Conservatories date back to the 16th century, originating in Great Britain.  At this time wealthy landowners were delighted by the citrus fruits that were brought by traders from the warmer regions of the Mediterranean.  In order to cultivate and preserve the likes of orange and lemon trees on their own land, they started to design and build conservatory sunrooms.  In those days conservatories were typically wooden structures with windows on one side that would protect the plants from the cold while allowing adequate sunlight.

In other parts of Europe the preservation of orange trees became more popular and as a result, so did conservatories.  They called these structures “orangeries” and they could be found in wealthier, fashionable residences throughout the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries.  They were enclosed rooms built with wood, brick or stone with tall vertical, south-facing windows.  In colder seasons it wouldn’t be unusual to see a wood burning stove installed in a conservatory.  As the years passed and imported citrus fruit became more available and affordable, conservatories were used to grow and preserve ornamental plants and become an additional living space and symbol of status for the wealthy and established.

In the 19th century the conservatory became a regular addition to homes in England.  The love of gardening and socializing combined with newer technologies in both glass and heat, pushed the popularity of conservatory sunrooms throughout Great Britain.  To this day, there are many public conservatories built of iron and glass that are reminders of this era.  Visitors to Kew Gardens , located just outside of London, can see some amazing conservatories of this era including the famous Temperate House from the Pagoda.  This structure, along with others like it, is used for growing rare plants and may even house rare birds and animals.

Photo above: Temperate House from the Pagoda   by David Hawgood, Creative Commons

During World War II the spreading popularity and construction of conservatory sunrooms stopped throughout the UK and Europe.  In the 1950s and 1960s insulated glass was invented, but it wasn’t until the 1970s that builders started to recreate the traditional and classic styles of the conservatory in more domestic and residential applications.  In North America, home builders and sunroom builders took advantage of the unique architecture of the conservatory and began to build conservatory sunrooms using single pane glass and aluminum structures.

Now we are able to capture the enchanting elegance of Georgian, Edwardian, and Victorian style conservatories and combine it with the innovative, high efficiency features and construction of a modern sunroom.  Homeowners now have the advantages of insulated, high performance Low-E glass, thermally broken frames, shading systems and super-efficient ventilation and heating systems.  Modern technology allows us to custom build conservatory sunrooms that achieve peak energy efficiency.

Not only will a conservatory sunroom addition increase the value of your home, it will also increase your own personal enjoyment of your home!  It will give you an additional living space for relaxing, dining and entertaining that can be used all year long.  For those with a green thumb or a love for exotic plants, it will allow you to tender a variety of plant species regardless of our harsh and often extreme Canadian weather conditions.

Select Sunrooms offers a variety of frame and window options for your conservatory sunroom.  All of our conservatories feature a thermally broken frame, quardruple built-in weepage system, integrated shade track system, extruded aluminum gutters and high performance dual pane glass.  You can get fancy with cresting, finials, window grides and even stained or etched glass.  Colours, door option and other accessories can be completely customized to suite your home’s design and your personal taste.

Start building your conservatory sunroom today!