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What is an orangery? And how can it add value to your home?

“Allow me to show you the orangery…”

Everyone knows what a conservatory is. Not so many know what an orangery is. So, let’s dispel the confusion with a brief history of the structures that began springing up in the grounds of fashionable 17th century residences of northern Europe.

Seeing the light.

In Renaissance Italy and Holland, new glass technology saw the production of large glass windows for the first time. Taking advantage of large window technology, solid structures could be built to maximise the benefits of sunlight.

Here orange and other fruit trees were protected during the winter in what was a very large form of greenhouse or conservatory.

Oranges like warmth. 

These were the first orangeries, constructed from brick or stone with a solid north-facing wall to protect against the cold and a stove to keep them warm. The tall windows were positioned south-facing to maximise sunlight and usually had wooden shutters to retain heat at night.

The orangery provided a luxurious extension of the normal range and season of woody plants, extending the protection which had long been afforded by the warmth offered from a masonry fruit wall.

Cultivating prestige.

The original orangeries in the 17th century had solid roofs, but in the 19th century began to feature the central glazed lantern to allow more light to flood in. And although they originated as a practical means to cultivate fruits, the orangery quickly became an architecturally impressive symbol of prestige and wealth rather than simply a garden feature.

Wealthy owners of grand houses and estates would delight in conducting their guests on tours of the garden to admire not only the fruits within but also the architecture outside. The orangery might even house fountains, grottos, and an area in which to entertain in inclement weather.

More living space.

With the growth of international cargo shipping in the 20th century came a much cheaper way for people to get citrus fruits, and orangery structures were adapted to living spaces, while still used as places to grow plants.

Today, an orangery is generally looked upon simply as a home extension that can be used in the same way a conservatory can; both may share similar features, and both offer homeowners the chance to extend their living space with individual styling and design options.

Unlike palatially grand structures of the past, orangeries now are seen on smaller homes and tend to have more solidity in the roof with the use of a lantern and flat roof. With high performance glass and advances in thermally efficient technology such as insulated internal pelmets and super-insulated columns, a Residence Collection orangery can create a useful and visually stunning lifestyle addition to your home.

If you’re looking to start your own Residence journey, why not download one of our brochures? Or find your local Residence installer using our handy search tool.



At Residence Collection, we have a range of colours available and can offer everything from timeless classics like Grained White to modern favourites such as Eclectic Grey. Don’t forget, we also offer a dual finish that allows you to find windows and doors that look as good from the inside as they do outside.