When I was offered the chance to go and cover Grand Designs Live 2015, I seriously couldn’t have been happier (fist bumps with a bemused 3 and 4 year old *might* have happened). I’ve been a huge fan of the Channel 4 programme for years, and since Adam is too, it’s one of the few telly progs that we don’t argue over giving time to (unlike random lower league Italian football, or Real Housewives of Cheshire, ahem). From all I’d read up on the actual live show, what makes it different from similar events is that as well as all the credit card battering potential of the awesome stands to browse (something for everyone in food/interiors/garden/building etc), you get much, much more on the inspiration side: From interesting and informative drop-in talks, to visual treats of actual room ideas from interior designers – it’s all here for the interior-obsessed among us to feast on.
When it comes to what I’m interested in personally when it comes to these shows, the things that catch my eye tend to be made up of the following: great things for kids/family (there’s my ‘Mum’ hat on), unusual or ‘pretty’ things that will give my home a little extra ‘something’, bold colours and slick design. In this respect I’m a bit of a magpie!
So…after spending a fabulous morning and lunchtime at Grand Designs Live 2015 (The River Cottage Canteen menu was Uh-Mazing by the way!), here are some of my picks from the show…
After skipping past a sea of glazing and loft conversion stands, my head nearly did a 360 Linda Blair swivel when I clocked something I had never come across before- magnetic plaster!!! I had a chat with the guys on the‘Thistle Magnetic Plaster’ stand and a play about with their magnet displays, and was seriously impressed at the strength that a wall skimmed with this stuff could hold. As well as the usual bits of paper, play magnets and posters, It was good to know that picture frames and heavier items are also a ‘goer’. What also makes it great is that it takes away the need for drilling and making a mess with holes all over the place. Perfect for when children’s tastes change and grow over the years, and thus their decor tends to change too. I was totally sold, and I’m considering buying some for our new loft room that we’re currently in the process of having done.
Now, these might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but these beautifully ornate banisters by ZigZag are crafted and molded in their Oxfordshire Studios from real tree branches. I think if you were building a place from scratch, they would make an eye-catching addition to any home, and a great focal point.
A visit to Grand Designs wouldn’t be complete without saying hello to the gang on Springfree Trampolines! Our family has been selected as blog ambassadors for the summer which we couldn’t be happier about, and the stand had a queue of excited children waiting to have a go 🙂
If you want some fun-yet-comfy seating for your garden (or house) this summer, these big, bright and bold beanbags by BIGBOY would make a great addition. Waterproof, yet machine washable (got my Mum head on yet again), they’re ideal for hanging out. I’m eyeing up the green Banksy-inspired panda print one…
Now, if like me you have a fugly radiator lurking in your house, look no further than coolradiatorscovered.com This company will hide it using gorgeous made-to-measure covers (in timber, paint/laminate finish of your choice). I showed Adam these and we reckon it might be a good option for the ancient monstrosity in our hallway. The yellow here on blue looks incredible!
As someone who loves a bit of upcycling, the stand at Fox and Bear chalk paint caught my eye, predominately because of this awesome ‘Petrolhead’ blue painted dresser (I think blue could well be my next decorating ‘phase’!). What I love about chalk paint is it’s so easy to use- no tedious sanding down again and again, basically just slap it on (nicely!) and Bob’s your uncle. They have an ever-expanding range of colours, and can I just say that the ladies on this stand were the friendliest I encountered during the whole show? I left with a smile on my face, and itching to get cracking on our bedroom chest of drawers!
As I mentioned previously, what’s great about Grand Designs Live, is that it really is just one big inspiration-fest. I took several pictures, not just for this post, but for my own ideas, of the work of a few of the interior designers.
This bold and quirky kitchen, by Amanda Neilson, uses colour choices you wouldn’t usually associate with such a room, and made me feel a teeny bit boring with my white one! I think the yellow SMEG fridge on the blue background really makes the space (in my humble opinion), and shows that kitchen worktops don’t have to stick to run-of-the-mill colours. What do you reckon?
I also loved this living room (below, designed by Tracey Andrews) which shows colour blocking at it’s most daring. What most caught my eye was the fabulously flamboyant toucan wallpaper by young textile designer and illustrator, Charlotte Jade. I chatted to her for a bit, and I’m slightly green with envy as she really does have a dream job (and is clearly very talented with it!).
So those are the snippets of my day.
All in all a great day out, and I think if you don’t come away feel motivated and inspired to make the most of the space you live in, something has gone really wrong! My advice is, take your camera to snap away at anything that takes your fancy, and then simply enjoy and soak up the scene with a whole host of like-minded people.
Here’s looking forward to next year!
Thank you so much to the guys at Grand Designs for inviting me along! All words and opinions my own.