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Meet Thomas Nigro of Sunspace Design

Today we’d like to introduce you to Thomas Nigro.

Thomas, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Sunspace Design began its story over 35 years ago.

After World War 2, American glass structure construction was dominated by rudimentary, prefabricated sunroom designs. These simple designs characterized the industry until the mid-late 1970s, when a resurgence in creative architecture led many firms to reintroduce classic and Victorian designs in residential construction.

At the time of our inception we were a small construction company focused on general residential construction and renovation projects. It was during this period that we began exploring the variety of ways we could enhance our structures through glass designs that would allow us to utilize a passive solar approach. We developed relationships with sunroom and glass space manufacturers, and by installing these spaces as well as other manufactured glass structures, we developed the body of experience necessary for our company to evolve.

As our expertise grew, so did our achievements. We eventually became a true design-build outfit specializing in glass structures like greenhouses, orangeries, sunrooms, as well as custom skylights and glass roofs. We would go on to become a firm known for merging quality craftsmanship, elegant designs, and the very best materials available on the market. We’ve been the leading glass structure firm in Boston, Massachusetts, and the greater New England region ever since.

We are truly proud of how far we’ve come, and are eager to continue focusing our efforts on designing and building beautiful conservatories, orangeries, and skylights in Massachusetts and New England. Our modern team has the talent and experience necessary to design and manufacture our own wood and glass products in virtually any style and configuration.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Most roads have a bump or two along the way, and the road we traveled is no different.

To begin with, New England isn’t the most obvious place for a custom glass structure company to build a reputation in. Cold, icy winters and hot, humid summers pose clear challenges for glass spaces in particular. Most homeowners would be thrilled to have a stunning glass conservatory on their property, but not if it means breaking the bank by driving up heating costs or maintenance expenses.

Competition from inferior and lower priced competitors added to this challenge. In order to make a name for ourselves, we not only had to provide quality products and services at competitive prices, but we had to demonstrate the superiority of our products to our clients who were unfamiliar with our offerings. Would these rooms leak? Would they be too cold or too hot? Would they last for multiple seasons? Would they look better than the prefabricated options already on the market? Every potential client had these questions, among others, and it was important for us to become proficient at answering these questions in effective ways that any homeowner could appreciate.

As glass technologies and energy efficiency standards improved, our company kept up with the changes. Our ability to merge the very best modern technologies with the most elegant designs has been crucial to our success. For example: the materials we use allow us to control solar gain and introduce high R-values (for heat retention). In turn, this has enabled us to design rooms that are thermally sound despite utilizing large glass spans or other structural elements less common in residential areas. Other technologies and construction methods were equally important, including but not limited to our use of conventional, highly insulated walls, top of the line windows, the most energy-efficient glass, and glazing technologies enabling intricate roof system designs which offer watertight seals and strong leak-proof warranties.

Our many years of experience in the field have enabled us to meet these challenges head-on. We’re proud to say that our custom glass spaces perform well in every weather condition. While it may be true that many conservatories, sunrooms, or greenhouses offered by our competitors can’t stand up to all four seasons, a Sunspace Design glass space absolutely can. The difference in value is clear, and that really matters to New Englanders.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Sunspace Design – what should we know?
Simply put: we build custom designed glass and wood structures. We are a small, specialty builder capable of working with high performing glass and beautiful mahogany to create custom skylights, conservatories, orangeries, greenhouses, and more. Most recently we’ve introduced a number of indoor pool buildings (also known as natatoriums) to the area.

We design our products, we build them in the shop, and we install them in the field. For local Bostonians, this means that we can serve as a one-stop shop for their home addition and custom design needs.

Somewhat uniquely among conservatory and sunroom construction companies, we also provide full service for each project from its inception to its conclusion. This includes guidance during the initial consultation, during the design process, during onsite construction and field installation, and toward local code requirement compliance. Thanks to our in-house design professionals, we can work with homeowners, architects, and builders to provide a complete, engineered set of CAD drawings for each project. Our level of involvement is also flexible: we can work with you and the general contractor to provide the glass components, or we can act as the general contractor as is required.

We are proud to have succeeded in this specialty market for over thirty-five years. Many competitors, and manufacturers have come and gone, but our small, niche company has thrived. I believe our longevity stems from the quality of service we offer paired with pricing that is very competitive for the high end market we operate in.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
Our adaptability and flexibility have been crucial to our success. We understand that every project is unique, and that every homeowner or professional firm has specific objectives in mind. By listening to our clients, we’ve been able to deliver ideal results on a consistent basis. We also bring the client into the planning process where possible. Every project follows a step-by-step process in which we explicitly account for the homeowner’s goals.

This flexibility carries over to the designs themselves. By using in-house design experts, we’re able to ensure that every project we complete blends seamlessly with the existing architecture. Prefabricated glass structures or cookie-cutter skylights often seem like afterthoughts, but our glass spaces and roof systems can be created in virtually any style.

We’re also a modern company in the ways that matter most. What this means is that we keep abreast of the latest technologies in order to magnify the value of the client’s dollar. Our products are built to last. This allows us to deliver products that legitimately become a part of our clients’ homes, and isn’t that what every homeowner is after when they commit to a serious renovation project? We’ve built our reputation by never accepting anything less than that standard.

We’ve also been lucky. Every business – large or small – needs a little good luck to make it in this very competitive world. While English conservatories have been around a long time, this industry was still in its inception when we entered it stateside. Since then, we have been blessed with a great team. From our designer to our shop and field crew, every member of Sunspace cares about the end result. We’re proud of what we build for our clients.

Luxury spaces and custom skylights are not for everyone, but we’ve been fortunate enough to see success. We believe that advances in our company and the broader industry have enabled us to remain competitive. We offer fair prices for extraordinary work. Perhaps most of all, we are lucky to have New England roots. We love the region and we love the people.

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1 Comment

  1. Joe

    July 13, 2017 at 1:07 pm

    Wow, this work looks amazing! I’ll have to contact Tom and his team. The wife and I have been considering getting a new skylight for our living room, and I wouldn’t mind a new greenhouse in the backyard! Thanks for the interview. 🙂

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