<![CDATA[Conservatory Furniture Blog]]> http://www.conservatoryfurniture.com/blog/ Fri, 31 Oct 2014 14:41:31 +0000 Zend_Feed http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/tech/rss <![CDATA[Winter flowers]]> http://www.conservatoryfurniture.com/blog/winterflowers/ Just because the summer has now drawn to a close does not mean that we have to wave goodbye to the pleasures gained from relaxing in the garden amidst an array of blooming flowers. Many plants are able to flourish througStunning winter flowershout the colder months, especially from within a conservatory. With a bit of thought and careful selection, it is easy to transform this part of your home into a glorious winter garden that can be enjoyed right through until the spring.

If you are worried about the thought of having to heat your conservatory in order to cultivate such an indoor mini-paradise, despair not – winter-flowering pot plants such as Paperwhite Narcissus, coloured Primrose and forced Hyacinth do not need such conditions to thrive. Despite their natural hardiness, plants such as these can really brighten up the dull aura that can descend upon a conservatory at this time of year. With its Mediterranean flora, Cyclamen is another good choice for livening up this living space without having to raise its temperature.

Introducing a few architectural evergreens into your display can help add a warmer tone to your conservatory. The likes of the Yucca, Aspidistra, Pittosporum or Cordyline will also tolerate a cooler atmosphere, and the red-berried Aucuba, otherwise known as Japanese Laurel, is easy to grow whilst being able to withstand draughts. Perhaps one of the best evergreen shrubs for creating a feeling of good cheer is the species of Correa known as the Christmas Bush – its green and red colouring and bell-shaped flowers makes it perfect for a naturally festive environment.

Brighten up winter with these flowersMany of these little winter wonders will also emit a wonderful fragrance, ensuring your conservatory appeals to the senses in more ways than one. One of the best deciduous shrubs for this is the Abeliophyllum Distichum, or White Forsythia. Native to central Korea, this medicinal plant usually produces scented, white flowers in February, and it can also reach an eventual size of 6.5 ft, so be sure you have the space to accommodate this! For a shrub that blooms a little earlier, the evergreen shrub Arbutus Unedo, or Strawberry Tree, is a lovely ornamental plant that will liven up your conservatory with its pinkish-white flowers from October through to December. Be warned, however, that this Mediterranean beauty can reach a whopping 15 feet by the time it is fully grown.

If pink and white colouring sounds appealing but a plant of a smaller size would be preferable, the herbaceous perennial, Bergenia, will meet your needs exactly. Growing to a maximum of 8 to 15 inches, this Asian beauty will bloom between January and April, whisking the winter blues away and carrying you through to the spring. With such a delightful conservatory display now in place, however, you may even find yourself looking forward to the following winter!

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Sun, 13 Oct 2013 13:16:30 +0000
<![CDATA[Scorching hot summers]]> http://www.conservatoryfurniture.com/blog/scorchinghotsummers/ Scorching Summers

 

With summers like the one we are currently experiencing, who wouldn’t want to enjoy the benefits of a conservatory? Even the most hardened of sun worshippers may have been finding it hard to sit outside in the scorching heat for hours at a time without any form of respite, no matter how grim their determination for a tan!

A well-equipped conservatory can offer a welcome break from the sun’s powerful rays, thereby eliminatHot summer days in the conservatorying the need to retreat into the gloomy depths of the house when the temperature gets too much. Conservatories are also the ideal solution for those who prefer to shield themselves from the sun altogether yet still wish to enjoy the natural beauty of the outdoors brought about by a glorious summer. For who would want to miss out on the pacifying sight of white clouds gently bobbing across a brilliant blue sky, or the bouncing kaleidoscope of colours in a garden that is illuminated by the sun. Because no matter how stylish your decor, or how loud the chorus of crickets outside, that wondrous feeling of being deep in the Mediterranean can rarely be replicated within the confines of stone walls.

Of course, the natural splendours that go hand in hand with long, hot summers are not limited to those that occur during a warm, dry spell. After a period of intense heat comes the inevitable thunderstorm, a type of weather phenomenon that is simply spectacular to behold, especially from the sanctity of a well-furnished conservatory that offers a surround-view experience. Being able to nestle into the cosy cushioning of a luxurious wicker armchair whilst being almost encircled by flashes of lightening, crashes of thunder, and the sound of heavy rain drumming against the full-length windows as torrents of water rush along the patio, is truly cathartic.

Thunderstorm build up of pressure in the houseInvesting in dining furniture that has been specifically designed for conservatory use is extra rewarding when Britain is hit with a heat wave. On a hot and humid night, an evening meal in the conservatory can create a holiday-like ambience, without the annoyances that al fresco dining can bring; nearly everybody that has attempted to eat outside on a summer’s evening will have experienced being feasted on by midges whilst flies take a float in the wine. And on those nights when the heavens open, the thunder booms, and lightening leaves us without power, a candlelit dinner in the conservatory can be an experience to be remembered – after all, who needs a TV supper in the snug when a meal can be savoured from front-row seats for Mother Nature’s very own firework display?

However, it is also during summers like these that we can really see how important it is to choose conservatory furniture that has been made from the likes of high-grade cane, rattan or seagrass. With the high temperatures and levels of humidity we are experiencing, furniture that has been poorly manufactured using materials of a lower quality will struggle to cope with the conditions, making it likely to split or chip, bringing summertime pleasures in the home to an untimely end.

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Thu, 08 Aug 2013 13:19:11 +0000
<![CDATA[Dragons blood]]> http://www.conservatoryfurniture.com/blog/dragons/ Tue, 18 Jun 2013 18:36:13 +0000 <![CDATA[Sprucing up for Spring]]> http://www.conservatoryfurniture.com/blog/sprucingup/ Despite the cold, damp weather and the distinct chill in the air at night, an amble through any semi-rural area will tell you that spring is most definitely just around the corner. Snowdrops are appearing in abundance on grass verges, which are themselves turning a more luscious shade of green every day, and the sun is sinking behind the hills later and later each evening, giving us more natural light and banishing those gloomy, darkSpring flowers lighten up the day afternoons until next winter.

We’ve all heard the old sayings that are associated with this particular time of year, such as ‘spring fever’, ‘full of the joys of spring’, ‘spring chicken’ and so on. Each of these acknowledges that this is a time of regeneration, vitality and birth. Indeed, in the words of Virgil Kraft, ‘Spring shows what God can do with a drab and dirty world’.

So what better way to prepare for its impending arrival than by revitalising your conservatory – a part of the house that is frequently abandoned by homeowners during the cold months of winter, and one that may well have taken on a drab and dirty appearance. It is time to don a pair of rubber gloves and grab your feather duster – a thorough ‘spring clean’ will transform your conservatory into a welcoming and energising space that is perfect for bidding farewell to those winter blues and embracing the beauty of Mother Nature.

Hiring a cleaning company to sort out the exterior of your conservatory is always a good option, particularly for the roof and the gutters. Attempting to do it yourself with a power washer is strongly discouraged as panels can become easily damaged and are expensive to replace. Professional conservatory cleaners will usually do the glass on the inside as well, although you can do this part yourself should you prefer – just be sure to use a non-abrasive cleaner, a clean scrubber that is rinsed frequently, and a squeegee that is wiped between strokes. This job is best performed on a dry, cloudy day, as direct sunshine will encourage annoying streaks and blurs.

Be sure to pay plenty of attention to the floor of your conservatory; as this room acts as a bridge between house and garden, it is inevitable that grass, leaves and mud may have been trampled in at some point. Any rugs that have been laid can be steam cleaned fairly cheaply, either by you or a professional carpet cleaner.

Any wicker furniture that may have collected dust can be gently brushed down before being cleaned with a soft cloth and a small amount of soapy water. Removable cushion covers can be dry cleaned or machine washed – be sure to check the instructions provided by your supplier. Or even better still, why not give your conservatory a total revamp by treating yourself to some new furniture that comes complete with Sunbrella fabrics in an astonishing array of patterns and colours? This is a sure way of bringing new life to your conservatory, and it will certainly put an extra spring in your step as we enter this fabulous season.

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Sun, 17 Mar 2013 15:00:08 +0000
<![CDATA[Wonders of rattan]]> http://www.conservatoryfurniture.com/blog/wondersofrattan/ The Wonders of Rattan

Those of you that have been following our blogs will already know that we create our natural rattan furniture using materials obtained from highly-sustainable crops in South East Asia, and you will thus already appreciRattan footbridge made from natural harvested cropsate just how eco-friendly our products are. What you may not yet be aware of, however, is the social significance of buying rattan furniture – of the contribution that you, as a consumer, will be making to the indigenous people of Indonesia.

Due to the amount of labour involved in processing rattan, this is a trade that offers a diverse range of employment opportunities to those who live in the tropical regions in which this climbing palm grows, and it is one that generates as much as 50% of the income of these small village communities.
This income is not just gained through work offered on the large plantations either; whilst tree cover is need for rattan growth, fruit trees and rubber gardens will suffice in this action, thereby allowing villagers to cultivate smaller crops on their smallholdings and earn additional cash.

The impact that the rattan trade has on reducing poverty in these areas is therefore substantial, but the wonders of this versatile plant don’t stop there. Rattan is of huge cultural value to the many different people indigenous to countries within South Asia, and it plays a large role in festivals and tribal rituals, whilst for others it is a tool of survival. In Bangladesh, for example, the roots, leaves and shoots of some of the edible species are enjoyed as vegetables and are also used for medicinal purposes. Meanwhile in Nepal, rattan sticks can be found in the temples of the Tharu people, who believe the plant to be holy and thus capable of keeping evil spirits at bay.
A tree house made from natural rattan
Rattan is also frequently used as a binding material; the hunter/gatherer Korowai Tribe of Papua use it in this way when making the tree houses in which they live – some of which are up to 35 metres from ground level! The nomadic Penan people, who travel through the forests in groups, setting up camps in which they settle for just one month, use the plant in a similar way when building their selap – huts crafted from poles held together with rattan strips, and whose floors are four feet off the ground. Backpacks also made from rattan contain all the possessions belonging to each member of this shy tribe of the Malaysian rain forest. Often referred to as the ‘Long Neck’ people due to the multiple brass coils fitted around the throats of the women, the Kayan tribe of Burma are skilled in making sunhats and skull caps to protect them from the elements, and use rattan as part of this process.

The plant is also used for clothing purposes by the Papua Mountain Yali Tribe, whose bodies are sheathed in thin rattan strips coiled from breast to knee to form a traditional, tyre-like skirt. So should you be seeking furniture that is strong, durable, eco-friendly and bursting with naturality, look no further than our ranges woven from rattan – a truly versatile, wondrous plant that epitomises the sense of natural living.

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Sun, 24 Feb 2013 21:14:14 +0000
<![CDATA[Embrace the beauty of winter]]> http://www.conservatoryfurniture.com/blog/embracethebeautyofwinter/ Now that the cold weather is upon us, lots of people may be suffering from the winter blues. It is now well acknowledged that even the most upbeat of individuals can feel somewhat tired and down during the winter months, mainly as a result of the shorter, darker days that the season brings with it. But what is still a mystery to some are the reasons behind this – the fact that we all need sunlight in order for our brains to release the neurotransmitters that strongly affect our mood.

Unfortunately, it is human nature to want to stay indoors with the curtains drawn and the shutters bolted once the chillier weather arrives! And even more sadly, many conservatories around the country will already be standing cold and lonely, having been abandoned till spring. Yet here lies the obvious answer to the problem; by heating your conservatory in an efficient manner, you can create a comfortable, relaxing environment that is flooded with natural light, even in the depths of December.Sitting on a comfortable chair looking out on winter

Although we may dislike the cold, few people would dispute the visual beauty of the natural world on a crisp, frosty morning. So what better way to unwind and recharge our batteries than by snuggling up on a rattan sofa in the conservatory whilst enjoying the view of the outdoors and being bathed in natural light? With modern-day heating solutions designed especially for conservatories, this remedy for the ‘winter blues’ is a lot easier to achieve than you may think.

When it comes to keeping your conservatory warm, there are several options available. Under-floor heating is a popular choice as it is invisible and disperses heat evenly throughout the room. There are two types to choose from: hot water and electric – although the latter is a better option for the conservatory as it needs no plumbing and does not run off the central heating, thereby eliminating the need to heat the rest of your home at the same time. Radiators are a further option, but for the reason just outlined above, electric ones are preferable to those plumbed into the central heating system. You will need to bear in mind, however, that any type of radiator, including oil-filled, portable models, will take up space. Alternatively, an air-conditioning unit will be able to heat a conservatory to a certain degree, but additional methods may also be required.

Remember, furnishings and decor can be used effectively to generate an extra feeling of warmth, and colourful winter plants, such as the Mimosa, can add that finishing touch. Most of our conservatory furniture comes with a variety of fabric options, and we have a wide selection of colours that are rich and warming in tone, and therefore perfect for the winter months. If you would like your cushions to be covered in a machine-washable fabric, the Hopsack or Slub Terracotta, Cocoa, Corral or Stone would be ideal; or if you’re happy with a dry-clean only material, the Bamboo Red will spice up your conservatory and brighten the mood considerably.

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Mon, 03 Dec 2012 16:19:39 +0000
<![CDATA[Conservatory Furniture Ideas]]> http://www.conservatoryfurniture.com/blog/conservatoryfurnitureideas/ The addition of a conservatory is a wise one in the UK given our reliably unreliable weather. It means we can take advantage of the outdoors whilst not braving the elements.  for example you might like curling up with a good book and listening to the soft, peaceful sound of rain on the windows, or taking full advantage of the winter sun when it is out.  Then there are the summer evenings when it is slightly cool outside and the cosiness of the conservatory, the sun setting and a glass of wine is the perfect antidote to a busy day.

A conservatory is an extension of your house and, quite rightly, should be carefully considered when you come to furnish and decorate it.a desirable contemporary modern conservatory is

The first thing to consider when planning for your conservatory is what type of room you intend it to be.  Will it be a sitting room, a dining room, a playroom?  Will your conservatory need to act double duty and combine spaces for relaxing and entertaining? Do you need storage space or want to display your beautiful objects?  The  possibilities are endless.

For example if you were short on space you could create a lovely and welcoming living area with the Belvoir suite. Using the smaller 2 seater sofa and single armchair allows for plenty of seating, whilst still economising space.  Using the TV stand with built in storage for DVD's and player, and a set of nesting tables which tuck up neatly affords you even more floor space whilst a storage chest that houses the children's toys and doubles as a coffee table maximises a smaller space without making it feel cluttered. This allows you to create an entertaining space, family room and playroom all in one space.

In addition, your conservatory could be zoned into carefully considered and divided spaces. Perhaps you are after an elegant dining and entertaining space and want to create two zones within your conservatory. The Tioman rattan range offers beautiful and comfortable high backed seating with cushion covers available in a huge array of upholstery fabrics to coordinate perfectly with your conservatory. Choose from the glass topped coffee table and side tables with built in storage shelf beneath to tuck away magazines and round out the look with our ottoman made with a high density foam seat and your room is almost complete. To compliment the Tioman seating area, you can coordinate with the elegant round dining table matching chairs. Don't forget the coordinating cushion pads for your dining chairs to tie the whole space together perfectly.

rattan furniture used in a contemporary sunroomAnother thing to consider when designing your conservatory is your personal style. Perhaps you like a clean minimalist look for your modern glass conservatory in which only the slickest of straight lines will do. The Spring modular range offers flexibility to move and adapt your separate pieces to allow for more than one seating arrangement, like creating an L-shape sofa or adding an ottoman to a 2 seater sofa creating spaces which work for you.  With its contemporary lines, low seating, all weather material, square aluminium feet and warm grey weave which is the latest in all the decor magazines the Spring range is the ultimate in modern chic living indoors and out.

The best way to get a feel on how to furnish your conservatory is to visit our huge showroom where you can see over 40 different designs in one location.

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Thu, 01 Nov 2012 14:51:38 +0000
<![CDATA[Forever In Fasion]]> http://www.conservatoryfurniture.com/blog/foreverinfashion/ Fashion: whether you are a dedicated follower or not, there is often no escaping the hype that can be built around this or that exciting new trend, and, whilst we might not care to admit it, many of us do seem to harbour some inbuilt desire to ‘keep up with the Joneses’.

Unfortunately, few fashions ever truly stand the test of time – what is all the rage one moment can swiftly be labelled as ‘dated’ the next. This can be frustrating when your latest pair of jeans have suddenly been classed as being distinctly ‘uncool’, but at least such items of clothing can be tossed to the back of the wardrobe until the fad (hopefully) re-emerges in a couple of seasons. The same cannot be said, however, when it is your decor that is brought under scrutiny. How on earth is one supposed to cope when furniture design is ever evolving? Chopping and changing your sofas, tables and chairs every time a fresh look falls into favour is hardly practical, and could have devastating consequences on your wallet!

Luckily for us, there is one type of furniture that refuses to fade into insignificance. If we look back over the years – in fact, over thousands of centuries – wicker items crop up over and over again. This may well surprise many people as the exciting designs that we see today lead us to equate wicker with modern living, but did you know that woven baskets, wig boxes and other accessories have actually been discovered by archaeologists in the tombs of Egyptian pharaohs? We now know wicker weaving to be one of the earliest techniques of furniture manufacture, and so treasured were these items that Tutankhamen was buried alongside his woven cane bed and wicker sandals!

The Romans wasted no time in latching onto the wicker craze either – excavations at Pompeii have unearthed numerous baskets, and nearly everyone knows the relationship between Baby Moses and his wicker basket. It wasn’t until the sixteenth century, however, that explorers stumbled across the rattan plant in Southeast Asia – a much sturdier material than the reeds and sea-grasses that had been used previously, and one perfect for weaving. It was at this point that cane furniture really took off across Europe, and a couple of centuries later, the Victorians would go wild for this fashion that catered towards their obsession with cleanliness; unlike the heavy and elaborate upholstered chairs that had so far been adorning their homes, they found that this ‘new wave’ of inexpensive furniture could be kept dust- and worm-free, was light and easy to manoeuvre, and came in a variety of designs.

To this day, cane furniture is often found to imitate the colonial style that was at the height of fashion during the British Empire. However, there are also many contemporary designs on the market, many of which blend a wicker weave with stainless steel fittings, thereby bringing this ancient technique right up to the minute once more. And if woven furniture can travel to us from 3000 BC, it is a pretty safe bet that it will keep you way ahead of the Joneses for many years to come.

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Fri, 19 Oct 2012 14:24:44 +0000
<![CDATA[Peace Of Mind]]> http://www.conservatoryfurniture.com/blog/peaceofmind/ If you love sitting in your conservatory, the chances are you are the type of person that likes to feel at one with nature. Conservatories provide the ideal spot from which to sit back and admire the natural world that lies just feet away; even if your home is in a city or town, birds and other forms of wildlife will frequent your garden or patio, and many species of plant may well be right outside your door.

But have you ever stopped to consider the effect that the production of your furniture could have had on the environment? Unless your chairs and tables have been manufactured using materials obtained from sustainable sources, the seating in which you reside could have damaged that very same natural world you yearn to be close to.

Our own customers, however, can rest assured that the furniture they have purchased is totally eco-friendly. Take our natural rattan products for example. Did you know that these have been lovingly handmade using materials taken from highly-sustainable crops in South East Asia? Or that utilising these crops in such a way actually helps to protect forests due to the reduction in the amount of trees being felled?  This is because rattan grows much faster than trees, is more harvestable, and is more profitable in terms of labour and cost.

As well as being environmentally friendly, rattan furniture is also strong, durable and lovely to look at. There are approximately 600 different species of this type of palm, which vary in size and diameter. The outer layer of rattan can be used to create cane peel furniture, whilst the pliable inner core can also be woven to form wicker furniture in a vast range of designs that feature intricate detail whilst maintaining a rustic feel. Despite its flexible nature, rattan is incredibly tough – so much so that it is often used as housing material in the countries to which is indigenous. This type of cane is also employed as a tool in martial arts and legal punishment, and has even played a part in creating artificial bone!

This means you can be confident that your conservatory furniture will continue to serve you for many years without splitting or chipping, despite the adverse atmospheric conditions typically associated with this part of your home. Of course, the more you look after it the longer it will last, but as this only entails a quick wipe down with a cloth, the amount of effort required on your part will be minimal.

Unfortunately, items made from natural rattan are not suitable for outdoor use, but if you are eager to use your conservatory furniture in the garden as well, worry not. We also have a selection of chairs, sofas and tables that have been sympathetically handwoven using  Ecoline – a synthetic fibre whose weather-resistant qualities and authentic looks make it the ideal material for outdoor wicker furniture. The intricate weave is replicated and the same quality of craftsmanship is applied throughout, bringing you a choice of versatile items in a range of designs to suit all manner of tastes.

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Thu, 27 Sep 2012 15:18:48 +0000
<![CDATA[Summer draws to a close]]> http://www.conservatoryfurniture.com/blog/summerdrawstoaclose/ As our summer draws to a close, the people of Britain are showing a grim determination worthy of a gold medal.  Despite monsoon-like conditions in some parts, an increasing number of carnivals, barbeques and garden parties are being held in towns and villages across the country – it seems no-one is prepared to let go of the remaining light evenings and possibility of sunshine just yet!

Yet even the eternal optimists amongst us cannot deny that the nights are drawing in at an alarming rate and there is a definite chill in the evening air. This can be a sad time for those that love to lie out or eat in the garden, and so here is some food for thought to brighten your autumn.

  • Invest in some conservatory furniture that is suitable for outdoor use;
  • Invest in a conservatory heater;
  • Sit outside until you can bear it no more;
  • Move the furniture and heater into the conservatory and resume your position;
  • Continue for as long as you wish.

Just a few cautionary words: should your skin turn a queer shade of blue whilst braving it outdoors, retire to the conservatory immediately. The tone may well detract from the natural hue of your beautiful wicker furniture and completely spoil the look.

Our conservatory furniture that is made from synthetic rattan is perfect for the plan detailed above. Not only will the Ecoline fibres and Sunbrella cushion fabrics withstand all weathers – giving you the option to lie out in a raincoat and wellingtons if you so desire – but the sturdy aluminium frames are surprisingly light and easy to manoeuvre, making it easy for you to execute part four of the plan should you need to.

If you are one of the more sensitive types who enjoys shelter from the sun and rain all year round, our natural rattan conservatory furniture could be the better option. Just like you, this type of furniture welcomes being close to the natural environment but does not like to get burnt or wet. It is, however, hardy enough to cope with humidity, heat, and cold temperatures without making any complaints.

We have to accept that there will come a point in the not-too-distant future when the outdoor celebrations will cease and everyone will be forced to take shelter. Yet this is the time when conservatories really come into their element – there are few more beautiful sights than the bronze and red glow of the changing landscape as autumn takes a firm hold. And as the final leaves drop and are replaced by falling snowflakes, no-one can deny the visual splendour of a frosty winter’s morning. So do not despair – make use of your conservatory and enjoy the beauty of nature!

If the chill factor still bothers you, adding a bit of warmth to your conservatory is easy: throw in some colourful fabrics, mix up your textures, and use neutral tones to enhance the feeling of light – who knows, you may even start wishing to hold off the summer next year!

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Wed, 05 Sep 2012 14:04:23 +0000