Design, Interiors & Lifestyle Blog
Design, Interiors & Lifestyle Blog

Last weekend, I attended Grand Designs Live at London’s Excel.

It was the first time I’ve visited. I was excited to go, as I’ve caught the renovating bug, and wanted to explore what else I could do to my home. If you follow me on instagram, then you would be aware that I have been re-doing my bathroom.

The refurbishment has slowed down a bit, as I’m waiting for a few bespoke pieces to be made. However, I think we will be making progress in the next 2 weeks, and I should be able to show you soon.

Anyway, right now I have another dilemma. Do I redo my kitchen?

My current kitchen was put in around 10 years ago. It is contemporary and very white.

White kitchens may currently be out of fashion, but I must say, white kitchens do sell a house.

I would love a colourful kitchen, and when I saw this beautiful kitchen by Uncommon Projects, it made my heart flutter. Absolutely loving the clean lines, open ply wood shelving for display and those ridged glass doors.

I would go for my usual colour palette of pastel tones.

However, I have asked myself, is this a necessary expense?

I would probably say yes, because you only live once right? Might as well go for something that makes your heart flutter.

I could of course also sell my white kitchen, so there is no wastage.

Anyway, the more I browse Uncommon Projects’ site, the more I want a new kitchen. grand designs live The show was full of inspiration. They commissioned 8 interior designers to come up with ideas for the “under the stairs”  space.

There were so many cool and innovative ideas.

This playhouse is by Chloe Gets Creative, and was the overall winner. Isn’t it just so cute? If you like I, have a teen son who loves Fortnite, then you can probably see the appeal of this under the stairs space created by Fleur Ward Interior Design.

To be honest, I wouldn’t mind moving all that computer gear out of his bedroom.

I can see this stylish space appealing to an adult male too. A den for football viewing with beers in the fridge. What do you think? How about this for a household with pets?

I don’t have pets, but I know talking to those who do, they really do become an integral part of the family.

So, I think they deserve a home indoors too. A little space that is not human space. Agree?

This was created by Kristyna Mc Darby. Lynsey Hoskin from Asheville Interiors Design has created this cool dark room inspired by her love of photography.

That weathered effect wall is just perfect for the industrial vibe that the space exuded. From inspiring spaces, to inspired crafting. Grand Designs had an area this year called “Upcycling Hub” which showcased DIY demos.

This leopard print idea on furniture or ceramics was a winner. I think I need to go get some Sharpie pens this weekend pronto! I already have this thing with concrete basins, but this rounded one with ridges from Kast concrete basins was just perfection.

It looked amazing set against that cute glass backsplash designed by Muck N Brass. Grand Designs Live Last, but not least, I have to tell you about my encounter with Kevin Mc Cloud.

He was as lovely and inspirational on screen as off screen.

I got to ask Kevin a few questions over coffee.

He was truly passionate about sustainable design and the environment. I learned a lot from our short chat together.

I asked him if most new self builds nowadays are embracing the sustainability agenda.

Here’s what he said: ” I can only gauge the mood from the people that I meet. Many people building start off by saying ‘ I want to save money, and don’t want an expensive build, so will super insulate it and because there is a grant for this, will put in some solar panels’. However, they discover in this process that there are other serious issues around this that is to do with climate change and resource management. Usually by the time they finish building they become in their own way, eco warriors. I find it heartening that the design and build process is a route to understanding these issues. ”

He also touched on how he admired the recent movement from the younger generations, such as Greta Thunberg on raising awareness on climate change and campaigning on ways to protect our environment. He said ” I have enormous respect for young people who are talking about this, because it is going to be their lifetimes that is going to be profoundly impacted by our inability to deal with these issues.”

It’s wonderful to hear how Grand Designs Live is doing its part to help the environment. Kevin said “Grand Designs Live take the issue seriously. From the word go, we didn’t tolerate companies who didn’t use FSC timber, who were rip off businesses making copies in factories where conditions for workers could not be verified. We place great emphasis over the years on craftsmanship and the relationship between consumer and the maker. Within the Grand Designs Live fair, is this special zone curated by Kevin Mc Cloud, called ‘Kevin’s Green Heroes’.

Here’s what he told me: ” It’s a personal selection of diverse products that address the sustainability agenda, resource use and recyclability.”

I have a selected a few of his curates below to show you. This is called ‘ Eoacoustic material’ and is a noise cancelling interior material  based on Spruce needles.

These panels are a natural porous material that absorbs sound reflections, regulates humidity and temperature, creating a comfortable and healthy atmosphere. These Hemp Fibre Corrugated sheeting from Margent Farm. It’s a hemp based alternative to plastic, metal and cement board.

The natural high cellulose content of the plant makes it a serious, sustainable plastic alternative.

They can be fixed with traditional 60mm screws and used for a wide variety of construction purposes. Finally, this is called Mapuguaquen, the world’s first active sound system made of clay. The speakers fuse the state-of-the-art in electronics and amplification with ancestral craft techniques.

Such interesting and diverse products for eco-living don’t you think?

Anyway, that wraps up my short report of Grand Designs Live. It’s still not too late if you want to go see for yourself.

It is running till May 12th 2019 at London’s Excel, and then will be in Birmingham’s NEC from 9th till 13th October 2019.

Hope you’ve enjoyed the round up. There is so much more than I could share here. I would recommend going if you are thinking of renovating or building a home.

Wishing you a wonderful day.

( All photography are by Geraldine Tan, editor of Little Big Bell. This is a paid partnership post with Grand Designs Live, but all opinions are my own).

Samsung 24 hr. Kitchen at Milan’s Fuorisalone 2019

Last week I attended Milan’s Fuorisalone 2019. It was the start of Milan Design week.

I was invited by Samsung to experience their 24hr. kitchen, a concept kitchen at the centre for our busy lifestyles and increasingly round the clock needs.

I was impressed to see how innovative kitchen technology and design came together at Samsung 24hr. Kitchen. Flat style appliances flushed against the kitchen furniture gave them a seamless feel.

We all know that the kitchen nowadays is no longer at the periphery, instead it has become the heart of our homes. I was eager to explore how Samsung addressed this new trend.

There were 3 kitchens: The Morning, Day and Evening kitchens, each with their own integrated personality and working aspect. A 60metre table ran through these 3 spaces.

The tables showcased creative food concepts by Laila Gohar. Wheat was the focus of the Morning kitchen, tomatoes in the Day kitchen and sugar in the Evening kitchen.

Each room had tables showcasing the food in their raw and then the transformed states from using the appliances. The Morning room exhibited wheat and breads. There were also butter sculptures for us to spread from onto our breads. Samsung 24 hr kitchen Dual Cook Flex oven The Dual Cook Flex oven baked the wheat into bread.

What I liked about the Dual Cook Flex oven, was its ability to cook two different dishes using two different temperatures at the same time.

You could even flex the oven door open for the top shelf without affecting the cooking below. This oven would definitely fit in with my fast pace ‘on the go’ lifestyle. The Day room showed how fresh tomatoes could be transformed into sun-dried tomatoes, gelée and dehydrated tomatoes. Samsung 24 hr kitchen Family Hub fridge The Samsung Family Hub refrigerator was used to keep the tomatoes fresh.

Did you know it had IoT (Internet of Things) capabilities too? You could post photos from your phone straight onto its digital screen.

I always found fridge magnets annoying because they scratched the fridge. With the Family Hub, I would be able to transfer photos onto the fridge without marks.

You could also see the contents of your fridge on the Family Hub screen, a handy feature for when food shopping right?

Next to the Family Hub fridge was the Virtual Flame Technology cook top. This cooktop had LED lights that looked like flames, changing in intensity with heat strength.

It was a great feature because it allowed for better control whilst cooking. The Samsung Evening kitchen had matching Black Stainless Steel appliances. Here we got to see how sugar was transformed into a variety of candies.

Did you know that conventional two door fridge freezers had the same air circulating through them because they shared an evaporator? This apparently meant that the odours from the freezer could pass through to the fridge. Fish odoured candy doesn’t sound appealing right?

Samsung’s solution was the Twin Cooling Technology Integrated refrigerator. As each fridge had its own evaporator, there was no more mixed odours.

I am a doctor, interiors editor and mother of 2, so anything that could save me time and make my life easier would always be welcomed. The Samsung smart appliances I saw at Fuorisalone definitely fitted the bill. The tour of the Samsung 24hr. Kitchen concluded with a special cooking demonstration by Michelin starred and a member of Samsung Club des Chefs, Chef Michel Roux junior. He cooked up 3 amazing courses in a short time.

It was wonderful to get a live demonstration of the 24hr. Kitchen. Michel retrieved the fresh ingredients from the Family Hub refrigerator, cooked langoustine on the Virtual Flame Technology cook top and baked choux buns and quinoa patties in the Dual Cook Flex oven. Here is the Langoustine grillées, freekah, petit pois with huile d’avocat that Michel cooked on the Virtual Flame Technology cook top.

You can see more of Michel’s cooking on my IGTV now.

Hope you’ve enjoyed a little tour of Samsung 24hr. Kitchen. It’s amazing how far kitchen technology has come to meet our ever-changing needs.

(All photography is by Geraldine Tan. This is a paid partnership post with Samsung for the Samsung 24hr. kitchen).

I’ve just returned from Irish Whiskey maker METHOD AND MADNESS‘ Gin launch party in Cork, Ireland. It was a lovely diversion from my normal routine.

I’ve always wanted to see a distillery.

These buildings are part of Jameson’s distillery in Midleton. So here it is! METHOD AND MADNESS’ first Gin.

You may wonder where the name METHOD AND MADNESS came from.

It was actually inspired by the Shakespearean quote, ‘Though this be madness, yet there is method in’t.’

The “METHOD” represented the tradition and expertise grounded in the generations at the Midleton Distillery and “MADNESS” reflected the curiosity and intrigue of the next generation. Meet Mickey’s Belly, Ireland’s oldest gin still, and where the gin was being made. The new bottle and label were designed by the talented duo Matthew Bolger and Emelie Lidström of M&E design in Sweden.

I had the pleasure of meeting and dining with them during this trip.  I was told the stripes in the label represented METHOD and signified the continuity and consistency of the master distillers, whilst the marble art represented MADNESS, an analogy to the apprentice’s experimentation and innovation. We even got to do our own marble painting at the event.

Here’s my creation. What do you think? The yellow of the bottle label reflected the Irish gorse flower in the gin, whilst the black represented the black lemons.

The black lemons are in fact sun dried limes. ( as seen in the photo)

Emelie told me that the teal was a leafy, earthy tone, that has been amplified from nature.

There were raised patterns on the sides of the bottle too, giving it a fun texture to handle. I’m sure you’re wondering what the gin tasted like right?

Well, it’s an eclectic fusion of 16 botanicals led by black lemon and Irish gorse flower – imparting notes of citrus and spice with subtle earthy undertones.

It was absolutely delicious when paired with Poacher’s tonic water, large ice cubes and finished off with a twist of lemon rind. During this press trip, we stayed at the beautiful Castle Martyr resort.

Check out the beautiful grounds. Here’s what my bedroom looked like. I hear this hotel was once a boarding school. It must  be wonderful to be surrounded by the countryside. METHOD AND MADNESS Gin should be available in Ireland now, and at most airport retail shops from July 2019.

Finally, If you have a chance, do give it a try. It’s absolutely delightful.

Hope you’ve enjoyed the post. Have a lovely day.

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