14 Aug 2014

Orangeries & Conservatories: Frame your existing home

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For those who choose to improve their existing home rather than move, a conservatory or orangery can provide the perfect space-enhancing solution. Carol Parry, Marketing Manager at oak frame specialist Aboreta, provides top tips for creating an addition to a home that will not only add value but stand the test of time.

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Increasing space within a home enables it to be used to its fullest potential, but the materials you choose can make all the difference. Oak frame building designs make a fantastic choice as they create visual appeal with the added benefit of a durable material.

Green oak is incredibly strong and has become a popular choice due to its eco-friendly properties. This material has been built to last. It’s carbon neutral, sustainable and natural too, which means less energy is used in the manufacturing process. Check that the oak frame you choose comes from a sustainably managed forest that has a proven program of felling and replacement, and that the company you choose has been endorsed by a leading timber authority, such as TRADA.

Take your budget, style and layout into consideration to make sure you choose an option that suits you and choose your design build team wisely. For an oak frame design which is in-keeping with your existing building, look at teams who can demonstrate their architectural integrity with examples of their work. Ask to visit a home with a similar conservatory or orangery so you can speak to the homeowners on how the build progressed and visit the workshop to see how your oak frame will be made.

Work closely with your designer during the initial planning stages to explore the different building methods you can implement to ensure the process is kind to the environment. Consider the most energy efficient glazing and wall insulation available so this can be taken into account when designing the framework in the initial stages.

You may want to consider investing in an orangery or conservatory that enables an appreciation of your gardening efforts. Opting for a sturdy structure such as oak framing will allow this space to feel like a permanent fixture and part of your home that can be used come rain or shine.

It is important to consider how this space is going to be used. Careful planning at this stage will improve the layout and functionality of your property overall. Would the home benefit from a dedicated dining area or additional reception room? The key is for this space to have a clear purpose so it will really add value and – if you decide to sell – potential buyers can see exactly how this part of the home can be enjoyed.

It is also important to ensure this additional space is sympathetic to the original property both internally and externally – make sure it feels part of the home and not an add-on. This room will need to be fit for purpose to be used all year round, so an insulated roof with thermally efficient glazing is the perfect solution.

If the height of first floor windows pose a problem to your oak frame extension, an orangery can be the perfect solution. Look at vaulted roof styles for a space, which will let the light flood in, and oak rafters to the underside of the tiled roof for additional warmth and character.

A conservatory will allow you to enjoy your garden regardless of weather conditions and there are a variety of internal features, which can enhance a bespoke, oak frame design. Consider how this space will be used – an entertaining area, a light-filled reading room or perhaps a quiet sanctuary with a garden view? Think about the various styles you can incorporate into your design which will create a distinctive finish, such as rafters, trusses or purlins and ridge sections.

If you have a south facing garden, you will want to take full advantage of the natural daylight and this can be achieved by incorporating a roof light and French or bi-fold doors into the design as well as choosing full-height glazing.

Year round enjoyment

During the planning process, ensure the design allows for year round living. This additional space should be used throughout the seasons, not just in the summer months. Prepare for the winter and think about incorporating underfloor heating and a wood-burning stove in the design so you can appreciate this additional space in the colder months. Invest in a sturdy structure and a highly insulated roof as opposed to an entirely glazed roof as this will avoid your garden room from becoming too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter.

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