Styles – Victorian, Edwardian, Gothic or Modern?

All of our conservatories are carefully designed to accommodate clients individual tastes and fit appropriately onto the ideal elevation of your home. Styles can be combined and there are a huge number of different shapes we are happy to create for you. Dorset in particular has a great number of challenging older properties, low eaves bungalows, rural cottages and manor houses. Over an extended period of time we have constructed on to all of these types, and have gained considerable experience which our new customers may now take advantage of.

However, most designs fall into one of the following three categories:


We are pleased to provide either a three or five bay front. To assist you in preparing sketches and marking out in your garden, the first is derived from an octagon, and if you wish to have five bays, a duo decagon.

A five bay design means that you will generally not be able to have French doors at one of the angled faces, unless of course your conservatory was somewhat large.

Generally each of the bays will be the same length although it can be possible for the front bay to be extended. Roof pitches will usually vary between 20º and 45º although the most popular and structurally correct to withstand snow loadings together with wind forces is 26º.

Most customers choose a decorative ridge cresting with finial which appears historically to be for warding off evil spirits, you will need to make your own assessment if any are active in your area!


Apart from the base being square or rectangular, these designs are generally the same as with a Victorian model.

It is important that you consider very carefully why you are going to choose one or the other. It is often thought that with an Edwardian design you are not ‘losing the corners’. However, this concern is somewhat unfounded as you are not actually purchasing them in the first place. A Victorian conservatory is not an Edwardian ‘with the corners cut off’. Your desired overall floor area can be whatever you wish and may be achieved by an Edwardian, Victorian or whatever overall floor plan you ultimately choose.

If you plan your overall conservatory requirements very carefully, there will usually be a floor area which you would wish to achieve. A good idea is to use graft paper or a similar square pattern on which you can sketch various conservatory designs and sizes. It is then extremely helpful to cut out small pieces of card to represent furniture, people, and other units you may wish to introduce into your new conservatory.

Many people find it helpful if they relate to a room within their home but this can be somewhat misleading. Conservatories generally prove to be a very different room with a light, bright atmosphere and high glazed roof, providing a much more spacious atmosphere. You will also find that conservatories tend not to have many of the additional book cases, shelving and furniture which is generally introduced into rooms within the home. This all very much means that your Sun Room will usually be furnished in a much more practical way and therefore careful thought should be applied.

Generally, Edwardian designs are chosen if a customer feels that they are more aesthetically appropriate to their property, they fit better into the existing garden layout, or simply by personal choice. When looking back at past customers wishes, it is clear to see that for each Edwardian design chosen, generally there will be three or four Victorian. This seems to indicate that customers consider the angular front bays to be a more traditional and hence popular choice.

A simple geometric calculation or marking out the proposed base dimensions in your garden will show that a Victorian conservatory slightly wider or deeper than an equivalent Edwardian will give you exactly the same floor area.


Unfortunately some people use the term ‘lean-to’. This may have been relevant some years ago when conservatories were more akin to ‘lean-to greenhouses’. It is interesting to see from past customer lists that a high percentage choose modern designs for two overriding reasons. The first is that you get much better value for money per square foot of area covered, and secondly there is a strong feeling that a Victorian or Edwardian design on their home would not be architecturally appropriate.

Other Styles

David Fennings Conservatories have become known for their challenging projects, all very much designed to meet customers specific requirements, or so that they can be constructed onto unusually shaped elevations.

Styles can be combined for a larger more complex conservatory – please view our photo gallery to see the extensive range and flexibility which we are pleased to offer, although this by no means shows all the projects we have constructed.