Monthly Archives: January 2015

Make Your Conservatory Totally You

When it comes to interior design, chances are you’re going to be pretty focussed on the living room, the bedroom, the kitchen. If it’s lucky, maybe the bathroom and the hallway come a distant fourth and fifth. But what about the humble conservatory, standing there, stoic and unassuming, waiting for a little creative TLC?

Often, when making our conservatories look lovely we tend to go for some standards. The block colour paints, the wicker chairs, maybe a tall plant in the corner. And… that’s it. But hey, you wouldn’t treat your lounge with so little thought, so why’s the conservatory any different? As suppliers of conservatories in Cheshire and beyond, we’re pretty passionate about conservatories – but we also love interior design. After all, who wants a beautiful conservatory that’s decorated in a bland or generic style?

 

That’s why we’re going to look at a few design ideas to make your conservatory totally you. And that means you’ll have plenty of time to whip it into shape before summer arrives and you and your family and friends are sipping homemade lemonade and basking in the refracted sunshine.

 

Relax! Take a Seat

Just because your nan had wicker chairs in her conservatory, doesn’t mean you have to. You could always opt for more traditional seating – couches, leather sofas, whatever you’re most comfortable with. The main advantage of this is that the conservatory stops being some glassy appendage to your house, and truly becomes part of the home. And if you were hoping to go for something a little more outlandish, might we suggest… bean bags?

 

Cuddle Up with Cushions

Add a little warmth to your conservatory furnishings. A bunch of cushions and throws scattered across the seats will make it so much more inviting. It adds colours, style and character and it’s really that simple. And they’re perfect for both the cool winters and steamy summers. Because hey, who doesn’t want comfort and the sense of floating on colourful clouds?

 

Be Bold…

When it comes to paintwork, plenty of conservatories look alike. Off-whites, pale oranges and faded greens figure highly. But you can do better than those guys, right? Paint your walls with delightfully bold colours to really make a statement. Want to get fashionable? Go grey. The right shade of grey can create a really modern feel to the conservatory. And if you’re unconvinced by daubing the walls in this colour, it also makes a pretty nifty accent colour to complement whatever other shades you’ve gone for.

 

…And Go Green

Having a plant in a conservatory is cool. Having a selection of well-chosen plants is better, right? They work great at both enhancing the whole ‘bringing the outside inside’ that conservatories do so well, and adding a vibrant personality to the room. Don’t overload the conservatory with them though, and make sure the sizes are well-suited to how big the conservatory is. No-one wants to wade through a jungle, Indiana Jones-style, just for a sip of Pimms!

 

Reflect Yourself

When it comes to other rooms in the house, we tend to be fairly consistent. Y’know, we’ll only use blues and creams, or blacks and whites; all the chairs are from the same uniform set; and the theme remains the same, like going all nautical in the bathroom or rustic in the kitchen. But that’s where conservatories are king – because you’re not so limited! You can really make your conservatory reflect who you are. You can mix those contemporary-style vases with vintage sideboards. You can hang up film posters, put a moose head on the wall. The choice is yours. Done right, done well, it really works.

 

And if you haven’t got a conservatory yet, we can help you out there too. We’re a leading supplier of conservatories that are absolutely FAB. For more information about what we provide and how we can help you, simply contact us on 0800 066 5644 or email sales@fabsystemsltd.co.uk and our team will be delighted to assist with your enquiries.

How Do Conservatories Work?

Most of us have a soft spot for the conservatory. Even if we don’t all have them ourselves, there’s something very relaxing about settling down in a warm conservatory over the summer months, and enjoying a bit of well-earned ‘me time’. However, have you ever stopped to ponder exactly how a conservatory works like it does? On the one hand, it’s a very simple answer, but more people than you’d think don’t understand why it works out so well. It pretty much just boils down to the high school science topic that is the greenhouse effect, so here are a few details to refresh your memory.

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Not THAT Greenhouse Effect

First up, this greenhouse effect is not the same phenomenon that everyone thinks is leading to global warming. We’re not talking about gases in the atmosphere here. It’s pretty confusing that the two processes share a name, but the actual stuff we want to talk about is different to the bad old news that is melting the polar ice caps. Just making sure you knew!

Absorbing and Trapping Heat

Fundamentally speaking, a conservatory is broadly the same as a greenhouse; you just want people to be comfortable in there, rather than plants. This shouldn’t be a surprise, given the fact that some of the earliest conservatory buildings were actually designed to cultivate citrus fruits like oranges and lemons, or sometimes other exotic plants that were brought to the UK on global trade routes.

In simple terms, a conservatory absorbs the sunlight, but doesn’t then let it out again, resulting in a building that retains every last little ounce of heat. The effect is also exacerbated by the angle of the sun’s rays, which allows a lot more radiant energy to enter the conservatory that might otherwise be normal. The trapping of the heat is achieved by the double glazed windows, which is exactly why modern technology has made the idea of a conservatory in the UK more practical than ever before.

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Ventilation and Insulation

Just like true greenhouses, conservatory builders need to pay close attention to both ventilation and insulation. As you might expect, an environment that is designed to trap heat can risk becoming very humid and the like, and so ventilation is always going to be needed. This can be easily achieved in numerous ways, but insulation is perhaps even more important, and, in colder climates, was perhaps what caused conservatories to fall out of favour somewhat after their ‘golden age’.

Trapping all that heat is well and good…providing there is something to trap! In the UK, we know all about dreary winters, and our summer months aren’t always much to write home about either, and historically far too much heat was lost through the covering of a conservatory building. As we’ve already mentioned, the advent of double glazing has solved many of these potential issues, but sometimes other measures need to be called upon too. Many people in the UK want to be able to use their conservatories all year round, and such habits often need a helping hand (or two).

You’ll have probably gathered that double glazing was a pretty big invention in terms of the practicality of the conservatory, and here at FAB Systems we specialise in providing this essential form of insulation not for only your conservatories, but also your entire home too. When it comes to double glazing in Stoke on Trent, we’re the go to supplier, and our prices are as competitive as they come. If you’d like to upgrade your glazing today, then don’t hesitate to contact us today by calling 0800 066 5644 and we’ll be happy to help.

Looking Through Time: The Most Famous Conservatories in the World Ever (Part Two)

In our previous post, Looking Through Time: The Most Famous Conservatories in the World Ever (Part One) – we highlighted three of the most unique and aesthetically beautiful conservatories of the past.

From The Great Conservatory, to The Big Sleep and Belle Isle – these conservatories really are amongst those crafted of sheer beauty, with many considered more renowned today than the day they were built. However, what about others?

As specialists of conservatory builds, we’re always on the lookout for a little design inspiration, and thoroughly enjoy seeking out examples of both domestic and grandeur designs that’ll inspire us in our works.

So, as promised – let’s have another look through time with the final instalment of the most famous conservatories in the world, ever! Enjoy.

The Eden Project, Cornwall, England

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The Eden Project in Cornwall is considered one of the most famous conservatories of modern day, and has been crowned the world’s biggest greenhouse in the Guinness Book of Records! Home to over 1million plants, the complex is dominated by three adjoining artificial biomes – the Rainforest Biome, the Mediterranean Biome and the open-air Outdoor Biome.

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Constructed in a 160 year-old dormant clay mine, the impressive domes consist of hexagonal and pentagonal, inflated plastic cells, and are supported by steel frames. Each biome holds various plants and species from all over the world, and is open to the public all year round!

The Princess of Wales Conservatory, Kew Gardens, London, England

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Inside the famous Royal Botanical Gardens, stands The Princess of Wales or Princess Augusta conservatory, the founder of Kew. Opened by Diana on 28th July 1987, the breathtaking conservatory was designed by architect Gordon Wilson, and contains ten computer-controlled climatic tropical zones, all under one roof. The two main climatic areas are the dry tropics and the eight remaining zones, including a seasonally dry zone.

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Regarded as one of the most sophisticatedly designed and impressive builds in the country, the conservatory offers a range of rare, unusual and stunning natural landscapes and elements from floor to ceiling, and, with its stepped and angled glass construction – is an impressively effective collector of solar energy.

Garfield Park Conservatory, Chicago, USA

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Garfield Park, for starters, is widely considered to be one of the USA’s best kept secrets, and one of the country’s finest botanical treasures. Created and designed as a pleasure ground by William LeBaron Jenney back in 1908, and is now the oldest of three great original Chicago West Side parks. The build occupies approximately 4.5 acres of the 182 acre site, and is home to thousands of wondrous and unique plant and natural species.

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Considered one of the largest and most stunning conservatories in the nation, and is often referred to as ‘landscape art under glass’ – providing breathtaking sights and ‘scapes, whatever the season! It’s also been a popular venue for many weddings over the years! Ah, lovely.

Bicentennial Conservatory, Adelaide, Australia

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Constructed in 1987, the Bicentennial Conservatory was opened in late 1989 as a celebration of the Australian Bicentenary, and has become one of country’s most respected and enjoyed landmarks. Designed by South Australian architect, Guy Maron, it is the largest single span conservatory in the Southern hemisphere and is curvilinear in shape.

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100 metres long, 47 metres wide and 27 metres high – the conservatory is considered a one-of-a-kind build, and its elegant steel superstructure supports the 2,434 metres of toughened glass which forms the walls, doors and roof. Inside the build you’ll find a stunning collection of at risk or endangered rainforest plants from Northern Australia, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and the nearby Pacific Islands.

Here at FAB Systems, we’re passionate about design, and understand the importance of both quality and visual design. So, if you’re looking for fascias, roofing or double glazing in Stoke on Trent – we’ve got you covered! For more information or for a free quote, please feel free to get in contact with our friendly and helpful team on 0800 066 5644 today!

Looking Through Time: The Most Famous Conservatories in the World Ever (Part One)

Previously in our ‘Looking Through Time’ series we checked out some of the most famous windows in the world, both from pop culture – as in the case of Hitchcock’s classic Rear Window – to, y’know, actual culture like the infamous Texas School Book Depository. But that’s not the only world famous product we deal with – we’re also conservatory specialists who really love checking out some examples of wonderful design in the conservatory world.  In the first of this two-parter, we’re going to study the most awesome conservatories in the world. And we’ll start with…

 

The Great Conservatory

Few things are more stunning than a well-designed conservatory – and we think The Great Conservatory at Syon Park is truly jaw-dropping. It’s a genuine Victorian marvel that’s still standing in its 19th century form, though it was extensively restored during the mid-80’s back to its original glory after decades of neglect post-World War One.  The conservatory itself was designed by Charles Fowler, who worked as both architect and engineer to construct a conservatory that, according to Syon Park’s website, ‘combined… a neo-classical elevation on a Palladian model.’ Duck inside The Great Conservatory and you’d have found  plenty of exotic plants from South Africa, Australia and China. Pretty amazingly, by the late 1800’s, the palm trees had grown to the top of the conservatory’s dome! Speaking of the project, Fowler once said: ‘The proper excellence of architecture is that which results from its suitableness to the occasion … and this principle rightly pursued leads to originality, without the affection of novelty.’ We couldn’t agree more.

 

The Big Sleep

When it comes to the movies, conservatories are criminally under-represented. But that doesn’t mean that Hollywood have entirely forgotten the humble structures. In the 1946 noir thriller The Big Sleep, based on Raymond Chandler’s beautifully written book, we’re introduced to both Humphrey Bogart’s rumpled PI Phillip Marlowe and the man who sets him on the case, General Sternwood. Sternwood’s an old man: he’s exhausted, tired of keeping his two tearaway daughters out of trouble – or paying off blackmailers – and barely living. If it wasn’t for the warmth of the orchid-ridden conservatory, Sternwood would be sleeping the sleep that’s big. Not that the kind ol’ General is much of a fan of the plants he’s surrounded himself with. ‘Nasty things,’ he says. ‘Their flesh is too much like the flesh of men, and their perfume has the rotten sweetness of corruption.’ But at least it’s keeping him alive – without Sternwood, there’d be no film.

 

Belle Isle

The Belle Isle Conservatory has a serious claim to fame. It’s actually the oldest in all of the ancient United States of America. The conservatory was built back in the dark ages of 1904 on an island park in Detroit, Michigan. It covers around 13 colossal acres at the centre of the island, and the dome of the conservatory stands at an awe-inspiring 85ft. Designed by architect, Albert Khan, the dome of the conservatory was originally built from wood, until they rebuilt it out of iron for durability. The isle is also home to a beautiful lily pond, zoo, aquarium, museum and even a yacht club. However, we believe that the utterly stunning conservatory is the best thing about Belle. After Anne Scripps Whitcomb, the daughter of a Detroit newspaper baron, donated her collection of 600 orchids to the conservatory in 1953, it was renamed in her honour. It’s also home to plenty of exotic South American and Asian plants.

 

Here at FAB Systems we really appreciate a great conservatory. After all, it’s what we do and what we love. If you’re in need great solutions for roofing, fascias and double glazing in Crewe and beyond, we’ve got you covered. For more information about our products and services or a free quotation, don’t delay – please don’t hesitate to contact us on 0800 066 5644 or email sales@fabsystemsltd.co.uk and our team of experts will be more than happy to assist with all of your enquiries.

Onwards and Upwards – Energy Bills in 2015

Here at FAB Systems, we get plenty of customers coming to us for double glazing in Stoke on Trent when they’re looking to improve the energy efficiency of their homes, as few features are more essential for insulation than the right kind of windows. However, people look to reduce energy bills in many different ways, but, according to the latest news, 2015 could be a struggle in that respect.

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The Telegraph reports how numerous considerations like wholesale costs and green incentives are predicted to play a prominent part with regards to energy consumption this year, and here’s a brief rundown of the most important points…

  • Wholesale costs have been falling as of late, but the prevailing attitude is that customers shouldn’t expect to reap any savings. Currently, plans to pass on savings to customers are very much up in the air, so don’t get too excited about a reduction in your bills just yet.
  • There’s been the possibility of an energy price freeze for quite some time, and many analysts are stating that – in a rather curious situation – this price freeze is driving up prices. Until the nature of the price freeze is revealed in the May election, nobody seems willing to cut costs.
  • Competition is always huge when it comes to costs, and, although it hasn’t happened yet, competition from smaller firms is anticipated to drive down bills from mainstream providers. In this particular case, 2015 could well be a time when customers do see improvement.
  • The Green Deal is an example of an initiative that gives people the opportunity to ‘go green’, and green incentives from the government are apparently set to increase. This will reward homeowners with energy-friendly systems, so that’s definitely something to think about.

Clearly, 2015 looks like it could unfold in a variety of directions with regards to energy bills, but, as we’ve already mentioned, one great way to take your savings into your own hands is to pay proper attention to your windows. They’re not the only area that needs attending to, but they are very important when it comes to keeping heat inside your home, and the FAB Systems team is always on hand to help. If you’d like further information about our reliable provision of double glazing, don’t hesitate to contact us now by calling 0800 066 5644.