I have always been an Anglophile; I love almost everything about England, the culture, the history, the Royals and especially the decor. I have always wanted a conservatory, which to me, embodies the English lifestyle. Although I have built, renovated and restored over 20 homes, I have never had the opportunity to scratch this itch. When my dream cottage became available two years ago, I envisioned a home where a conservatory would really make sense. This house did not have a formal dining room since it truly was a stable/carriage house when it was built over 100 years ago. Granted, I do not use a formal dining room that often, however, I did miss it when I entertained or even had my family for dinner. Hence, the conservatory dream was going to finally be fulfilled. The goal was a room that could serve as more than just a dining space but a room that I could enjoy everyday and I could feel like I can bring the outside in.
I started working with a talented local architect that really “got it”. Of course, I had lots of clippings from magazines (from days prior to Pinterest and Houzz), books, etc that started us down the design path. We worked together to come up with a plan that really worked with my lifestyle and budget. As usual, I have champagne tastes with a beer budget. I initially had lofty ideas about a much bigger space with all the true elements of an authentic conservatory. Was it going to be wood or metal, all glass , an orangery- type roof vs more of a classical design? Should I go Edwardian, Regency or more Mediterranean? It ultimately took almost a year to come up with a plan that was logical, worked within my budget and most importantly fit the style and period of this carriage house. I also wanted to open up the living room as I am all about sun. We added French doors and windows to the plan since we were in “construction mode”.
We started construction in early fall of 2017 and the goal was to have it completed by early December as I was hosting a party that had been planned for many months. Although my contractor almost pulled it off, we did not quite make that tight deadline (do they ever?).
I was able to host a Christmas Eve dinner for my family as the inaugural event. The room looked magical! We dined by candlelight and enjoyed looking at the beautiful backyard bathed in moonlight through all the windows and doors.There are still many things to complete, especially on the exterior. I also need to figure out how I am going to completely furnish it. I purchased a new dining room table and 4 chairs but I am still on the hunt for chairs for the end of the table (I never like matchy-matchy) and of course that special piece of art as a focal point.
I will keep you up to date as I search for the perfect items to complete the dream room I have always wanted. I hope you enjoy the search with me.
Health and Happiness in 2018!