My friend, Alan Stein, owner of Tanglewood Conservatories, surprised me with a post about the correlation of the spirit of my families travels during the late 1930’s and early 1940’s and the boom in Architectural design that had started a few decades earlier with the marriage of steel and glass.
You have got to visit his blog,http://www.tanglewoodconservatories.com/blog/ and discover the unique, stylish and extremely useful conservatories he creates for his clients. These rooms bring the outside world into the home and become the hub, the favorite room in the house. The pictures alone are worth the visit, and the history is the icing on the cake !
During the latter half of the nineteenth century, architects and builders conceived a new building type- one based on a combination of materials never before available- steel and glass. The great glass conservatories of that time were perhaps its purest expression. It was a time of great optimism throughout Europe and the New World, an age of discovery. Exploration and invention were everywhere.
My friend Judith (Guion) Hardy’s blog on life lessons from the “greatest generation” offers a unique and detailed glimpse into the spirit of the times. “Greatest Generation” Life Lessons which Judith tags “…the story of an ordinary family, trying to live an ordinary life during an extraordinary time frame, and the lessons they learn through experience”. This is an understatement of the relevance of this material.
She found boxes of old letters that her grandfather sent to her father and uncle while they traveled abroad in the 1920’s and 30’s. The spirit of adventure that gripped the times pulses though the letters. Though the time period is slightly after the conservatory building boom in Europe, in America, the early twentieth century saw the design and construction of large public botanical gardens in cites from New York to San Francisco.
Cedric Duryee Guion
These fascinating letters, which Judith publishes on her blog, offer intimate snapshots into the everyday-world that was the context in which the development of the marvelous conservatories of the times occurred. There is a nonchalant sense of adventure, discovery and pervasive opportunity all about. For example in a recent post, her grandfather Ced first talks about his challenges getting his car registered then a few sentences later mentions moving to Alaska and then shortly thereafter, life for his two sons living and working in Venezuela.
She helps us imagine the sense of a wide open new world that must have prevailed. It was in this spirit that the great glass palaces were conceived and built.
Judith has aptly organized the material so that it tells a great story as well. Enjoy!
Alan’s individual conservatories are the perfect balance between art and function, between the outside and the inside, between artistic expression and usable living space. Truly remarkable rooms. Enjoy.