Why Grand Designs Live Was a Show You Shouldn’t Have Missed


Grand Designs Live flung open its doors on Saturday 3rd May, unleashing the home enthusiasts to go on the prowl around the London ExCel. I did exactly that on Tuesday, hunting down designs and products I think you and the people who couldn’t visit the show will love.

My love affair with Kitchens

My first stop was the kitchen section as I am a fan of cooking in a beautiful space that is also big enough to entertain guests in, too. This show was not short of inspiration for this! My favourite kitchen was by Andrew Williams, a timber beast with shiny black appliances, a small island in the middle and a dining area on the edge.

Andrew Williams Kitchen

I found the use of animal replica skulls intriguing as they added to the cabin feel of the room.

Open-plan living

The link between the living room and kitchen is growing stronger as open-plan living takes over. This was evident in a lot of the kitchen designs, particularly those with televisions built into the black splash-backs of the oven hob. Is this a good idea or a distraction from the cooking, though? I actually think it is a good idea for people learning to cook as they can watch the cooking technique and copy it without having to leave the room or read through the recipe again.

Read why modern living is the death of the dining room.

Splashback with Television inside

It is clear that open-plan living is the way homes are going. Even the Ikea Kitchen/living area in the Grand Interior Room Sets displayed how you can create a chic room on a budget. It wasn’t as swanky as the Andrew Williams kitchen, however, it did have a quirky, 1960s charm about it.

Want to create an IKEA room on the lowest budget possible? Check out our complete IKEA bedroom under £330

Ikea Kitchen Living area

Interior Expert, Room Sets and the Orangery

A lot of people who attend Grand Designs Live are looking out for inspiration for an upcoming home project, be that extending the home or just sprucing it up. The Grand Interiors section is filled to the brim with inspirational products and designs, but the highlight for me was the bedroom and open plan kitchen (pictured above) Room Sets.

After listening to interior designer Jo Hamilton discuss how to decorate a room and find the perfect balance between colours, using a colour wheel to guide you to find the best combinations, you could see how this had been implemented on the Room Sets.

Ikea Kitchen Dining area

These were my two favourite sets as I could imagine living here, entertaining my friends and family, and having lazy Sundays in this gorgeous bedroom.

Bedroom Set

The bedroom has used subtle, calming colours with the wooden floor and furniture adding warmth to the greys and creams within the room. Whilst in the living room there are bursts of colour in the furniture and accessories. I was a massive fan of these pastel coloured candle holders.

Pastel Coloured Candle Holders

The other product that had followed suit with the pastel colours and having a bold feature wall to contrast this was the Anglian Home Improvements Orangery. This wonderful room was bright, cosy and would be an ideal place to kick back with friends and a beverage.

Anglian Orangery

The Furniture and Accessories

There was so much to see at this show that it was hard to pin down my favourite products, however, here’s a selection of things that I thought were unusual, random or just divine.

This wooden flooring centre piece was awesome and made me think how great it would look in the middle of a child’s room. If you don’t recognise the character, it’s Simba from The Lion King.

Wooden Simba floor centre piece

Staying with the wood theme, Myakka furniture only supply fair trade furniture handcrafted in India and it is simply stunning. It is all solid wood to ensure high quality and longevity.

Myakka furniture

With classic comic book heroes getting a revamp in recent films such as Avengers Assemble and the Batman trilogy, it is no surprise that these wall decorations from Johnny Egg are back on trend. “Holy Wall Art Batman” – this is very reminiscent of the old Batman and Robin TV series.

Johnny Egg Wall Art

This quirky company flocks a lot of its products, including the wall art. This is depositing a thin layer of fur (called Flock) onto the surface. It has a strange texture to touch, but looks fantastic. They even create flocked Coca Cola bottles, a nice way to add vibrancy and character to a room.

Flocked Cola Bottles

We wrote about the Master Wishmakers just after the Ideal Home Show, so I was overjoyed to see them again at Grand Designs Live. They had some great children’s playhouses on display at Ideal Home so it was refreshing to see they had taken an adult approach to their stand.

Master Wishmakers Open Inn

Home Leisure Direct launched their latest product, which was one sure to draw in the crowds – a Mini Cooper pool table. The retro classic looked superb, Michael Caine would be proud they only ‘blew’ the roof off and kept the doors. This bespoke made pool table, that is fully customisable upon purchase, would be the centre piece of any games room.

Mini Cooper Pool table

I am not much of a gardener although I do appreciate a beautiful outdoor space, which is exactly what Georgia Lindsay created as part of the Grand Gardens section. Her child friendly garden was brilliant: low maintenance, artificial grass, sandpits, swings and little play zones made this a fantastic place to play with the children.

Georgia Lindsay's children's garden

My final product is this giant set of kitchen cabinets that were featured in the Ikea kitchen. I have fallen for these purely because of their stature and the fact that even with a ladder it would be difficult to get anything from the top shelf.

Ikea giant cabinet

To see more photos from the show, go to our Facebook page.