Planning the perfect orangery with award winning architect Adrian Gracia

When it comes to creating a home with the wow factor in South Wales, architect Adrian Gracia is an expert. Having won a clutch of awards for his work on client properties, Adrian earned further recognition for the conversion of his own Penarth home, achieving a national Daily Telegraph Home Building and Renovating Award.

Securahome asked Adrian, as an expert in conversions and extensions, to share his tips on creating the perfect orangery.

Tip 1: First see the big picture: For an extension to work well and really have that wow factor, it’s important to plan the orangery around how you will use it. If it’s a kitchen that may well mean having your architect or designer plan and manage the kitchen installation.

Tip 2: Decide how you want to use the extra space: One of the advantages of an orangery is the fact that it can extend an existing room without the same restrictions as a conservatory. For example, if you want to increase the living or dining space of your kitchen, with an orangery, you can open up the whole room into one, but with a conservatory you would need to separate it off with double doors.

Tip 3: Think about the design: Consider all of the details you want for your orangery, for example do you want a lantern roof, would bi-folding doors work for you? Once it’s finished the little details like where the lighting is placed, the handles on doors and windows and style of glazing can have a big impact on the feel of the room.

Tip 4: Don’t be afraid to think modern: Even if you have a Victorian house or character conversion, consider adding a contemporary orangery extension. Orangeries can blend with most properties, and so there is no real need to hark back to a bygone era, even if you do have a period home. A well-designed orangery can be both modern and sympathetic to the original style of your home.

Tip 5: Budget: If you are working to a budget (and let’s face it most of us are!) prioritise what’s most important to you about the orangery and make sure you deliver on those things first.

Tip 6: Consider the value you are adding: Like most extensions, an orangery will add value to your home because you are increasing the amount of year-round living space. I honestly see this kind of extension as a great investment. Not only do you increase the value of your asset, you get to enjoy that investment everyday.

Tip 7: Maximise the value: Kitchens and bathrooms have become much more important to people when it comes to buying a home. If you want to maximise the added value an orangery will bring to your house, think of a kitchen extension. Large, multi-purpose kitchen/ family rooms have become very popular and, particularly if the current space is too small to fit a dining table, can be a good way to make your home more saleable.

Tip 8: Check your planning rules: You may be surprised to learn that as long as it is under a certain size, and isn’t too close to a boundary, you may not need planning permission for your orangery. If your home has already been extended, it is likely you will need permission so you must check with the planning department of your local authority to be sure.

*Adrian Gracia is the owner of Adrian Gracia Limited Architects based in Penarth, Vale of Glamorgan. He was the 2012 winner of the Daily Telegraph Homebuilding and Renovating Award for the best remodel/extension. Prior to training as an architect, Adrian was as a structural steelwork engineer, and this experience has proved invaluable when planning extensions and conversions.

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