Room for manoeuvre
“We looked through all the design magazines and approached three companies to provide estimates,” says Elizabeth Jones, who hired Westbury Garden Rooms to build an orangery on the back of her Grade II listed home in Oxfordshire (north-east facing, sun in the morning).
“Right from the start, we were sure we wanted a room that felt not as though it had been added as an afterthought, but which felt like an integral part of the house. As a result, you can’t really tell where our kitchen ends and the orangery begins. It’s certainly a lovely spot in which to sit with our labradoodles. Cosy when it’s cold and raining outside, but in summer we can open the doors and let the fresh air in.” That said, your average orangery comes rather less cheap than the everyday lean-to.
“An orangery will have a fair bit of solid wall, plus a decent-sized windowsill and maybe a lantern roof in the middle,” says Jonathan Hey, managing director of Westbury. “You start from the principle that it is a room, not a greenhouse.” Which means that while it costs only £5,000 to tack a PVC conservatory on to the side of your house, a 15ftx12ft orangery can set you back from £20,000 to £45,000.
And that’s just the start of it. A conservatory may be a glass ceiling, but when it comes to cost, the sky is