Mindful Living

Serenity. At Home In My Conservatory

conservatory vidya sury

I was chatting with my friend last Friday and she gave me the exciting news that the next time I visited her, we would have a special place to sit and relax in. Oh yes, I’ve reserved my favorite bean bag! They are giving their place a makeover and adding a conservatory, a sort of sun room. Her husband is big on DIY and she has a green thumb – practically anything she touches grows. And she has a knack for making living spaces really cozy.

As she talked about going shopping for the glass for the conservatory, her plans for the array of flowers and the type of furniture she wanted, the conversation naturally turned to those days, decades ago, when we lived in the same city as neighbors.

Life was hectic and we never knew when we’d have to leave at short notice on a work trip. I always had an overnight bag packed and ready to grab and go. Yet, we did manage to relax. Not by getting away somewhere – but right at home.

My Mom and I lived in an apartment that had a largish space attached to it and this became our sanctuary. At first, we just used the space to dry our clothes as it was bathed in sunlight. We eventually added plants, thanks to my friend. As my Mom and I both went out to work, we needed a getaway – but those days we couldn’t afford the time or the money to take off to an exotic place and home was indeed, sweet home.

conservatory vidya sury

Then later, there was this series of books I read – I forget the name of the author now – but it had a female lead who shares a house with her boyfriend and to maintain their privacy, they convert the space between their houses into a conservatory. The idea fascinated me. And I thought, why not convert our own underutilized large space into a “conservatory”?. It would be a happy place where we could unwind in, and a fabulous retreat even in the middle of the week.

When we had guests, it was an additional sitting room which was very convenient as it gave us the extra space we needed. When kids came over – which was often – it transformed into a wonderful children’s play room. What a pleasant place it was!

Gradually, we added some conservatory furniture to sit back and relax in to sit back and relax and enjoy our little garden, pretending we were in a huge lawn. The best part of it was – we had this haven to retreat to even in rainy or cold weather without having to step outside!

I fondly remember the books we read, the music and the conversations we enjoyed in our conservatory. Those summer weekends when we pretended to be posh and had “high tea”, cherishing the fruits of our labor. This lovely room always lifted our spirits and became our favorite place where we could de-stress. My friend and I spent some fun times lazing here. My Mom had her own spot where loved to meditate early in the morning and in the evening.

Today, I realize that thanks to our conservatory, we were stress-free in spite of our busy lives.

Almost everyone I meet and talk to these days is looking for a getaway where they can escape the chaos and stress of everyday life. Not surprising, what with being tied to technology – most people are on call around the clock and barely get a few minutes of peace even at home. Especially if they have growing children, who can’t wait for them to get home. I was so lucky I had an oasis right at home back then.

In fact, as I daydream of glorious summer days with my friend, I am planning to convert our large balcony, the one the pigeons share with us, into a conservatory of sorts. Yesterday I had it thoroughly cleaned out. Just the thought of transforming it lifts my spirits. I have one little plant there already. It will be our own private take a break place, where we can relax together. Can’t wait to get going on it! I already have a couple of owl cutouts – someone said the pigeons are afraid of owls. Who knew?

Home – no airline tickets to vacation here!

Do you have a conservatory at home? Say yes and make me jealous.

If you said no, where do you go and relax?

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38 Comments

  • Reply
    Allison
    June 25, 2014 at 12:24 am

    With conservatories you should plan to have large doors or (in your case) windows that slides open. Then you can have the best of both worlds. Actually, in some countries almost all the balconies turned into conservatories with large windows. In our house we have a large ground floor extension that has 6 large velux windows. They make it look like a conservatory and our doors can slide open like the way you see in some restaurants. If you miss your home after going away for only few days that means you are really comfortable in there. I have been away for a while now and I am dying to go back. Where I am now is raining almost everyday that stresses me out.

  • Reply
    Kaarina Dillabough
    June 25, 2014 at 12:44 am

    Yes…and you’ve been in it:) Cheers! Kaarina
    Kaarina Dillabough recently posted…What’s your Why for Being Online?My Profile

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      June 25, 2014 at 9:12 am

      🙂 And it was the memory of that beautiful space in your house that I had in mind when I aspired for one. 😀 I have the photos. Hugs, Kaarina!
      Vidya Sury recently posted…6 Easy Natural Ways to DetoxMy Profile

  • Reply
    Shailaja V
    June 25, 2014 at 7:53 am

    How lovely, Vidya! I don’t have a space like that in my present home, but this is a beautiful concept I can apply in my new home, when it is ready. A place to relax and unwind, naturally. Delightful!
    Shailaja V recently posted…Taming the Tantrum- What you need to knowMy Profile

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      June 25, 2014 at 9:21 am

      You know, Shailaja, you can just cordon off a small part and make it a sanctuary. For days, I did that in my living room 😀 It is the feeling, more than anything else that puts you in that happy place!

      Thank you!
      Vidya Sury recently posted…10 Rules Happy People Make. And FollowMy Profile

  • Reply
    Beloo Mehra
    June 25, 2014 at 12:00 pm

    What a lovely post, Vidya! I am sure your new sanctuary, take-a-break place at home will come out grand and beautiful 🙂 Do share some pictures when the space is ready! We use our veranda, which opens to the garden, as our getaway place, in fact we spend a lot of time there when the weather is friendlier. Even now, our morning tea, breakfast, and sometimes even dinner is done there. We have put some comfortable furniture there and some green plants and some windchimes…it feels so cosy, so me 🙂 Thanks dear for a delightful reading!
    Beloo Mehra recently posted…An Extraordinary MomentMy Profile

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      June 26, 2014 at 5:23 pm

      Your verandah sounds heavenly, Beloo! 🙂 In all our old houses we had such a place – everything would get done there! 🙂 Thank you for commenting. The pictures will take some time…first I have to see how to keep the pigeons away!
      Vidya Sury recently posted…Leather Puppetry An Ancient Indian Art FormMy Profile

  • Reply
    Kajal
    June 25, 2014 at 2:50 pm

    As much as I would want to have it, I don’t! Where do i go to unwind? no where I stay and probably put on some music or read something. 🙂
    Kajal recently posted…Letter Unsent: To My Unborn ChildMy Profile

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      June 25, 2014 at 6:08 pm

      You know Kajal, at one time, when we lived in a one-room “apartment”, my place to relax was in a book with my headphones on. 😀 Heaven is within each one of us 😛 And am sure you find it in your daughter’s hugs!

      • Reply
        Kajal
        June 25, 2014 at 11:11 pm

        I sure do, Vidya…that’s like my personal bliss 🙂
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  • Reply
    Lori Gosselin
    June 25, 2014 at 4:10 pm

    Hi Vidz! We have to do some renovation work on a roof on our house and plan to make a sort of a sun room above it. I like the word Conservatory. I think it would be fun to call it that 🙂 I do see it as a place where I can meditate “even in rainy or cold weather without having to step outside!” Thanks for the cool anticipation I now have for it. Not sure if it will be started this year or next but for now I can design it in my mind.

    Right now I go outside by the brook to relax. There is a bench there and sitting there I can feel all the energy that comes from the spring, right from the earth, flowing down the brook towards me. But in winter… Better get going on that roof! 🙂
    Lori
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    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      June 25, 2014 at 6:05 pm

      I used to think of it as the sun room until I was introduced to the word “conservatory” Lori. Like you, it seems so – full! For me, certainly, it has helped me conserve memories and a lot of happy times. My tiny conservatory looks glorious in my head – funny how anticipation is always so much more enjoyable than the actual event! (That sounds like one of your wonderful topics – Is anticipation better than…). Luckily, where I live – in South India – the sun is always shining. Even when it rains, we enjoy watching it come down in sheets with the door open. I secretly feel happy that the balcony gets a free pressure wash from Ma Nature.

      We also go down to the lake nearby which has a walking rink around it. Your brook sounds heavenly. I can imagine! 🙂 Our main go-to right now is our roof – where I see the kites gliding across the sky, enjoying the sunset with me every evening.

      So happy to see you here, Lori! Love!

  • Reply
    Pratibha (@Myepica)
    June 25, 2014 at 4:18 pm

    Loved the idea! I can make do with the small pots of vegegies and flowers I have at home. In the evening I sit next to them enjoying the lovely breeze!
    Pratibha ( recently posted…7 vegetables you can grow in pots {Green Living}My Profile

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      June 25, 2014 at 6:06 pm

      You know I am jealous, right? 😀 let me see what I can do to get my tiny garden going! The one plant I put out, sprouted a fresh green leaf and the pigeons bit it off!

  • Reply
    Fab
    June 25, 2014 at 5:50 pm

    We’re house hunting right now and this seems like a great idea!! Feel so cozy just reading about it!
    Fab recently posted…Morning MusingsMy Profile

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      June 25, 2014 at 6:07 pm

      Fabi, I saw a couple of houses where they’ve made a small sun-room with their old glass windows. Looks lovely. 🙂 I am sure you’ll find the perfect place!

  • Reply
    Sreeja Praveen
    June 25, 2014 at 6:03 pm

    This very idea seems so beautiful to me. I would love to have one such place at home. I guess even in our homes, we all have our favourite spots – some corners, or chairs, which automatically tranquilise us when we enter them. Like , sitting in my favourite chair always calms me down.
    Back at my parents’ home, my conservatory was a spot on the terrace, where I would sit with a book in hand. We had had it roofed, so I’d sit under the shade and enjoy the rains 🙂
    Aaah….memories 🙂

    Share a pic of the spot when it is ready 🙂
    Sreeja Praveen recently posted…The Judgement…My Profile

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      June 26, 2014 at 5:25 pm

      Oh yes, I have my own favorite spots at home, Sreeja! Your comment made me remember our old house and the terrace. I’ve spent so many raining afternoons buried in a book there! 🙂
      Vidya Sury recently posted…A bumpy rideMy Profile

  • Reply
    Betsy/Zen Mama
    June 25, 2014 at 6:42 pm

    Yes, Vidya! I have a little sunroom upstairs and downstairs. John uses one for his office and we often have our morning coffee there, too. Downstairs is shaping up to be mine. Even a year after moving I’m still unpacking boxes and this little room is finally coming together to be a place where I can write and bring in my flowers in the winter. They don’t have have glass roofs but big windows so that there is lots of afternoon light. One has a view of the garden and upstairs there’s a view of a little pond right by our house. Really wonderful!! Thanks for reminding me to appreciate what I have! I loved hearing about yours too by the way!
    xoxo
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  • Reply
    Ed
    June 25, 2014 at 6:54 pm

    Sadly I have no such space. 🙁 Perhaps some day.

    In the meantime, I’ll have to live vicariously through others.
    Ed recently posted…Do What MattersMy Profile

  • Reply
    Kathy Combs
    June 25, 2014 at 8:47 pm

    I have a 19 ft travel trailer camper that is parked by my house. When I need to un-stress myself, I go out there. Last night I was all stressed out and the kids and I went out to our camper and play games and spent the night. Had the most fun and felt so much better for it. We plug it in so we have air conditioning and electricity for lights. It is even possible to hook up the hose and have water. Most of the time, we don’t do that unless we are at a campground. Still, it is my sanctuary. The conservatory you describe sounds heavenly! ♥
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  • Reply
    Pixie
    June 25, 2014 at 10:51 pm

    Home is where the heart is. 🙂
    I relax at home too.. and sometimes, I sit on a park bench and watch the children play..
    🙂
    That’s relaxing as well.

    those cushions are lovely 🙂
    Pixie recently posted…Choices – Part 2My Profile

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      June 26, 2014 at 5:36 pm

      Hema – home is indeed where the heart is! Watching children play is therapeutic for me! 🙂
      Vidya Sury recently posted…A bumpy rideMy Profile

  • Reply
    Sebastian Aiden Daniels
    June 26, 2014 at 1:08 am

    I do not have a conservatory. I do live on a hill that overlooks the pacific ocean and every night is a beautiful sunset that has an assortment of colors. My special place is just going outside and watching the sunset. Goodluck with the transforming. : D
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    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      June 26, 2014 at 5:40 pm

      Wow, Sebastian – that’s wonderful! When my son was born we lived close to the ocean and could see the waves from our living room and bedroom windows. It is glorious to see nature all the time!
      Vidya Sury recently posted…A bumpy rideMy Profile

      • Reply
        Sebastian Aiden Daniels
        June 27, 2014 at 11:22 pm

        That is so true. Well hopefully the move wasn’t too much of a bummer. I went camping a few weeks ago with about 10 friends and it was glorious to be in nature : D. Have a good weekend Vidya.
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  • Reply
    Rajlakshmi
    June 26, 2014 at 9:15 am

    I think it’s a brilliant idea. While growing up we had a veranda decorated by plants that my mom had planted and a nice carpet where we would sit and chat. But I guess it’s quite difficult to make one in flats… with less space and inflating rate! Although I have a nice terrace view… maybe I could think of doing something there.
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  • Reply
    simple girl
    June 26, 2014 at 10:07 am

    I dont have a special place.. but the terrace, bed in the room – I can kind of unwind if I want to.. Great idea though for the conservatory …
    simple girl recently posted…A to Z reflections post….My Profile

  • Reply
    Susan Scott
    June 26, 2014 at 5:02 pm

    How lovely to think about getting stuck into creating a special place! No wonder your spirits are lifted Vidya!
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    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      June 26, 2014 at 5:18 pm

      Yes, Susan! The anticipation is so much fun! 🙂 Not sure how it will all turn out. It depends on how we tackle the pigeons! Thank you for dropping by!

  • Reply
    Nandana
    June 26, 2014 at 8:48 pm

    HI Vidya! Blog-hopping after a long long time. So lovely to see your happy place. It looks fab, I can only imagine how wonderful it must have been to spend your time there. I’m big on DIY stuff too, have been thinking of one such thing for the garden.
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  • Reply
    Birgit
    June 26, 2014 at 10:04 pm

    I think every home should have a relaxation area. I don’t have a conservatory but I have my library. Yup-library. Wall to wall books. I have my film books, animal books, Travel, mystical, historical, archeology, art & archetecture, health and yup-novels:) I have my TV room where I enjoy watching a great movie and disappear into its magic. I have my veranda where my hubby and I can sit and chat and watch the birds and talk and enjoy the outside without the rain on us and I have my craft room where I can create. I guess each room holds something for me except the kitchen since that involves cooking which i can do quite well but takes away from my other rooms:) In this day and age people do not find enough ways to meditate and just be. People should enjoy the smell of rain or a good old book. I am glad you are converting your balcony-Enjoy each moment
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    • Reply
      Hema
      June 26, 2014 at 10:30 pm

      Hi Vidya! I am so glad I stumbled upon your blog. I loved reading about your sanctuary. IWhat a lovely place it must have been! I don’t have a conservatory- would love one- but we have a deck and a green, shady backyard. Having my morning coffee there, with the sun’s rays gently falling and listening to the fluting bird calls makes my day begin so benignly – is that a word? Well, it’s a feeling at any rate:)

  • Reply
    Richa Singh
    June 26, 2014 at 10:53 pm

    I have been regularly picking up stuff online to create one of my own. I had something similar back in Lucknow 🙂 Your post gave me a lot of ideas 🙂 Will update you on mine too 😀
    Richa Singh recently posted…The Wedding duesMy Profile

  • Reply
    richmiraclefiles
    June 27, 2014 at 7:03 pm

    Hi Vidya,
    That post sure is nostalgic.
    It reminds me of my own childhood.In the summer vacations back then we would often hang out in our garden.
    We had constructed a “hut” out of straw ,branches,brambles,and other DIY nick knacks.All it offered us was a tiny four wall cut off retreat from the world.But for us it was a palace.No less.And we would spend the whole summer there despite the wagging fingers from elders.
    Then time flew with swift wings.And today that “hut” palace is no more there but the memory still lingers.
    Thanks for reminding
    Mona
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  • Reply
    Jayanta Tewari
    June 27, 2014 at 7:04 pm

    Hi Vidya,We don’t have any such place but fortunate to have large verandas with plants and large pouring of sunshine. I can visualize the place through your words though. That was a lovely recounting of your days gone by.A lovely read.
    Jayanta Tewari recently posted…Have you listened to the wind lately?My Profile

  • Reply
    My Inner Chick
    June 29, 2014 at 2:33 am

    Hi, dear,

    Yes, we all need a sanctuary.

    A place scattered with our favorite photos, books, significant memories.

    I’m glad you found yours.

    Love you more than my photo of Cher in my sanctuary.

    xxxx
    My Inner Chick recently posted…1493 Days Since Your ExecutionMy Profile

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