‘Modernising’ an unusual period feature

A first floor conservatory? Not a common feature in a house, but one that seems to be fairly popular in early 20th century townhouses in Brighton and Hove, and one I was pleased to help transform for 21st century comfort.

This conservatory faces south and west, fantastic for the afternoon and evening light. With its first-floor elevation it soaks up the last rays of sunlight when the ground floor of the house is already in shade.

The original conservatory was a softwood timber structure with coloured glazing in the windows and sides and an opaque glazed roof. The glazed roof had long been covered over with corrugated asbestos sheets and the roof and glazing leaked and the conservatory was cold.

The brief was to replace like for like but simplify the structure, open up the space to the rest of the house, make the new room as warm as possible (within the budget) and add an opening roof light for ventilation.

A new structure

The chosen solution was a sustainable hardwood for the structure, giving strength, durability and minimising movement. The conservatory was fabricated in David Salisbury’s workshop where the timber could be cut with precision and finished with three factory-applied coats of a micro-porous paint for longevity. This factory production meant that the on-site build time was reduced to just days.

Added light and warmth

The glazing units are low-energy double-glazed with special glass in the roof to cut down the heat gain in the summer.

For the technically minded the vertical glazing units are clear solar-controlled easy-clean glass combined with low-E glass and argon-filled sealed units with a U-value of 1.4 W/m2K. The roof has the same specification with the addition of azure solar-controlled ‘blue’ glass on the outside with a U-value for the glazing units of 1.1 W/m2K and a light transmission value of 59%.

The doors and brick piers separating the conservatory from the adjoining room have been removed and replaced with a steel stability frame, the dwarf solid brick walls lined with insulation and the existing timber floor has been renovated.

The work has created a beautiful, light, warm room that is very much part of the property but where you can get away from the hubbub in the rest of the house. You can relax there and look up to watch the clouds drift by and the seagulls flying overhead or it works as an office or occasional bedroom with a view.

Have an unusual feature in your home you need to repair or replace? I’ve extensive experience in renovating properties and working on listed building and in conservation areas. Contact me to discuss your project.

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“We live in a Conservation area and Martin drew up plans for our loft conversion and replacement windows. He dealt with the whole Planning Application and Building Control process on our behalf. He was completely reliable and diligent and a pleasure to do business with. All costs were clearly specified at the outset with no hidden charges. He also recommended a very good builder. We have no hesitation whatsoever in highly recommending Martin. PM & JM, Kemp Town, Brighton

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