What I loved most about my first visit to Grand Designs Live at ExCel London (I know, I’ve been under a rock) is its dedication and innovative approach to sustainable design solutions. Prior to my visit, when I thought of “Grand Designs”, eco-friendly always popped into my head, but achievable never did. I think many people would agree that creating environmentally-friendly builds or extensions is a desirable goal but many, like me, wouldn’t know where to begin or where to find the right kind of information.
Grand Designs Live holds all of the solutions under one roof, exhibiting a wide range of up-and-coming design products to improve homeowners’ day-to-day living without harming the environment. From Anglian Home Improvements’ stand showcasing its energy-efficient windows, doors, orangeries and conservatories to firms demonstrating insulation blocks made from mushrooms, this exhibition is an Earth-hugging haven!
You don’t have to acquire a plot of land in remote countryside to be able to utilise these products. If you’re thinking of building an extension or even if you’re merely decorating or updating some existing fixtures and fittings, you too can get on board by utilising products that serve to replenish our earth’s resources and reduce your carbon footprint.
For bigger builds there was one product in particular that I found really impressive: the STROCK building block. It was made by combining waste materials from farm and brickworks such as straw and clay-rich earth to create a material that’s both strong and durable. Best of all, the blocks aren’t fired but dried in driers powered by locally-sourced timber. So not only do they reduce the demand for materials, the carbon emissions produced in manufacturing are also minimised. It’s a winning combination and a truly great product!
Because sustainability is at the heart of Grand Designs Live, even the room sets continued the theme, and there were lots of inspiring ideas to choose from. A particular highlight for me was the award-winning and utterly gorgeous kitchen set by Finch London.
The Finch team take a keen interest in the environment and are constantly looking at ways to keep their carbon footprint to a minimum. From the materials they use, production methods, delivery and waste, all are considered for their environmental impact.
This sensational set is no exception. Each fixture and fitting has been selected with careful consideration for the environment. The water-based Jesmonite work surface provides a lightweight alternative to cast concrete and doesn’t release volatile organic compounds unlike some of its concrete counterparts. The end of the island is home to a living herb wall, a sensory treat for the eyes and the taste buds. All the while, it purifies the air and absorbs CO₂.
My particular favourite element (aside from the wrap around blush colour which is just giving me life) is the swoon-worthy cork flooring, which is both stylish and sustainable. Cork is a 100% natural material that’s harvested every 10 years by extracting only the bark from the tree. This reduces deforestation and the tress are left to do what trees do best! Moreover, cork has both hypoallergenic and antimicrobial properties so it’s a perfect installation for family homes. This really is a winning product in my eyes and I’m committed to featuring cork in my next home improvement project.
If you’ve been under a rock too and haven’t yet had the chance to visit Grand Designs Live, then free up some space in your diary for the next installment at Birmingham NEC, October 10th – 14th, where Anglian Home Improvements are once again the headline sponsor. The show is well worth a visit regardless of the scale of your improvement projects…besides you might get a sneak peak of Mr. McCloud himself!
Chloe Spillett was the winner of Anglian’s first ever #StyledByMe competition in 2017. To read more about Chloe’s home interior expertise, visit her blog.