Adding structural accessories to your conservatory can create a lot of architectural appeal and the elements often reflect traditional conservatory design. The most commonly used accessories are lanterns and dormers; both elements will enlarge the square footage of the conservatory and help to create a distinct design.
Dormers are architectural elements that project from a roof and typically begin at the ridge line or in the middle of the roof. Multiple dormers can be used with a long span or on each side of a conservatory.
A traditional conservatory appearance can be achieved, by incorporating the following onto a dormer:
- A gable rake can be added to the front perimeter.
- Grids can be utilized on the gable with numerous patterns available.
- A Palladian arch can be incorporated.
- Ridge cresting can adorn the ridge of the dormer, with a finial at the peak.
A lantern can be located on top of a conservatory’s roof and can span the entire length of the roof or occupy a small section. Lanterns can also feature a hip end, conservatory nose, or a double pitch configuration. If the eave is high enough, the glass can be operable to allow for additional ventilation. The goal of a lantern is two-fold: to allow additional light into the conservatory and to create a decorative design element.
Entryway or Vestibule
An entryway or vestibule can offer storage or simply provide a wind break to make the conservatory more comfortable.
Decorative Grids and Molding
Decorative grids create a sense of elegance with any conservatory. Grids are available in four varieties: Ogee, Traditional, Low Profile, and Colonial. These designs can be used in any vertical glass: standard bays, fixed and operable windows, doors, folding glass walls, and transom bays. Certain door and window systems can only accept low profile grids.
SDLs and Muntins
The first grid is attached to the exterior of the window, the second is placed between the panes, and the third is fixed to the window’s interior. This system is intended to emulate historic windows, which featured individual panes of glass fitted between grids inside the frame.
Muntins are located between the glass panels inside the air space. Windows with muntins are easier to clean because the grid is inside the glass, leaving a smooth window surface. It is recommended that tall conservatories with hard to reach areas use muntins. If the conservatory will be used for growing plants, muntins are also recommended due to soil build-up from plants.
Decorative molding creates a distinguished appearance in a conservatory. There are numerous molding profiles available which can be utilized on rafters, sills, and eaves in your conservatory. The addition of molding will enhance a conservatory’s appearance and add sophistication to the room.
Classic conservatories feature grilles in ceilings, walls, and floors. Architectural grilles are often ornate in appearance and serve numerous purposes. Grilles are commonly incorporated as access panels, which can be used to disguise the mechanics belonging to a conservatory’s electrical system. Traditional registers and returns can be incorporated into the conservatory for heating and cooling units. Conservatories utilized for growing plants or as spa enclosures require floor drainage.
Gable pediments also known as “Palladian arches,” are applied to the triangular gable of a conservatory. The most common designs include a half round arch with rays extending from the arch. The radius and number of rays are all customized to meet the aesthetics of the individual conservatory. Grid work can be used to create a pediment or a true division mullion.
Ring and Collars are structural elements often utilized in conservatories. A cross tie extends from the ridge line of a conservatory and intersects with the ties spanning the eave. Historic conservatories used this method of construction and it remains a common element in today’s conservatories. An appliqué can be applied to the ring to provide a decorative appearance. Baskets with plants can be hung from the unit.
A king post extends from the apex of inclined rafters to the tie beam between the rafters at their lower ends.
Conservatory Posts and Columns
The addition of columns and posts to a conservatory can add Victorian charm. Historically, conservatories utilized columns for structural support. An aluminum conservatory, however, supports itself and does not require the use of columns for support. Instead, columns can be added for their aesthetic value.
Most columns used on conservatories are pilasters, or half of a column, directly attached post to the conservatory wall. Solar utilizes different column styles in each conservatory. Typically, the format follows the Doric order.
Columns can be one of seven standard colors, feature custom colors, or cladding can be applied to the pilasters. The shaft of the column is created in a squared-off, half round, or fluted format. A plinth may also be added to the unit. Different capital options are always available. The columns may be placed on the exterior or interior, be full height, or sit atop a knee wall.
Gutters and Downspouts
A finial (also known as a spire) is typically located at the highest peak of a conservatory above a gable or hip end.
Dormers, lanterns, and entryways can all utilize finials and there are countless styles and varieties available. A finial’s finish matches the conservatory. In some cases a finial can be used as a lightning rod.
Appliqués are small decorative ornaments that can be placed on base panels, pilasters, or ring and collars. Several styles and sizes are available. All designs are based on the historic fleur-de-lis and rosette motifs. Available in all standard and custom finishes.
Ridge cresting typically adorns the ridge line of decorative conservatories. Classic English conservatories featured ridge cresting and Solar Innovations® offers several styles to replicate these historic designs. The ridge cresting is used in conjunction with finials to create a classic aesthetic.
Decorative corners and brackets have three functions. The first is an ornamental purpose, where the bracket is known as a spandrel. This piece can be placed in the eave of a structure.
The second use for the decorative corner is as a shelf support. The corners are structurally sound and can be used as support shelves to hold accessories, books, and other household objects.
Lastly, decorative corners can be used as plant hangers. Mounting the bracket to a wall will provide a solution when hanging baskets.
- Entryway or Vestibule
- Decorative Grids and Molding
- Gable Pediments
- Conservatory Posts and Columns
- Conservatory Ornamentation