We live in the conservatory. We eat all our meals in the conservatory. I can’t imagine ever living in a house without one.


The Back Story

This stately old home on Lake Minnetonka in Minnesota originated as a kitchen remodel and a replacement of a very old Pella sunroom. The home owner wanted to achieve and open kitchen environment with tons of light and tall green plants.

Fine detail was achieved with special attention to the features of the home, which were repeated in the conservatory (technically an orangery). Rafters were detailed in such a way to allow maximum light and view into the kitchen area, situated at the far end.


An orangery is designed with a section of solid roof around the edge and glass in the center of the room. That allows us to incorporate a gutter system that runs around the entire roof line of the orangery. Snow and rain from the roof of the house above follow this flat roof area to the yard below and eventually, the lake itself.

Now, twelve years later, she and Jim are still good friends, sharing many cups of coffee and warm chats in the orangery.

And, just recently, she announced that they are selling their Lake Minnetonka home and building a new retirement home in Lake Geneva, WI. They want to be closer to their children in Chicago. Plus, of course, the new home will have a beautiful conservatory and her friend, Jim and his crew from Minnesota will be building it.


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


Conservatory Craftsmen was both the architect and builder on the final orangery structure.

Nearly half of our build or replace projects come to us without an independent architect or builder being involved. Our designs and blueprints are developed in-office by Michael Hewitt as part of the cost of the project. Conservatory Craftsmen not only acts as builder, but also the general contractor in these cases. If specialty work is needed, we interview and hire sub-contractors to work on-site.

It may sound odd at first, but much of the structure of your conservatory will probably be manufactured in our workshops in Minnesota and then delivered to your job site in our over-sized trailer. In this way, we can not only be very precise in our cutting and assembly, but also apply final finishes and decorations in our clean, protected environment. In fact, the roof of your conservatory may have never seen the light of day until we take it out of our trailer to install.

As you may have read in many of our clients’ testimonials, working with Conservatory Craftsmen is a totally unique experience. We are proud of the many references to knowledge, integrity, service excellence, our solution-based philosophy and, of course, our tendency of becoming life-long friends with our clients.