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Conservatories - Australian Styles

Australian ConservatoriesConservatories and outdoor living are popular the world over. While you will find conservatory suppliers in Australia who specialize in what we might refer to as traditional Victorian or English designs the Australians have also developed their own forms of conservatories and sunrooms. The following article gives a brief introduction to some uniquely Australian styles.

This article by Mark Gilham - Conservatory designer and builder, NSW, Australia.

The Appeal of Conservatories

The appeal of conservatories and sunrooms seems to be universal. Who doesn't like the idea of a room that lets the sun pour in, bright, cheery & warm? A room where inside meets outside, our very own protective bubble of timber, glass and polycarbonate. Australians are no different - we love the sun.

On the whole "conserving" that sun and warmth is usually not the primary concern when Aussies shop for a conservatory/sunroom design. Neither is in short supply in most parts of our "sun burnt country". Smart builders and designers know that a clear glass box under the intense Australian sun will give you something more akin to an oven for most of the year.

More and more, opaque and heat reflective polycarbonate roofing is being used, as well as double-glazing (for heat protection not retention), tinted glass and ventilation systems. When done right an Aussie conservatory can be that warm winter spot to eat brekkie & read the paper and an oasis, taking the sting off our blistering summer sunshine. 

If you drew an imaginary line east to west through the centre of Australia the Tropic of Capricorn would lay just to the north of that line - the northern-most tip of Australia being only 10 degrees south of the equator.

Bearing the above in mind some people will consider that all they need is the roof (walls/glass only serve to hold the heat). This is better known as a pergola (pronounced per-goal-a, though some insist it is purr-gulla). A warm breeze to dry the sweat on your forehead, as you sip a cold beer with one eye on the barbecue. This is no Paul Hogan cliché, honest! Aussies truly love outdoor living!

Like conservatories, when done right a pergola can be that magic living space. Not totally outside, then again not a room as such either. Literally the best of both. 

Show me an Aussie who doesn't want a nice pergola in their back yard and I will show you a kangaroo!

My company builds pergolas, sunrooms and conservatories for a living and I know through experience the difference that a well designed "daylight" room can make to your home environment.

"We love it!", "Everyone thinks it's great", "It's made such a difference", "We're out here almost all the time" etc....

If you are seriously considering your own conservatory (and by visiting here you obviously are) look for a design that fits your needs and particular climate. Aussies should always be wary of heat gain. Don't worry about "losing too much sunlight to adjoining rooms" by using a darker tint or opaque roofing - you won't. Also look for a builder who specialises in these projects, who knows their stuff.

Good luck with your project no matter where you live. 

Mark Gilham - Conservatory designer and builder.

PO Box 480 
Mittagong NSW 2575 

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