Friday, June 18, 2010

A petite garden conservatory made out of old 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.


  1. Your little greenhouse turned out darling! I like that you set it in the flower bed instead of on the grass.

  2. Amy,

    Oh my gosh! This is soooo precious and such a clever, beautiful idea to use reclaimed windows for your conservatory/miniature garden house. I'd never have thought of this...but now...I am so on the lookout for old windows. Shoot...we had a couple and hubby trashed 'em! I cannot tell you how much I love this project and what all you did with it. I love the plant hanging in the middle and all the little details you placed on it. This is one of my favorite things in blog land. I wish we lived by each other!

    Have a great weekend,


  3. Holy cow! First, major props! I am so impressed. Second, I have been wanting one of those for so so long! I never thought of putting one together myself. It is beautiful!

  4. Quite impressive! What a very creative idea, Amy!

  5. This is gorgeous! How impressive! I don't know how you do it!!!

  6. WOW!! I LOVE IT! Beautiful addition to your garden. Hanging a plant inside is brillant and the hanging lantern and number plaque, perfect!
    Have a wonderful weekend!

  7. How lovely! It looks like it has always been there! But best of all is the vision of a bird feeder in winter...the little fellows will be so appreciative! Happy weekend!...hugs...Debbie

  8. are a star! I love it....i am off to show my hubby this fantastic post as we have sooo many old windows we took out as we replaced a few from my shop which was an old carriage house. I will report back to you. Thank you thank you for much inspiration!

  9. Very cool! I'd love a collection of grantie blocks as well. He can start storing some at my house if you run out of room! :)

  10. By the way, I tried to grab and paste your button, but something isn't right with it. I'm not sure if I'm the only one having that trouble. Let me know if you get it working. :)

  11. Wow, this is amazing. And you put it together all on your own, is blowing my mind. I wouldn't know where to start. But, I love old windows and would give anything to have some at my disposal! I love it! Great job!

  12. Mmm...something's still not right. It looks like you need to enter your image web address?

  13. Oh, wow! I just love your garden house! You did a fantastic job! Even better was that you kept those windows out of a landfill! I bet you will be making more soon :) Thanks so much for stopping by, and your great suggestion about my "glass block dilemma"!

  14. I love your garden house too! Your blog is lovely and I am a follower now so I can pop back often.
    Thank you for your kind words on my blog.


  15. I absolutely love your conservatory!! I am going to bookmark this project for our garden. Thanks for the inspiration.


  16. This is awesome! I love it and I love that you showed us how you made it. So glad I stopped over here by accident to your blog.

    I'm going to start following so I can come back for more.

    Lee Ann

  17. Very beautiul. When I get a house with a backyard, i must have one of these too.
    I saw the same on in Cindy's blog - wonderful.

  18. Beautiful job! It is so very charming!


  19. I love that project! It turned out just wonderful :)

  20. Wow Amy, congratulations on your creation! I can imagine myself starting this project with all my good intentions and never ever finishing it! Chapeau my dear!

    And a happy sunny weekend to you!

  21. Happy Friday! I am stopping by via the linky party.

    Your conservatory looks utterly charming!

  22. Hi Amy, I stumbled upon your blog from This Photographer's Life ... I wanted your DR to be one of the finalists! I love that room, but I also love this little project of yours! It has inspired me to try to make one. I cracked up at your report card on your sidebar! As a woman who never seemed to be able to pull more than a C in math, but A's in art ... I can relate!! I sew all time now! Mostly by eyeing things up rather than measuring to the last 1/8th of an inch! Love your blog and your style!

  23. Truly fabulous!!!! You have such a wonderful blog!!!

  24. Found you from Funky Junk Interiors... this is
    absolutely adorable! Great job!!

  25. I love are very talented to be able to do that yourself...wish you were my neighbor...I would hire you!!

  26. I also found you from Funky Junk. I love this and have a pile of windows. Hubby would be very happy for me to do something with them. I see another project in my future.

  27. Lovely interiors! And it was great that you did it yourself. I am inspired to have my own little project too! mine would be building my own wind chimes. This project is nothing compared to your stunning work though.

    Love your post!

  28. Amy I loved this story! You and I are more alike than you can imagine. I made a mini greenhouse out of old windows that I picked up on the curb once, about ten years ago! I too love to garden but didn't have any time to tend to them all this year. what a gorgeous yard you have! I have always dreamed of having a conservatory too, but would even be happy with an ordinary greenhouse!

    Happy gardening!


  29. Oooh that is so beautiful!!! I popped over from joining Tracie's party at Fishtail Cottage too... then today, I posted a little mini atrium I have, and said I wanted a life sized one, and voila!... there is yours!... it turned out soo pretty, I would love to make one... thanks for sharing, and sending happy thoughts of Spring to you... xoxo Julie Marie

  30. Found your blog via Fishtail Cottage. Love the little house!! Great job!

  31. You are a genius! I need, I need, I need. This is the best thing I've seen in a while (and I see so very many wonderful things). Thank you so so much for showing me how to do this. And you did it all by yourself!!!! cool.

  32. Didn't know you were part engineer, part interior designer. BRILLIANT! Gardening is one of my many passions and having a mini conservatory would be like a "little" dream come true. What an unexpected structural component for the garden.

  33. Hey Amy, great job and it looks fantastic!! I linked this to my recycled glass greenhouses post too, it's a great tutorial!

  34. Hi Amy,
    This is one of my favorite posts! I just love the project AND I love your fun writing style to go along with it! Very, very cute! I want to make one of these this summer! I am a big gardener and this is just the touch I'm looking for! -Nan

  35. LOVE THIS!! It is next on my project list with the windows stacked out back!

  36. I love it! You did an awesome job. Now I have to find some windows.


  37. Amy, your little conservatory is amazing! I love the peaked roof and the fancy, scrolled metal bracket. You are so creative!


  38. I am having some envy issues...and you have caused them. I am going to put this on my to do list for the summer and see if I can't build my garden a petite conservatory. Love It!

  39. I have been wanting one of these for what seems like forever! I knew it could be done with windows but loved your step by step instructions. My handy dandy Mr. Dumpling can do this. Love it!

  40. Oh my goodness! This is the coolest design...I am now going to hunt down old wood windows on my travels and make one of these! GREAT idea--so clever!

  41. Love it. it's the same style i bought my windows for, but did not get mine done yet. great job!!

    barbara jean

  42. Ok so I was looking at Kirsty Alley's house and "hold on, what is Amy doing in that picture on her sidebar????"
    Oh my gosh AMYYYYYY! This is amazing and why did I not see this earlier this summer?!?!
    THIS is my absolute favorite kind of project! You and I go about these things in exactly the same manner. No plan is sometimes the best plan! For me, no exact plan, keeps it more relaxing and fun. I like the idea of being creative and using what you have as the only challenge. It makes it yours and oh so special!
    Ok, now I have to say something about Mr. Granite...a man after my own know what they say about people who collect "rocks?" Very creative old souls with a deep connection to God's green earth! Lucky girl you are!
    Your glass house turned out beautifully!
    I'm on it and will post back to you if I build one ;)
    xo Lisa

  43. I absolutely love this! And just 3 days after reading it, I came across my trash score of old wooden frame windows also still with the springs in them! I am so excited!!
    Thanks for sharing!

  44. Thanks for the instructions on how to build this! I've been wanting to make one, but didn't know how. I'm pinning this!

  45. I just returned from Ohio Amish Country where I saw several of these. I couldn't wait to get back to Kentucky with windows from my childhood home in West Virginia. My brother and I had conjured up how I could do it and I was so happy to see confirmation on your blog. It'll be fun checking the barn and garage for the little artsy stuff!! FUN


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