Property Case Study: Kitchen Extension Orangery

03 December 2010
Type of Property:    Old Rectory
Location:                Audley, Staffordshire
Timescale:              4 months
Cost of project:       Approx. £65,000 excluding kitchen

The Situation:

Rob and Carol King moved into ‘The Old Rectory’ fourteen years ago, after the property had been lying derelict for eight years. Structurally the Victorian building was in good condition, with only internal decoration required and the garden in need of landscaping.  With six bedrooms and four reception rooms, the property seemed to be an ideal environment to bring up a family.

The Kings went on to have three children and, although the house was roomy enough for all of them, the only drawback was the galley kitchen and the poor view of the garden to the rear of the property. To address this problem, Rob and Carol felt that the perfect solution would be to build an orangery, which would link with existing rooms to achieve an open plan modern family living area, with an outlook to the beautiful garden.

The Brief:

To create a modern family space which would open up the kitchen, allow a good open aspect of the garden which could be used all year round. The kitchen was the coldest room in the house, and even the walls and floors would have condensation on them in the winter so there were concerns about the area being warm enough. 


The Kings worked closely with Trentham Garden Conservatories to build an orangery which was to act as an extension to the kitchen. Their main aim was to imitate the Victorian design of the property, while also giving it a contemporary feel, so that it could be used as additional living space. Major structural work was carried out to provide a large open space that incorporated the original kitchen and breakfast room, and under-floor heating was installed to provide a source of heat in the orangery. A further key aspect of the design was the installation of a feature double-sided glazed fireplace in a central column.

The Roof and Windows:

Due to the large expanse of glass used in the orangery, coupled with the fact that the Kings are a large and busy family, it was important to them to select a glass that needed minimal maintenance. They chose to glaze the roof of the orangery with Pilkington Activ™ Blue combined with  low emissivity Pilkington Optitherm™ as the inner pane  to ensure the highest level of insulation.

Pilkington Activ™ Blue is designed specifically for orangeries and conservatories.  It is a blue-tinted glass that combines dual-action self-cleaning properties with solar control technology. The dual-action coating uses UV rays to break down and loosen organic dirt (e.g. fingerprints, bird droppings, sap and pollen) and then encourages rainwater to flow down the glass in an even ‘sheeting’ effect, washing away any loosened dirt.  This ‘sheeting’ action helps prevent water from forming droplets and drying in streaks and smears following a rain shower; it also means that there is a clearer view through the window even after the heaviest downpour.

The blue glass allows considerably less heat into the room compared to standard glass, as it absorbs the heat and re-radiates it back outside, helping to keep the rooms interior cooler in the summer.  It also has an aesthetic benefit; it reduces reflection and glare from the sun, giving uninterrupted exterior views, and improves the outlook on even the greyest of days. 

Pilkington Optitherm™ improves energy efficiency because of its low thermal conducting qualities. Heat from the under-floor heating and central fireplace is prevented from escaping the orangery allowing the Kings to stay at a comfortable temperature during the cold winter months, without worrying about fuel bills.

The Result:

A stunning orangery and an entirely new living area, creating a light and spacious room the whole family can enjoy all year round.  The Kings were careful to ensure the new structure blended well with the traditional architecture of the Old Rectory by opting for an elegant neutral colour scheme and limestone tile flooring throughout.

“The result is fantastic and the experience of living in the area we have created just makes you feel good, so it has definitely changed our lifestyle” says Carol. “The whole family has benefited and we can all get on with whatever we want to do yet still be involved as a family and interact rather than me being shut away peeling the spuds!’’

“The children particularly love it they can sit at the breakfast bar and watch TV or do homework and research the net. It has also given us a great entertaining area and even when I am finishing off the steaks I am still involved in the party atmosphere and the open aspect to the garden we can now enjoy. Most importantly, installing Pilkington Activ Blue™ self-cleaning glass has meant that we spend hardly any time cleaning the orangery and more time enjoying it. We now have a fantastic light and airy room, which enables us to sit and enjoy the garden all year round and it’s warmer than it ever was despite the fact that over 50% of the outside wall space is now glazed.”