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When the owners of a four-bedroom Georgian house in Kent first moved in in 2006 they inherited a rather gloomy lean-to in corrugated plastic, which the family replaced with a smart brick-built version three years later.
However, the conservatory eventually turned into something of a junk room and the daughter of the family, an art and design student, was keen to unleash its potential once again and give it an injection of personality.
The aim was to create an informal dining room and living area that could be used by the family every day. 'When the weather was sunny, we wanted to be able to open the French windows and spill out on to the patio.'
The owner designed the conservatory herself and saved about £15,000 by employing a local carpenter and builder. The building is brick-built with windows and a skylight. However the space has slowly been swallowed up over the years. 'Most homes have a room that is a magnet for junk, whether it's sports equipment, books, bags or paperwork. With us it was the conservatory, which was a shame because, potentially, it was the loveliest space in the house.'
Last Mother's Day the owner's daughter decided to mastermind a mini makeover. The family had the main conservatory furniture already, so it was just a case of reorganising everything. The biggest new investment was the limestone floor - neutral, hardwearing and easy to clean it was the perfect choice, especially with two dogs. Once it was laid, the owners painted the walls in duck-egg and upcycled the chairs to match, which look great.
The inspiration behind the scheme was a golden yellow rose tablecloth from Ragged Rose. 'My mum loved it and we decided on a yellow and duck-egg blue palette. The company has so many co-ordinating throws and cushions that the look came together really quickly - they create a warm feel.' The rattan sofa, side table and chairs that the owners bought when the conservatory was first built still look good today, so only chairs, a plant stand, a small dining table and garden furniture were bought for the makeover.
The conservatory is south facing and filled with light all day. However it doesn't overheat and, as the building is screened by trees, the owners decided to leave the windows free of blinds. Consequently the conservatory enjoys fabulous garden views all round.
Duck Egg at Laura Ashley
The main aim of the conservatory revamp was to create a room with a purpose. 'We already have a kitchen-diner,' say the owners, 'but no formal dining area, so this was key. We also wanted to be able to use this as an extra living space whatever the weather. Now, on warm days, we can seamlessly extend the room outside and enjoy dinner alfresco.'
When the owners moved in, they had a makeshift lean-to at the back of the house that they have now replaced and spruced up. Restyling the new conservatory has transformed the way the family lives. 'We now eat most of our meals in here and stay to chat. Last winter we moved some of the potted plants inside, so we got to enjoy them when it was too cold outside. Now it's the perfect all-year room.'