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An essential design statement in many country houses centuries ago, nowadays the stone orangery is enjoying a massive resurgence in popularity – as a great way to add value, style and flexible space to homes great and small.
No self-respecting country pile in the 17th Century was constructed without an impressive stone orangery as part of the design. As the name suggests, stone orangeries were used to cultivate citrus fruits which were brought back from warmer climes by intrepid explorers or wealthy offspring returning from the Grand Tour.
Time for tea?
Probably the most famous (and largest) orangery in the UK is the impressive brick and stucco structure built at Kew Gardens in 1761, and still going strong today. Even in those early times, stone orangeries weren’t just used for fruit growing – Queen Anne apparently used the 1704 orangery at Kensington Palace as a venue for lavish afternoon tea parties.
Not just a glasshouse
Interestingly, while they had south facing windows to capture the sunlight, early brick or stone orangeries had a lot less glass than you might expect. The heat needed to nurture the tender citrus trees was boosted using fires or stoves.
The stone orangery today
Nowadays, with the growing trend towards staying put and extending rather than moving house, the addition of a stone orangery offers a wealth of possibilities to create flexible extra space for all the family, whilst enhancing the look – and value – of your home.
As with the orangeries of yesteryear, depending on how you want to use it, your new stone orangery can be added as an extension to your existing home – or constructed on its own in your garden.
How to use it? You choose…
A stone orangery is so much more than just a greenhouse or a conservatory – it’s a proper building or extension that’s flooded with natural light from windows and rooflights. As such, it can be used for a wide range of purposes – here are just a few examples:
- A summer living room – if your living room is nice and cosy in winter but a bit dark in summer, why not decamp to the orangery for the warmer months? Exchange the open fire and TV for light airy views of the garden.
- A dining room – if you don’t have the luxury of somewhere to seat guests for dinner, your new stone orangery could be the place to lay the table with all your best crockery and hold dinner parties to impress!
- A home office – more and more people work from home, but don’t have a room to work in away from the rest of the family. Your new stone orangery could be just the job! Maybe even locate it away from the house, so you can enjoy the ‘daily commute’!
- A studio – if you’re into art and crafts, the great levels of natural light in a stone orangery make it the ideal place to pursue your artistic inclinations to your heart’s content.
- A playroom – the kids will love their own dedicated playroom – with easy access to the garden for outdoor fun and games.
- A kitchen/diner – build your new stone orangery as an extension to your existing kitchen, turning it into a fantastically spacious family room where everyone can hang out.
- A pet’s paradise – your new stone orangery could be the ideal place for pets to spend the day while you’re out at work – keeping them off the furniture and carpets in the rest of the house.
If you’re thinking of adding a stone orangery to your home, speak to the experts at Stamford Stone for free advice and a wide range of stone options to create an outdoor room you’ll love. (Oranges not included!)