adorable DIY conservatory, a guest blog from maison decor



i hope all of you enjoyed seeing blayne’s lovely home yesterday.  today amy chalmers from maison decor is guest blogging about the precious little conservatory that she made out of windows.  i met amy through twitter and her blog a few months ago.  she is such a sweet soul.  i love hearing about her family’s trips to their countryside lake home in new hampshire.  her relatively new shabby-chic-esc blog is filled with tons of pictures from her amazing garden as well as musings about her vacations and family homes.  i was so impressed after i read her post about building her own conservatory.  it was so like a project that i would tackle…that is if i had a back yard.  I thought you all would enjoy seeing it too so i asked amy to be a guest blogger this week.  enjoy!

 xo, Cristi


imageHello Everyone!
I'm Amy from Maison Decor. I  was asked by Cristi to be a guest host on her beautiful design blog Charm Home.  I jumped at the chance! I've gotten to know about Cristi as she has shared bits of her life, like stories with her adorable hubby.  I'd like to share a little bit about myself. New to the blogging world, but designing into my third decade now, home decor and all things associated with that arena bring me great joy. I'll admit I have a slant towards Country French Design, and anything shabby, (has to be chic!), vintage, with old world glam captures my personal interest. Professionally my strengths are floor planning, color selection and window treatments. My days are shared with my husband of three years, our kids,( four boys/men) and two dogs. Believing that good deeds and positive energy do rub off, I am happy to join in and share what I have learned along the way with all of you.
Thanks again Cristi, you are as sweet as you are gorgeous!!
I hope you all enjoy my post about a project I had in my mind's eye and was able to bring to my garden.

a petite garden conservatory made out of windows

The story ends this way:

Here is the beginning....
My petite garden it came to be:

It started with this image.
Wow...a bunch of old windows put together to make a garden solarium!
That went right into my brain file..the one where I start hatching a dream plan.
I figured the next time I saw some old windows being thrown out on the side of the road, I was going to claim them. Sure enough, it happened!
There was a pile of nice small sized windows that could fit in my mini-cooper this week! I brought them home and asked my husband to unload.
He smiled a funny smile and gave me a kiss...he thinks I am kooky sometimes...quirky, kooky and lovable. ;-)

Thrilled with my find, but I needed to do some more research online and in magazines.

This little greenhouse is on a stand. That's a neat idea from Country Gardens Magazine Summer '08.

In my mind I secretly want one of these attached to the house...swoon.

I like the scrolled iron at the top here.  Looks like there is a wooden base with legs 
(maybe it's a table base) and then the windows are put together on top of that. Neat. This is cute, but maybe a tad too small?  
Maybe I could make a village....I saw an idea on a real model that I might use for my plan..a stone base.

Maybe I should build a mortared stone base and stick the greenhouse on top like above?

We have lots of rocks in our yard...wanna see?

Yes, this really is my back husband likes to collect granite blocks. 

I like to collect old windows.


But lets get  back to my little miniature conservatory project. I wasn't sure how to put them together, and as I often do, no plan in my mind, I grabbed my tote bag of tools. I have a lot of drapery hardware and I decided I would just start attaching them to each other with angle irons.

I started to build a basic box with the larger of the two sizes I had. I wasn't going to get fussy about this and started screwing without benefit of a level. Sorry Dad.

The last window had to be coaxed a bit before I put the angle iron and screw to it.

The windows leaning against the chair are going to be the roof!

Now the basic window box shape is built. 
You can see the old spring system in the sides.

It's pretty solid!

An iron hanging planter and bracket from TJMaxx

Wondering what I could use for a fancy iron scroll for the top like the model picture I loved.  It hit me: I had that new iron planter on a scrolled iron wall mount bracket!!! 
Yippee.It was a perfect fit.  As my husband says, "better lucky than good".

Now I have the roof finial mounted with screws. I am going to turn this into a hanging planter conservatory. I will leave open the ends for ventilation and mount a hook inside that I can suspend a hanging plant. Otherwise anything in here  in the summer is going to cook.

I attached a piece of aluminum gutter strapping by snaking it through the joint in the roof and anchored it to the top. This was going to be the planter hook. I tested it out.
I hung a pink geranium and blue lobelia planter from the hook and it happened.

I was just captivated!  I fell in love in my yard.....Couldn't stop staring....
I'm getting there! But it really need some more finish work.

I made a pattern of the peak of the house
and traced it onto a shingle and then cut it out with a jigsaw.

I found some lead flashing and I cut it to fit the peak, with my kitchen scissors.

I tacked it all in place with nails.

Then I secured the scrolled bracket to give it the frenchy flair!

I covered the exposed spring system with a primed 1x3. 
I notched out one side so it would fit better.

I used a solid white stain by Cabot
to paint anything that wasn't white. 
I didn't want a completely fresh white paint job. 
I wanted to leave the areas with the age and patina of time.

I added an old skeleton key.

An iron & glass vessel is going to serve as a petite lantern.
A zinc number 1 plate to say this is the first one I ever made'.

Hubby and son put a slab of granite in place for 
my petite garden house. 
It's handy having an excavator and operator around the house!  Set on it's new foundation, it is a proud little structure.  I'll plant foxgloves and bleeding hearts around it.

I know I will get a lot of pleasure looking at it in my garden.
I will gaze upon it from my office window.

Rainy days and sunny days it will bring a  smile,

snow on the roof with a little bird feeder inside...
candles inside for an evening garden party...

I see it twinkling in my garden all year round.

thanks for the great guest post amy! to visit maison decor’s blog click here.


  1. Again, I love it. The way you put it together was so smart. I'm glad you didn't paint it white white... and left some of the wood showing through. The skeleton key is such a great touch. How lucky are you that your husband can just put the granite down for you! Killer. Can't wait to see your next projects :)

  2. So creative, Amy-not too mention some pretty serious handy-woman skills! And your garden looks beautiful!

  3. Wow! What a simple idea (that I would have never considered on my own) that adds such character to an already beautiful garden. As is said, one person's trash is another person's treasure and this certainly puts that theory in practice. I love the use of the hanging bracket on the roof and I imagine the little conservatory would look great at night if lit by candlelight. Thanks for sharing and great choice Cristi!

  4. I LURVE this! It is soo fancy and sweet!

  5. Thanks for the information. It was nice to see all of the step by step pictures that show the job from start to finish. It was very easy to follow and it makes you feel like completing such a task is possible. I have seen too many DIY television programs where they simply speed through all of the little things and you are left wondering how did they get from step A to step G so fast.

  6. Cristi, you are very creative. That was a lot of hard work. It looks wonderful! We have a lot of Garden & Home Decor items you may be interested in. Visit us at Looking forward to see your next creation. Thanks for sharing your ideas. Brandy

  7. Wow.. such a huge post with lots of important and useful info. Thank you for posting pics too. keep posting such good stuff.. looking forward to visit your blog again..

  8. So beautiful. That called green conservatories. Do you know that wood and pvc is only affordable conservatories now?

  9. It's simple but nice. I like the concept that you put a conservatory in your garden. This will serves as the mini home of some butterflies and some insects.


I love to hear your comments. Thanks for leaving one. xo, Cristi

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