Hello, I’m Jim’s better half, Mary Jo, and I would like to tell you about my conservatory building experience.

Yes, it’s true that Jim and Conservatory Craftsmen have been planning and building conservatories for over 25 years.
Yes, I do believe that he is a master at building conservatories… perhaps the best in the world (in my humble opinion).
Yes, I love him dearly. However, it took Conservatory Craftsmen 19 years to plan and build our conservatory. I don’t know if you agree, but, I think he may want to work on his customer service 😉
Honestly, Jim is such a perfectionist that I knew when he eventually came up with the perfect conservatory for us, it would be a doozie. And, it is. 
Our conservatory has every add-on and accessory available to make it the most livable, inviting and enjoyable room in the entire house. You can’t ask for more than that.
Mary Jo Hewitt

The Back Story

My wife had been gently asking about “our” conservatory for a long time.

Frankly, every conservatory that we’ve designed and built has been very special to me. As you may have read in our clients’ testimonials, I often go back to visit past projects and old friends just to make sure all of our “babies” are still healthy and happy structures.

The downside of that was that every new conservatory, greenhouse or orangery we built had some cool accessory, or design feature, or technology that I just have to incorporate into our conservatory. And that made me procrastinate. Then, fate stepped in.

My son, Michael, and I had been invited to the Chelsea Garden Show (officially the Chelsea Flower Show in London) a few years ago. The public can purchase day tickets, however we had been invited by a member of the Royal Horticultural Society as special guests. As such, we were able to go behind the scenes and visit venues that were closed to the public.

chelsea-garden-show-displayOne of our British suppliers, a distributor of structural materials, had built and shown a fully-constructed conservatory in their commercial display area. It was gorgeous (see photo at show). Later, we were able to view the disassembled conservatory at a nearby warehouse. Michael, always the man of action, asked if the conservatory was available for sale.

Within days we were headed back to Minnesota with a bonafide, “As seen at the Chelsea Flower Show in London” conservatory following after us in a big shipping container on one of those huge ships.

construction-w-arrowBy the time the conservatory arrived in Burnsville, we had already torn off the old deck and put in new foundations. It became a family affair with everyone gathering together to make a memorable event of the whole unpacking, assembling and finishing process. Each one had a special hand in creating our perfect conservatory. Even the toddler grandchildren contributed to the fun (see the arrow pointing to the heavy equipment on the gravel pile).

Our conservatory has everything. Here is just a partial list of features:
• special tinted glass to dampen UV rays
• sustainably grown mahogany throughout
• hand-leaded, stained glass transom windows with lead crystal prisms
• a fully independent lantern roof supported by a free-standing steel portal

Plus, automated systems that include…
• ventilation with adjustable air circulation as needed
• retractable shades and blinds
• in-floor heating
• mechanized transom windows that open/close in response to temperature, humidity and inclement weather
• timed watering calendar with precision water volumes for different plants
• retractable hidden screens
• timed lighting and light level settings
• growth-rate monitored, lawn mowing, trimming and fertilizing (I’m just kidding on this one, but by now, you would believe it could if it really wanted to, wouldn’t you?)

When it was all complete and we had been enjoying it for some months, I heard myself saying the very same thing that all of our clients say… “We should have done this a lot sooner. Why did we wait so long?”



Conservatory Craftsmen builds conservatories that are designed to outlast a hurricane and bear up under three feet of heavy snow.