The tension between glass and stone balance beautifully in this early 20th century reconstructed millstream conservatory.
From the beginning, we knew this would be a memorable, and challenging, project. The original structure was dilapidated and had to be completely demolished. Spending many months planning and discussing this bold adventure, we worked out a plan to build a two-story free-standing conservatory – 25 ft high right on the edge of a pond.
The owner’s vision was this: the upper level would become the husband’s “man cave” for star gazing and watching the pond, like Henry Thoreau, in his Connecticut woods. The lower conservatory would be a space to grow plants. Access to the lower level was impeded by steep stairs, so a cylindrical, single-person elevator would be tucked into the corner of the room to carry plants and supplies between levels. A small kitchenette would also be later to the upper level for entertaining guests. Not only that, but a replica of the original watermill was crafted and attached, giving it that much more charm and character.
Sapele Mahogany was selected as the building material for the high pitched roof of this noble structure. Masons were hired to gather stones and boulders from the surrounding hillside to build up the walls and highlight the authentic look of the original structure.
Once the roof ridge was constructed separately, we had to then lift the 300 lb. piece into place, while trying not to fall into the water 25 ft below.. Needless to say, it kept our crew on their toes!
The water around the building site was only one of many aspects of this job that brought new technical challenges. The steep gabled windows of the roof were beautiful, but in order to offer the option of privacy, we needed to design fully automated blinds that fit exactly into those sharply angled windows. Our team was up to the challenge and designed a solution where the blinds deployed seamlessly in two parts – making the movements appear like a choreographed dance. Watch the video below to see them in action – no other company could deliver a solution like this!
Construction went seamlessly- it usually does when homeowner, architect, conservatory builder all have the same goal. Today this proud homeowner boasts one of the most unique conservatories in America. Many seasons will be spent overlooking that glorious inland pond from their glass conservatory.