Top 10 Reasons Why a Conservatory Addition Is Worth the Home Investment

In the heart of American luxury communities, where architecture tells stories of innovation and tradition, there emerges a trend that beautifully marries the charm of classic design with modern living—conservatory additions. These glass-encased extensions are not just an architectural feat; they are a lifestyle choice, offering homeowners a unique blend of luxury, tranquility, and connection to nature. Among the professionals who turn these visions into reality, Conservatory Craftsmen stands out for a genuine dedication to creating timeless conservatories that seamlessly integrate with your home.

Adding a conservatory to your home is not just an aesthetic choice—it’s an investment that can enrich your living space and add value to your property in numerous ways. Here are the top 10 reasons why investing in a conservatory addition can be a wise decision for you.

10 Reasons to Invest in a Home Conservatory

1. Increase Property Value

One of the most compelling reasons to add a conservatory to your home is the immediate increase in property value. Homes with conservatories are often perceived as more luxurious and desirable, leading to higher market values. This addition can be particularly beneficial if you plan on selling your home in the future, as it can significantly boost its selling price.

2. Enhance Aesthetic Appeal

A well-designed conservatory can be a beautiful addition that enhances the overall visual appeal of your home. Its architectural elegance and the seamless integration of indoor and outdoor spaces can transform your property into a visually stunning masterpiece. Whether you prefer a modern, sleek design or a classic, Victorian-style conservatory, the end result is a breathtaking view that you and your visitors will adore.

3. Create Additional Living Space

In our modern world, space is a luxury, and a conservatory offers an extra room that can serve multiple purposes. Whether you envision it as a sunroom, dining area, home office, or a tranquil retreat for relaxation, a conservatory provides the flexibility to create a personalized space tailored to your lifestyle needs.

4. Connect With Nature

For those who love nature, a conservatory provides an intimate connection with the outdoors while offering the comfort and convenience of being indoors. It allows you to enjoy the beauty of your garden, the changing seasons, and wildlife all year round without worrying about the weather conditions outside.

5. Improve Mental Health

The natural light and serene environment of a conservatory can have a positive impact on your mental health. Research has shown that exposure to natural light has the potential to reduce stress, improve mood, and enhance overall well-being. A conservatory can serve as a peaceful sanctuary where you can go to unwind and recharge away from the hustle and bustle of daily life.

6. Maximize Energy Efficiency

Modern conservatories are designed with energy efficiency in mind. High-quality materials and advanced glazing technologies help regulate the temperature inside, reducing the need for additional heating or cooling. This not only makes your conservatory comfortable throughout the year but also lowers your energy bills.

7. Explore Versatility in Design

Conservatories offer endless possibilities when it comes to design and customization. Our professional conservatory designs offer a wide range of styles and materials to fit your home’s architecture and your personal taste. This versatility ensures that your conservatory addition feels like a natural extension of your home.

8. Support Sustainable Living

For those committed to an eco-friendly lifestyle, a conservatory can be a step towards sustainability. It’s a room that maximizes the use of natural light, reducing dependency on artificial lighting and heating. Natural light is also known to boost productivity and enhance the visual appeal of your interior décor.

9. Boost Indoor Plant Growth

For those with a green thumb, a conservatory is a perfect environment for growing a wide variety of plants, including some that may not thrive in the typical indoor setting. The controlled climate and ample sunlight create an ideal greenhouse effect, allowing you to cultivate a lush indoor garden.

10. Enjoy a Worthwhile Long-Term Investment

While any home improvement project has its share of costs, it’s important to consider the long-term benefits. Not only can adding a conservatory to your home increase your property value and reduce energy costs, but it also provides a timeless space that can be enjoyed for generations. The durability and low maintenance requirements of modern conservatories ensure that this investment pays off in the long run.

Elevate Your Home With a Conservatory Addition by Conservatory Craftsmen

Are you ready to transform your home into a sanctuary of light, luxury, and natural beauty? A conservatory addition is not just an enhancement to your living space; it’s a gateway to a new lifestyle—one where comfort meets elegance and indoor living harmoniously blends with the outdoor environment. Whether you seek a tranquil retreat, a vibrant entertainment area, or a lush indoor garden, a conservatory addition opens up a world of possibilities.

Why Choose Conservatory Craftsmen for Your Dream Conservatory?

  • Personalized Design: Your home is unique, and your conservatory should be, too. At Conservatory Craftsmen, we pride ourselves on creating custom designs that reflect your style and seamlessly integrate with your home’s architecture.
  • Craftsmanship and Quality: With decades of experience, our team of conservatory experts uses only the finest materials and state-of-the-art technology to ensure your conservatory is not only beautiful but also durable and energy-efficient.
  • Attention to Detail: From the first draft to the final installation, we meticulously plan and execute every detail to meet the highest standards of workmanship and customer satisfaction.
  • Innovative Technology: Embrace modern convenience with smart features such as automated climate control, rain-sensing windows, and more, making your conservatory a comfortable haven all year round.
  • Commitment to Excellence: At Conservatory Craftsmen, your vision is our mission. We are dedicated to providing exceptional service and ensuring that your conservatory addition journey is as enjoyable and stress-free as possible.

Build Your Luxury Conservatory

Don’t just dream about the perfect conservatory addition to your home—make it a reality with Conservatory Craftsmen. Our team is ready to help you design and build a timeless space that enhances your lifestyle and adds value to your home.

Your sanctuary awaits. Contact us at (612) 281-4985 to schedule your consultation and take the first step toward bringing your dream conservatory to life.

Four Amazing DIY Ideas for Your Garden Room

Today more than ever, we all need a place to escape when life gets too stressful. For some it is a quick run around the block, for others it is cooking up a favorite dish. We all need to let off steam, to decompress and to relax, one way or another.

For some time now, homeowners have been converting spaces in and around their homes to be amazing she sheds or man caves — consider your garden room, this space can be the ultimate blank canvas you can use as your heart desires.

In essence, garden rooms are a one-of-a-kind space solution for homeowners looking to have their own little space to unwind, do a hobby, or simply be. Besides being super versatile spaces, garden rooms are incredible home extensions.

Below we share four super convenient garden room transformations to make the most use of your soon-to-be favorite space in your home.

Garden Rooms Make Amazing Leisure Rooms

One of the most common uses of garden rooms is for sheer leisure. You can transform your existing garden room into the ultimate rec area for whatever you wish. Need a book nook? A garden room is is the perfect setting.

Add a few floor shelves and a couple of big cushions to sit on, and voilà — you have your own book nook to enjoy. Add a table and chairs and it becomes the ideal game or puzzle room. On the other hand, if you have children and need a space for them to play and explore their creativity, a garden room will make an excellent playroom. That way, your home will always be clutter-free, and your kids will have their own space to enjoy.

WFH? Turn Your Garden Room into a Home Office

Turn Your Garden Room into a Home Office

Everyone working from home these past few years has learned how important the working space can be. Your garden room is the ultimate modern home office you can tailor to your taste and needs.

Equip the space with everything you need a laptop, a desk, a Pilates ball, a lamp, or whatever else makes you cozy and productive and use it to get your daily assignments done, stress-free. If you run a business from your home, a garden room can be the perfect office space to welcome clients, too.

Use Your Garden Room for Arts and Crafts 

What an inspirational and serene setting to be creative. A garden room is the perfect place to knit, paint, sew, write and more. Let your creative juices flow!

Equip the space with all you need… set up an easel for painting or place a desk and small cabinet in the space for a sewing machine or crafting supplies and let your creativity run wild. You may find yourself creating a lot more often!

Yoga Buff? Turn Your Garden Room into a Place of Serenity 

Garden rooms have incredible transformational potential and can be a great functional yoga space or a gym area – whatever you’re most drawn to. For yoga enthusiasts, have your favorite yoga mat, draw the shades, throw some pillows and cushions, and unleash yourself in your own place of serenity.

Conservatory Craftsmen: Let Us Craft Your Dreams into Reality

If you are looking to extend the square footage of your home or are simply looking to transform a shed into an enjoyable, livable space, we at Conservatory Craftsmen have been turning our clients’ ideas into reality for decades.

From luxe garden rooms to deep winter greenhouses, there isn’t a project we can’t master. Get in touch with us, and let us put an artisan staple on your space.

Value-Adding Modern Garden Room Interior Design Ideas

Designing a conservatory garden room is designing a space like no other in your home. So that you can make the most of this space, you might consider adding features that can increase not only your enjoyment of your garden room but also the appeal of the space or even the value of your home.

Here are a few ideas for garden room interiors to consider.

Climate Control Fit for a Greenhouse

Most greenhouses are freestanding fixtures in a backyard or garden, but you can turn a conservatory that’s attached to your home into a full-fledged greenhouse.

Imagine walking into a garden paradise without ever stepping outside of your house. You can care for your plants and keep them healthy all year in a garden room regardless of the season.

Your entire household can also enjoy some health benefits. Indoor plants do more than liven up your home: they also lower your psychological and physiological stress. Studies show that interacting with indoor plants soothes the mind and body and can even lower a person’s diastolic blood pressure.

Automatic Privacy Shades or Blinds

The glass walls, windows, and ceilings of a conservatory garden room are some of its best and most attractive features. Unfortunately, they also may not offer a lot of privacy.

One way to upgrade your garden room interior design and give the room a fresh look is to install automated privacy shades or blinds. The ones we offer here at Conservatory Craftsmen have a modern, upscale aesthetic that can enhance the room’s overall look while bringing the privacy you desire.

Shades and blinds can also block the heat from the sun. With these motorized window treatments in place, you can spend more time in your garden room during the day. You won’t feel the need to leave for a cooler part of the house once the sun is at its peak and the heat is beating down on the glass ceiling and walls. You can simply roll down the shades and stay cool inside as you enjoy the natural light that filters softly into the room.

The aesthetic touches, convenience, privacy and energy efficiency that motorized ceiling and window blinds offer make your house more attractive to buyers when you decide to sell in the future.

garden room

Creative Workspace Solutions

If you look at images of garden room interiors in magazines and on websites, you’ll find that conservatories can also be converted into a garden home office, workshop, art studio, or entertainment room. If you’re interested in doing the same for your garden room, we recommend adding creative storage systems to the space.

Consider building floor-to-ceiling glass shelves against one of the interior walls, for example, or customize freestanding cabinets that double as room dividers, plant stands, and other furniture. You can then put your work stuff out of sight if you’re setting up a work desk; and if you’ll use it as a chic studio or workshop, you’ll have lots of shelf space to display art pieces and handicrafts.

Garden room designs that include cleverly designed and functional workspace will be attractive to future buyers who don’t like clutter.

For More Design Ideas, Consult Conservatory Craftsmen

These are just some additions and design ideas you can consider for designing your conservatory. You can also talk to our architects at Conservatory Craftsmen. They can advise you on how to maximize the beautiful structure of your conservatory and ensure that the designs and new features you have in mind will bring out the best features of your garden room.

Imagine your garden room, and we will make it happen. Contact Conservatory Craftsmen today.

Holiday Decorations: 4 Delightful Ideas from Your Greenhouse

For the rest of your neighborhood, winter means chilly winds and prized plants buried in snow. But when you have a luxuriously designed greenhouse, you can enjoy the warmth of a balmy spring day and watch your plants thrive under its protection – even in the middle of a polar vortex. 

You can feel the holiday vibe in the cozy warmth of your greenhouse by getting creative with your decorations. Take advantage of your conservatory’s features by integrating your colorful flora and using your gardening skills for unique and delightful holiday greenhouse decorations.

Cultivate Colorful Poinsettias

Poinsettias are almost synonymous with the holidays. These colorful plants, with their distinct and vibrant scarlet leaves, are just gorgeous to behold. With a greenhouse of your own, you could cultivate them months ahead of the holiday season and surprise your neighborhood with a crop of beautiful plants during the winter.

You have to grow poinsettias the right way to have healthy and vivid plants come the winter. Once you do, you can come up with all sorts of ways to decorate your home and your greenhouse with their magnificent colors.

Here are some ideas:

  • Use them to create centerpieces for your tables
  • Arrange the plants around your greenhouse to form designs and patterns
  • Use a bouquet of poinsettias to add a splash of color to gift baskets
  • Make garlands of poinsettias and drape them around your windows

Customized Holiday Wreaths

If you keep your greenhouse nice and warm throughout the winter, your plants and herbs will continue to thrive even in the coldest months. With your conservatory full of lush plants, why not use them to make customized holiday wreaths?

Look for intact pinecones from your plants and combine them with flowers from the plants in your greenhouse. Form a frame from twigs and branches and tie them together with festive ribbons and string. Attach aromatic herbs, such as mint or rosemary to give them a fresh scent.

Finally, you can make them even fancier with miscellaneous ornaments or by painting them in bright holiday colors, such as gold, red, and silver.

Use Plants for Holiday Accessories and Trinkets

Your indoor garden can provide you with materials for more than just festive wreaths. With a little imagination and some effort, you could come up with many trinkets and accessories you can use to decorate your home.

You’re in luck when you’re already growing popular holiday plants, such as mistletoe vines, holly bushes, and rosemary shrubs. Use sprigs and cuttings to make small ornaments to dangle from doorknobs and archways. A little hot glue with ribbons help to form lovely arrangements for place settings and assorted decor.

You can use other plants to create wonderful trinkets as well. Find leaves with interesting shapes and vividly colored blooms, then use them for your crafts.

Decorate a Living Tree

The tree is the centerpiece of the holiday celebration, much like how turkeys are the epitome of Thanksgiving feasts. But buying a cut tree from a lot is difficult to transport and a headache for cleaning up. Instead of going through all that difficulty, why not decorate a living tree in your greenhouse?

Although pine trees are a holiday staple, any living plant large enough will do. Your living ‘tree’ is also much better for the environment than cutting one down or buying a plastic tree.

Your greenhouse is more than just a warm cozy place during the winter. Using your creativity, and some ribbon and decorations, you can turn it from a conservatory to an artist’s workshop all winter long.

Delightful Designs and Efficient Engineering for Greenhouses

Conservatory Craftsmen’s greenhouses give you precise control over indoor temperature, making sure your plants and flowers thrive throughout any season.

We combine stunning designs with cutting edge technology to build you the luxurious greenhouse of your dreams.

Learn about our automation technology today and discover the future of greenhouse technology.

Our second year that the Arboretum’s Spring Show!

UofM Landscape Arboretum’s Spring Flower Show – Passport to Spring, and Conservatory Craftsmen!

In 2018, Conservatory Craftsmen custom-designed an English-style conservatory for the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum “Fragrances of Spring” flower show. It was a hit with visitors, and we heard from so many guests who enjoyed seeing the kind of work we do.

This year, we created a European glass garden house as the centerpiece of the 2019 Arboretum spring flower show that runs Feb 1 through March 3, 2019. It will occupy the center of the Great Hall, and be surrounded by showpiece gardens of plants and themes from around the world.

The great country houses of Europe are known for their elegant formal gardens, but they were also hard-working estates that were self-sustaining, growing the herbs, fruit, and vegetables for kitchens that often had to feed many guests as well as the resident family.

To produce herbs for seasoning and for medicinal purposes, as well as shelter tender seedlings early in the growing season, practical workspaces for gardeners were found in glass houses. These practical structures were typically positioned near the kitchen, to make snipping basil and chives easier, and often featured cold frame growing beds attached or nearby, to accommodate more plants.

At the 2018 Chelsea Flower Show in London, MaryJo and I (Jim Hewitt) were inspired by not only the fantastic floral displays over three acres, but the focus on sustainability and eco-friendly growing techniques. You can read the blog on our trip here for more info. Greenhouses and glass houses offer tremendous potential for the home-owner.

We built this year’s glass house for the Arboretum flower show as a fairly authentic European kitchen garden. If we were to build this for a customer with all the technology we commonly use, the windows would operate on temperature controls, the blinds would fold up or down based on the time of day or amount of sunlight, and there would be automatic supplemental heating and an automatic fan.

To inspire your own kitchen garden, we created an Arboretum flower show takeaway. King Charlemagne famously specified specific plants for healing and herbs for health and cooking, and we’ve listed some of his favorites—you’ll see many of them at the Arboretum!

Come tour our glass house in the Great Hall at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum!

Next year, we are excited to announce that we will again be working with the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum to create an inspirational and unique glass structure for the garden. Stay tuned to see what develops!

The Chelsea Flower Show: Inspiration for the Minnesota Arboretum 2019 Glass House

Our Trip to the Chelsea Flower Show in England

The Chelsea Flower Show has been an annual London tradition since 1833 and is the most famous event of its kind.

On our trip to England in May, MaryJo and I were lucky enough to be able to attend this exclusive event—and we got inspired to bring a bit of it to the Arboretum for you!

The Chelsea Flower Show inspired the Conservatory Craftsmen approach to the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum’s Spring Flower Show, February 1 through March 3, 2019, which includes a centerpiece of a glass house designed and built by Conservatory Craftsmen, evoking those in the great gardens of Europe.

The see-and-be-seen Chelsea event lasts a mere five days—“mere” because, incredibly, 800 workers spend 33 days filling three acres with flowers, landscaping, and extraordinarily imaginative displays, only to take it all down in less than a week!

So many garden and plant themed exhibits!

Sculptures are crafted of veggies and tropical blooms, new varieties of all sorts of flowers are debuted, and the world’s leading nurseries and garden centers display their wares and the latest trends in gardening. Breeders and horticultural vendors compete for Product and Plant of the Year awards.

Gorgeously appointed shops and stalls feature garden-themed gifts and supplies, including watering cans, flowerpots, garden seating, and, of course, the plants themselves (until only a few years ago, garden gnomes were strictly prohibited!).

Plantings are arranged like artwork, and are grouped, tucked, and nestled into faux garden plots and exotic displays.

This show can draw a crowd

The UK flower show is hugely popular and also just plain huge. Some 150,000 visitors attend, including the Queen and her family, plus well-dressed and titled folks (oh, the hats alone!). The Main Pavilion alone houses more than 100 floral exhibits, and there are smaller tents and outdoor gardens to tour, as well.

The Chelsea show featured eco-friendly growing practices, including the use of cold frame plant beds and greenhouses.

The concept of a garden conservatory for cultivating plants in controlled environments originated in Britain. Many of the famous country houses and estates of the UK feature elaborate, even fanciful conservatories that have aesthetic value as well as practical applications.

Glass houses are the hard-working and less fussy relatives of more extravagant greenhouses, functioning as hothouse and potting shed. Here is where many a British garden would grow kitchen herbs and plants used for medicinal purposes.

With current trends in sustainability practices and increased interest in organic diets, we saw many useful applications for garden glasshouses back in the States: growing herbs and vegetables year-round, starting tender seedlings, extending the growing season in cold zones.

Inspiration for the Landscape Arboretum show

We built a glass house for the Arboretum flower show as a fairly authentic European kitchen garden. If we were to build this for a customer with all the technology we can put to use today, the windows would operate on temperature controls, the blinds would fold up or down based on the time of day or amount of sunlight, and there would be automatic supplemental heating and an automatic fan.

We also created special takeaway cards with a European theme. To inspire your own kitchen garden, we created a fun reference card of kitchen herbs and healing plants dating back to the historic origins of kitchen gardens in Europe. King Charlemagne famously championed herbs and aromatic and healing plants in his gardens, and we’ve listed some of his favorites—you’ll see many of them at the Arboretum!

At the Chelsea Flower Show in May 2018, Mary Jo and I were inspired by this practical and attractive cold frame system attached to a classic English garden glass house.

The World Horti Research Center

I never tire of a new trip to the Netherlands. The Dutch have such electricity in the air. Its as if they have discovered a secret, and being Dutch, they are only too happy to share it. My current trip to the Netherlands is to spend some time at the World Horti Research Center, where horticulture has just crashed headlong into agriculture, and it’s winning.

Whatever we were growing for fresh food in a field in the past, can be more efficiently and effectively grown in a greenhouse.

  • We visited a greenhouse that had dug a well 2.4KM into the earth to obtain the heat required to heat the greenhouse, year round. After the initial investment, all heating costs were no cost from that day forward.
  • Glass evenly distributes the sunlight to all plants the same so there are no slow/fast maturing spots in the greenhouse, just even ripening.
  • There is also a device that can be installed where you go through it to get into the greenhouse, and it cleans your feet and hands. Sanitation is an utmost priority!

Whether tomatoes or flowers, massive quantities are grown on no wasted water, grown evenly, because the market shopper wants all produce to look the same every day of the year.

The WHRC has three main objectives.

A third of the building is dedicated to education. Students from far corners of the earth come to learn. These students are learning the most current methods of crop production and taking these skills back to China, Russia, USA – you name it. The Dutch are not about to keep this a secret.

They realized is that there are few people in the world prepared to embrace this new form of Ag/Hort. There are plenty of eager investors around the globe that are ready to throw money at these forms of crop production, but few candidates can apply who have the necessary skills.

Another third of the building is dedicated to companies in the industry who want to display their contribution to the new technology. Locally, Honeywell is well represented as a forerunner in environmental controls. Other companies display growing mediums, automation of many kinds. For example, there are lasers that prune plants to consistent sizes, screens that not only keep bugs out of the greenhouse, but keep the pollinating bees in the greenhouse (special bees are rotated every 30 days in the fruiting greenhouses [tomatoes]). Every new innovator of production products is there in a 365 trade show set up for all the world travelers that come daily to visit.

The final third of the structure is research greenhouses. New varieties are tested for market, new techniques are tested, and quantitative research is shared here. Companies will lease a greenhouse bay about 25′ X 60′, segregated from the attached growing area next door, and they will work intensively to explore new depths in the world of greenhouse growing.

The WHRC is located in the shadows of the International Flower Auction, a 2.5 million sq ft building in which the bulk of the world’s flowers are brought in fresh in the morning and shipped to markets around the world at night. I was here merely a year ago when the first steel column was set in the soil to begin construction. Today, it is a vibrant, bustling center for business and knowledge converging on an untapped frontier of world horticulture.

Trends ‘grow’ quickly here. A year ago, I never saw a ‘living wall’ today they are everywhere. Inside and outside of buildings, signs for companies are made of living walls, highway barriers are living walls. It’s just an example of how fast these trends are being adopted and made commonplace throughout the world as the Dutch set the pace for the industry that will soon feed the world.

Maximize Rooftop Space with a Conservatory

When people talk about expanding interior space, they immediately think about taking down walls and building new rooms. These are plausible solutions, but only if your plot of land can accommodate the extra floor space. If your property is in the middle of the city, however, or if you like your structure as is, then you might want to turn your gaze upward.

Conservatory Craftsmen offers an opportunity to expand your interior space without doing any major renovations. By building a rooftop conservatory or greenhouse, we add one more inhabitable space to your property.

Residential Comforts

Rooftop conservatories designed by Conservatory Craftsmen have sustainable features that are trendy today: energy-efficient, automated, and eco-friendly. Although they are still more popular in the UK, more American homeowners are starting to see their benefits and are now integrating conservatories into their homes.

With their glass walls and roofs, conservatories allow natural light to come in. Conservatory Craftsmen also adds large glass doors and windows that open either manually or automatically. As a result, the houses we work on become bright and airy even if their owners keep the lights and air conditioning off during the day. So, they get to enjoy the outdoors without stepping outside their homes and save on electricity bills.

Whether you use it as a greenhouse or a sunroom, a rooftop conservatory offers comforts and efficiencies that appeal to your modern sensibilities.

The Advantage to Commercial Buildings

Rooftop conservatories are flexible; commercial property owners can find multiple uses for them. They are suitable as an events space, for example, or as structural covers for hotel rooftop swimming pools. Other possible uses for them are as art studios, dance studios, and cafe lounges.

Food establishments and fresh produce stores can also take advantage of their rooftop spaces by converting them into commercial greenhouses. They can grow some of the products they sell or use in their dishes. A commercial greenhouse can be a selling point for health-conscious consumers and supporters of sustainable farming.

One of the specialties of Conservatory Craftsmen is commercial greenhouse construction, so if the idea above appeals to you, you’re already in the right place.

Modern Features

Automation is the mark of a modern conservatory, and it is a luxury that’s worth spending on.

Fully-automated conservatories boast self-closing roof blinds that are heat-activated. Once the interior reaches a specific temperature, the system triggers the blinds to extend across the glass roof. Automated windows work the same way. With the addition of a rain detector, you don’t have to run up to the conservatory and pull the windows closed if it rains.

Conservatory Craftsmen offers these features, including remote automation which allows you to control automation settings from your smartphone or through a voice-controlled speaker.

We do our best to maximize technology to give you something extra. Why settle for plain additional space when you can have it plus modern luxuries? If this sounds good to you, let’s talk. Get in touch with Conservatory Craftsmen today.

Rooftop Event Center in Rockford IL

Our company is no stranger to large commercial projects, take a look at this rooftop conservatory event center we built.

In the last 10 years adding on valuable square footage to a rooftop has been growing in popularity for entertaining, co-op growing or in this case – an event center / wedding venue in Rockford, IL. The team that was in charge of this building (The Standard) had goals for a destination wedding venue. The construction of this project was to coincide with the building renaissance taking place on the Rockford, IL riverfront. Conservatory Craftsmen was brought on for a the crowing jewel of the three story masterpiece – the rooftop conservatory.

The owners were intent on building the finest rooftop conservatory in the Chicago area. They knew they wanted something that would draw a wedding party out of the Windy city into a nearby venue with more to offer. Their dream was to have a rooftop event center that a couple would dream of being married in, and that also gave them the assurance that no matter what the weather was, the wedding could be ‘outdoors’.

Given the plan by the owners and architects, we called up aluminum extrusions out of Belgium to be the basis of this structure. Able to withstand the 130 mph winds and massive snow loads that torture a structure in this exposure.

The roof top of this 100 year old building was the biggest challenge.

There were walls here and there that had to be used to create connections. Decks weren’t level, and the winter installation on a rooftop was indeed a chilling experience our crews will never forget.

All material was set on the roof by crane to start the project. Our crews worked long days and weekends to set the portal, sub frame, that would be the support basis for the entire structure.

Unique glazing window frames allowed the glass to be set from the inside out, avoiding the problems of setting glass with a crane. Christmas lights from the City below helped maintain a cheery working environment for the crew of 5, even in the cold weather. In all, 6.5 tons of tempered and laminated glass graced this stout roof. A layer of dark tint was added to the outer pane to cut down sun glare, but still allow massive amounts of light. A good balance between heat and light was the goal.

The project was complete in less than a month.

Interior finishes were applied by the local contractor and the first event was held a week after the last piece of glass was set.  We definitely considered that a job well done! And it’s a rooftop conservatory we’re proud to put our name on.

We’ve seen numerous weddings and events at The Standard on the internet since the completion of the project and it appears that the goal was achieved by both the owners, and our conservatory crew.

With the addition of micro breweries and popular restaurants, downtown Rockford is paving the way to make it a fun and successful destination for any event.

Maybe you have a rooftop on your commercial property that could be transformed into a remarkable and useful area, that could be used year-round and in any weather?  Then give us a call at 888-345-7915 and we can discuss it, or you can contact us online too.

Rooftop Conservatory Event Center - the StandardRooftop Conservatory Event Center - the StandardRooftop Conservatory Event Center - the StandardRooftop Conservatory Event Center - the Standard

Project Profile: Southern Minnesota Lean-To


At a Glance: An underused and underwhelming patio space is converted into year-round living room on a historic home



What Happens Here?: Entertaining, relaxing, and growing

Location: Frontenac, MN

Size: Conservatory is 300 sq.ft.

Project Manager: Pioneer Renovations

Conservatory: Conservatory Craftsmen

This rambling Victorian river home was built on Lake Pepin, which is the widest naturally occurring part of the Mississippi River. Lake Pepin is located approximately 60 miles downstream from Saint Paul, Minnesota and is the perfect retreat for our clients. A pergola stretched out from behind the house with a beautiful, rustic view of a Minnesota State Park. Sadly, the pergola was very much underused due to exposure from bugs and weather. The extraordinary potential of this lush arboreal space, however, was easily recognizable by its owners, so they reached out to Jim Hewitt for a consultation. With the assistance of our expert team at Conservatory Craftsmen, a new vision for this space was conceived.

The existing space created a bit of a challenge for the design team. Tucked away inside a ‘U’ shaped area of the house, and under the second-floor windows, an opportunity existed.

Getting the structure to look ‘original’ to the home, and create a functional space was the goal of the new design. The team worked on plans, knowing that a single pitch, (lean-to) roof was the only option. The length of the roof rafters, however, required a ‘work around’.

It’s a matter of geometry. The longer the rafter, the more elevation drops over the run. If we had made the rafter attach to the house below the window and pitch 18′ to the front wall, the front wall would have been 5′ high. To solve this, Mike came up with the idea of a flat roof soffit along the house to bring the room out 4′ before the drop began.

Work began and once removal of the existing pergola was completed, footings were dug and a frost foundation was installed.

Architects – click for plans! MN Lean-to

Foam insulation was placed on the bare ground and hydronic piping was attached before the 3″ concrete slab was poured. The hydronic piping supplies the heat from a boiler for the in-floor heating system. The insulation keeps the heat from going down into the earth and forces it up into the concrete floor. Once the slab is warm, it holds this heat for a long time. Even a sunny day can work to warm the slab and keep the room comfortable well into the evening.

The crew framed the knee walls and the new soffit wall so the conservatory could then be installed.

The conservatory, a wooden, mahogany frame was painted a soft white in the paint booth of the shop to ensure an even coating, under controlled moisture conditions. This micro-porous paint application will ‘breathe’ and last for many, many years.

Installation of the conservatory itself was the easy part of this project! Now it was on to the finishing touches.

A natural field stone had been used as a foundation stone in other areas of the house, so we elected to face the exterior knee wall of the conservatory with stone to keep a unified look. As we framed and installed the gas fireplace on the interior of the room, we also used this field stone on the wall and surround of the fireplace. Ceramic tile was selected and installed. Ceramic is the natural choice on a concrete slab over in floor hydronic heat.

A mini-split air conditioner was installed on the house wall. Two ceiling fans were integrated into the soffit ceiling along with 3 new recessed lights. Removing the exterior door trim and replacing the trim in the room with interior trim gave the room a feeling of an inside space, not a space that was added to the exterior of the house. Millwork and sheet rocked walls were painted and we were good to go!

Pinoleum ceiling blinds were installed and automated. They gave a decorative touch to the room as well as shading the space from harsh sun.

Finally, all elements of the room were tied together with the automation system we now offer on every room.

The roof vents open and close with the side wall windows based on temperature of the room and weather conditions. As a safeguard, they are automatically closed by a rain sensor during inclement weather. The ceiling blinds will go up and down based on the time of day, time of year and weather conditions. The room will not heat up from solar gain with these blinds in place.

Did we mention the ceiling fans also are temperature controlled? When it gets warm and the vents open, the ceiling fans go on. During the cold months, they will spin at low speed in order to “stir” the air, ensuring even room heating.

Too hot for ventilation? Then the windows close and the mini-split air conditioner takes over.

Cold day today? No problem. On cold days the blinds go up to conserve heat and the in-floor heating takes over. As a back-up for heat in the room, the fireplace will kick on to keep the room from freezing.

Now, what if I want the blinds down for some star gazing? All functions in this room are controlled by either your smart phone, or a series of smart switches on the wall.

Lastly, our staff is available to monitor day to day functions remotely from our office. If any function needs adjustment due to seasonality, it is easily adjusted remotely.

More information is available on our web site or by calling us at 888 345 7915