I began to build conservatories back in 1988. Back then, I was representing Amdega Conservatories, out of Darlington UK. I would present their incredible catalog to prospective homeowners, and without any pause, the first words out of their mouths “when I win the lottery!”
It was a polite way of saying “I could never afford this”, and that was just from looking at the pictures. No one even asked the price of a conservatory! But had they looked closer, they would have realized that it’s very similar to any other home addition.
Naturally, projects of that investment level often required the assistance of an architect in the overall planning. They would begin to work with the Amdega template and soon discovered that Amdega was actually a kit which only came in specific sizes and dimensions. The architect quickly then realized that they could not ‘design’ a conservatory, only manipulate one.
Back in those days, I made a vow that:
1. Conservatories would be affordable
2. Conservatories would be custom designed to fit any situation presented by the architect
My search began in England, as that would be the logical place to explore options in the conservatory industry. I brought back many ideas, many of which would never fly in our harsh Minnesota climate. Most of the UK, had been invaded by vinyl (UPVC as they call it). There was a huge development in that industry in Europe and windows and doors were flying off their hinges as consumers got in line to replace their old wooden, single pane sashes, with UPVC framed, double pane glass. Out with the charm and in with the warm!
While the conservatory industry was thriving in the UK, I was exploring for better ideas. I brought the vinyl idea back to the US and met with many architects and building officials – I still am grateful to a building inspector in the City of St Paul who took much of his time to help me research the products – but in the end, it was a thumbs down, and here were the reasons why.
Vinyl, though being a non-maintenance item, does not mean it has great longevity. UPVC companies have spent fortunes trying to make vinyl UV resistant, and have come great distances with the research. At the end of the day, however, it still deteriorates. Eventually, it will turn hard, brittle and break. How do I know this? We have done many repairs and maintenance on vinyl structures around the country to find when we remove roof sections, the extrusions crumble. OK, so just contact the manufacturing company right? Well, guess what, they are either out of business, they no longer make that part anymore, or have upgraded and improved.
Oh, did I mention the Henry Ford philosophy that applies to vinyl rooms? You can have any color you want, as long as its white!
It is definitely something to consider when shopping for any product in your life. What happens when this product ages and you cannot obtain parts anymore? Well, if it’s a stereo or TV, you get a new one. But, I am discussing an addition you just put on your home! An ‘improvement’ that has a shelf life, like a car and needs to be replaced!
That is why our conservatories are wood or aluminum. Let’s say, for discussion sake, that a tree falls on your conservatory. Bad luck, I know, but it could happen. There is nothing on our rooms that we cannot replace 20 years after we build them, meaning you do not have a depreciating investment on your home.
Now let’s talk about price. One would think brand name conservatories, you know, the manufactured products sold by the big names (not to be mentioned, but you know who they are), would be cheaper. Well, you are correct, the are cheaper – for the company, but not the consumer.
Remember, we are a small, family, sell direct company with no middle men. We design, we counsel, we educate; we do not sell. We assist you with making a wise and lasting choice when buying something as serious as an addition that will long affect the value of your home.
Unlike the new car you just bought, your conservatory should add value to your home for all the years you live there. It should be the feature that sells the home. Joan M. had me build a conservatory for her a few years back but because of a work transfer she had to sell the house. She called me to say that the first people who walked into the house, walked right into the conservatory and said ‘we’ll take it!’ Sold! One conservatory with attached home.
If you bought a new Chevrolet, we have a conservatory for you. If you bought a new Audi or Lexus, we have a conservatory for you. If you bought a new Porsche, we have a conservatory for you.
Take a look at our new e-brochure and find the custom conservatory that fits for you.