled open space.
Extensions and other outbuildings must not exceed 50% of the total land around the house. The maximum permitted height is 4m, or 3m if it's within 2m of a boundary. The permitted depth is normally 3m on a semi-detached house and 4m on a detached. However, these limits have been temporarily increased to 6m and 8m until 30 May 2016.
This simple, lightweight structure combines frameless glass with aluminium minimal frame sliding doors. Other proposals had been rejected, but due to the transparency of the structure and the design mimicking the size and roof form of the existing building, Trombe's proposal was accepted as not being detrimental to the local green belt zone.
Try adding a swing seat to your conservatory. Come rain or shine, nothing is more relaxing. Accessorised with meadow-inspired cushions and throws it has a relaxed feel.