Ode to a 1980’s Conservatory

We have started work on the house renovations.  When I say we – I don’t mean me, I’m in a cafe writing press releases and crying because my garden is getting trashed.

When we bought the house it had a conservatory –  I had never lived in a house with a conservatory before and for the first few days I felt quite posh.

And then the sun came out and it really became the sort of feature that adds value to a house. That’s comedy value, not financial value.

If you have a conservatory that was built some time in the 1980’s then you may recognise a few of my issues. If not simply imagine a plastic box that heats up to the temperature of Mars every time the sun comes out.

But not to worry it had blinds! Oh God the blinds! Shitty horrible greying blinds every fucking where you looked.

The windows in this light and airy room showcase greying off-white vertical slatted blinds adding a contemporary industrial feel to the room.’ No one wrote.

Essentially half our front room was covered in the kind of blinds you might find in the bereavement room of a hospital. The blinds were useful because when the sun did shine we could close them to block it out completely thus making the whole room darker, which is surely the exact opposite of what a conservatory is supposed to do?

On the ceiling there were a vast number of tiny pleated paper thingummys fastened together with fishing wire covering every single odd shaped panel of the conservatory roof.  I fully expect both Livingetc and Elle Decoration to be running a feature on those babies sometime soon.

The roof itself was made of actual plastic and held together from the outside by gaffa tape, I haven’t even got the energy to make a joke about that.

If the conservatory was out of bounds due to risk of overheating during the summer it was also freezing cold in the winter, almost as though knocking the entire back wall of the house down and replacing it with a lump of uninsulated plastic shit wasn’t a good idea.

Too hot in the summer, too cold in the winter, that left the living room in our forever home habitable for approximately four months of the year,  as long as it wasn’t raining because WHEN IT RAINS ON A PLASTIC ROOF YOU CANNOT HEAR YOURSELF THINK. Not to worry we live in Yorkshire it hardly ever rains here. (This joke is for local people only)

The good news is that no one ever really wanted to go in the room because the previous owners had painted the walls a disgusting terracotta, orangey-brown, probably marketed as ‘Tuscan Fantasy’.

The terracotta was accentuated with a pop of yellow. Not a bright sunshine yellow or a tasteful pastel yellow but more a brown yellow, the sort of yellow your walls might be stained if the whole family had been chain smoking fags for several decades, a shade of yellow that would have you asking your GP for antibiotics if you saw it in the toilet bowl. Possibly marketed as ‘Severely abnormal levels of dehydration resulting in delirium or loss of consciousness in the Urine & Hydration Analysis Chart’. Colour match that Valspar.

Naturally these colours had been applied to textured wallpaper in the sort of attention to tasteless detail we have come to expect from our dream family home. No doubt the idea had been to recreate a Mediterranean indoors/outdoors feel in the heart of Yorkshire. And it actually did give the house a holiday feel in that I didn’t want to go home and we both felt like getting pissed in the daytime.

The good news is no one has conservatories these days they have Orangeries or Garden Rooms instead which are completely different. The even better news is that we now have this:


Looking better already

Looking better already

A whacking great hole where the conservatory used to be.

So farewell 80’s conservatory, thanks for all the memories, although you were both too hot and too cold we will miss you.

But not that much.


4 thoughts on “Ode to a 1980’s Conservatory

  1. I’m impressed you manage to make any progress with housey stuff at all. We bought our house a few months before you and we still don’t have a usable living room yet because it’s stuffed full of unpacked boxes of all the things we don’t know where to put them, or indeed why we have them.

  2. Lol we had a terracotta furnace/ freezer once. We no longer live in that house but I do remember the conservatory either leaking, freezing up or steaming up. It was an eyesore and I am glad to be rid of it.

  3. I really want a conservatory but when I mention it to my wife I think she pictures the kind of eyesore you had…I need a new way of promoting it – Sun room? Solarium? I think I’m making it sound even more naff!

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