In terms of extending the family home, most homeowners are faced with really just three options:
“Going up or going down” have their own particular drawbacks as well as advantages. Converting the loft does not add any new square footage to the house and is limited in use by the size of the roof. A basement extension is one of the costliest to do, and needs specialist design & installation.
A modern, contemporary orangery can offer much to a homeowner, in that it extends the home in such a way as to not only complement the existing property, but also add a visually amazing structure that the family (and envious friends) can enjoy for many years.
The word contemporary means “belonging to, or occurring in the present”. So when we are using this word to describe an orangery, we are focusing on what the latest design elements that are being incorporated into modern orangeries.
These highly ornate features themselves, although well loved, are what can make a classic design orangery look more vintage than modern.
Contemporary orangeries feature very “clean lines” and, whilst still making great use of solid columns and walls, use more full length glazing. Even sometimes turning a complete wall into a moving glass masterpiece.
Designers get more creative with the visual aspects, and make great use of the latest construction techniques.
A great example of this is where the roof is built in such a way as it “cantilevers”. Two adjoining side walls of the orangery are floor to ceiling bifold doors that can be slid aside to leave the roof “floating” above the room – totally amazing.
The choice of material is also a factor and so are colour schemes. Aluminum and engineered timbers are used to maximum effect, allowing for slimmer, stronger support, making contemporary orangeries look as if they are designed for tomorrow and not yesterday.
Blacks, greys, silver and light industrial colours are trending alongside white as very popular for the prevailing theme.
A prominent concern with all modern orangery construction, if we exclude the visual aspects, is to make them as secure and energy efficient as possible.
For glazing within the windows, doors or roof you will find “solar controlling” double glazed units that feature special oxide coatings to reflect harmful UV rays away, which cuts out sun-fade on internal furnishings and prevents heat build-up inside the room.
Further energy efficiency is gained by filling the sealed glass units with Argon gas. The thickness of the double glazed sealed units can go up to 28mm.
Security comes from the use of toughened or tempered glass in the glazed areas of the room. Doors and opening windows are secured by multi-point locks.
Sliding doors will also be fitted into tracks that prevent the doors from being lifted out when closed. Glazing beads are always on the inside.
Firstly, there is the planning permission aspect.
Orangeries typically inhabit the space between a conservatory and a “full-blown” home extension, and as such actually have the benefits of both.
You can build an orangery without planning permission as long as it abides by the rules governing permitted developments – you can’t build an extension without planning permission.
In terms of added resale value, an orangery is considered in most cases by valuers to be the same as a proper extension and therefore will add just as much resale value as an extension (up to 10% is considered the average increase).
Secondly, you have the cost element.
The cost of building a home extension is reported to be from around £1,500 to £2,100 per square metre depending on the quality of the construction. Plus, you could also be looking at design consultation and planning fees and fitting out the room that could push the cost of a 4m x 3m extension to £25,000 to £30,000.
For an equivalent sized orangery, you could be looking at fully fitted prices starting from £20,000.
It’s a close run race between an orangery and an extension on starting prices, but having an orangery definitely gives the property something extra in terms of desirability and class.
It’s a personal preference in terms of choosing a classic or contemporary orangery design, with some folks preferring the avant-garde, some sticking to tradition.
Whichever you prefer, an orangery is going to improve your lifestyle and add real monetary value to your home – for me, a 2 for 1 deal has always been the way to go.