1. Orangeries and Greenhouses

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Orangerie, conservatory or sunroom? EKCO’s guide to the best extension for your home.
by Victoria Moretti
September 15, 2014

‘Sorry but aren’t they all just different words for the same thing?’ an inquisitive client asked me recently. We had fitted a kitchen for her recently and she was now keen for us to build an extension for her. She knew that she wanted some extra living space where the family could relax after dinner and get some good old fashioned chat going but she wasn’t quite sure whether she wanted an orangery, a conservatory or a sunroom and what the best option would be for her. We talked it through in some detail and she made her decision but it got me thinking that maybe other people could be having the same dilemma with the same questions needing answered. So with that in mind here’s a very brief guide to the differences of each to help you just in case you’re considering an extension for your home.

What is an orangery?

First of all let’s look at the orangery. As the name suggests the original purpose of the orangery from the 17th to 19th centuries in Europe was to house citrus trees. Now unless you have a real penchant for Margaritas the chances are slim that you would want one nowadays for solely that purpose, although there’s no doubt that after a hard day a chilled cocktail can help.

The orangery was also a symbol of wealth but fortunately modern materials mean that you can have one of your own for a lot less than they would have cost back in the day and you can still be confident of its quality. So why would you choose to have an orangery instead of a conservatory? The main difference between the two is that the glass ceiling in an orangery covers a much smaller area than a typical conservatory. This means that less glass is used which may suit your home better if you have a south facing garden. The temperature across Edinburgh and Glasgow, in fact across the whole of Scotland recently has been consistently in the twenties so an orangery with a south facing aspect would allow the light and heat in but without the intensity of a conservatory – ideal if you like to have the odd plant or two dotted around your living area.

The difference between a conservatory and an orangery

By contrast, a conservatory tends to have a roof almost entirely glazed and the pitch is greater which ultimately means more sunlight therefore if your garden faces north and only catches the sun in the evening then a conservatory could be your extension of choice.

So where does the sun room fit into this? Well a sunroom is basically an extension without any glass in the roof at all but with windows all around. All three types of extension can be fitted with bifolding doors and used for multiple purposes such as a home office, dining kitchen, or just somewhere special in which to escape from the day to day pressures, relax, unwind and partake of a chilled glass of whatever you fancy – even a Margarita!

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