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

Tag Archives: DIY

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).

My statement wall workshop with B&Q and Valspar.

This weekend had been full of activity, as I ran a 3 session painting workshop for B&Q, one of Britain’s largest DIY and home decorating supplies stores.   The workshop was about creating statement walls at home, inspired by the colours and patterns of walls and murals we see out and about.

This colourful painted gate is by Aka Corleone, it’s one of my new favourites, and was discovered at Buxton street in Shoreditch. B&Q had also asked me to design two colourful geometric canvases, to be used as inspiration for a larger canvas being painted live at the event. The workshop was so fun, I met so many lovely customers. Most of them were families, out with their children, buying supplies to redecorate their homes. The kids really enjoyed painting their canvases, whilst I chatted to the parents.

I got to advise many of the customers on how to mix and match colours, whilst also showing them examples of how they could use a statement wall in their homes.

A statement wall could be the first step to exploring the use of colour and patterns in a small area. The result can really create visual interest in a room or even amplify its design intention. You can find more inspiration on my Pinterest board.

The feedback was amazing and many felt excited to try their new learned skills at home. Whilst the workshop was running, the live painting was happening too. Here you can see Graffiti Life applying Valspar paint to the shapes. Aren’t those colours so bright and vibrant? The amazing thing about Valspar paints is that, they really stay bright and won’t fade. You can also get your favourite colour matched to create your own paint.

Another added bonus, is that the paint is very stain resistant and able to withstand considerable wear.

Finally, the tape is coming off. statement wall Here is the final result. What do you think? statement wall This giant canvas will be placed at B&Q’s headquarter’s wall. I am truly honoured that something I helped designed, will be put on display there.

If you have created your own statement wall at home, then B&Q would love to see it. They are currently running a competition #MyStatementWall over on their Facebook page. Do check it out for a chance to win £150 in B&Q vouchers.

Wishing you all a wonderful start to your week.

( All photography are by Geraldine Tan, editor of Little Big Bell. This is a sponsored collaboration with B&Q, but all views are my own).

motologo (white) I am honoured to have been picked by Motorola UK to be one of their industry experts at their Moto Design school launched today in London.

As I couldn’t make the physical pop up event, I have produced content here and on social media to run alongside it.

Hope you will enjoy the design hacks I have prepared below.

I have decided to show you how I would inject a bright and happy style into a home with a few simple steps, on a low budget.

Moto fireplace black This is my fireplace at home. It is not usually this pared down, but for the purpose of this post, all things colourful were removed.

Here’s what I did:  Paper -Bunting-from-recycled-wrapping-paper-DIY-for-Moto-Design-school-Little-Big-Bell I have injected colour instantly by creating these paper buntings, recycled from leftover gift wrap.

It’s really simple to make, all you have to do is fold the paper to create equal rectangular creases. Then cut out lengthwise two rows and fold them together. Using the creases as guide, cut out triangles of equal size. The base of the triangle being where the fold is. Wrap each triangle around some string and glue together. Colourful-bunting-made-by-Little-Big-Bell A bright injection of colour don’t you think?

I have also placed a freshly cut Hydrangea from my garden into the vase and styled with two postcards.

Being a lover of colour, I couldn’t just leave it at that. So here’s what I did: Embroidery-hoops-colourful-DIY-Moto-Design-school-Little-Big-Bell I bought some relatively inexpensive embroidery hoops and inserted some of my leftover colourful fabric into the frames. Simple-DIY-style-with-embroidery-hoops-decor-feature-photo-and-styling-Little-Big-Bell The hoops were then grouped together to create a colourful vignette on one corner of the mantelpiece. How-to-style-a-fireplace-with-DIYs-colourful-styling-and-photo-by-Little-Big-Bell-Littlebigbell Here’s the finished look. Colourful at a budget.  Colourful-fireplace-by-Little-Big-Bell What do you think? Accent-colours-to-shelf-Little-Big-Bell Next, is the creation of this colourful shelf.

I bought a pair of relatively inexpensive ledge shelving from |kea in white. I didn’t want the white of the shelving to melt into the neutrality of the background, so decided to paint the front a bright yellow accent colour.

I usually style with colour instinctively and dare I say, I’ve never used the colour wheel. But for those who want some guidance on the best colour combinations, then do take a look at my post here about the colour wheel.

Here’s a possible trick for you. Find a colourful object or print that you find aesthetically pleasing, extract the colour palette and use it as a template for your decorating.

Analysing in retrospect, I can see that my styling has a similar colour palette to talented Rachel of Pencil shavings studio’s print, which I have placed as the centrepiece on the wall.

How-to-style-a-shelf-Little-Big-Bell When styling a shelf, there are some important steps to follow:

1. Always vary the heights of the objects you are using but in relative proportion to one another. In other words, don’t place a towering high object next to a mini accessory, otherwise the flow of the decor will become lost.

2. Another important factor is to vary the texture of the objects you are using. Here, you can see me using the shiny surface of a plate, the rough texture of paper in the card and wood, both coloured and natural.

3. If you are using small objects to decorate, don’t leave the wall between the shelves bare. Tie the two shelves together with prints that pull the colour palette together.

Colour-at-home-Little-Big-Bell Love how the yellow accent colour makes everything else pop with vibrancy.

Moto-Design-school-styling-a-chair-Little-Big-Bell Here’s the third tutorial:

Upcycle a second hand chair with a coat of chalk paint. This chair was painted for me by my friend Louisa of Westegg interiors, but you can do similar by yourself at home.

The wonderful thing about chalk paint is that you can apply it direct to furniture without having to do any major preparation to the surface . Finish off with buffing on some wax, and then polishing with a dry cloth to protect.

The chair is such a versatile piece of furniture. For those who have limited space, the chair could be used as a side table.

Here’s 3 fail safe ways to style up your chair:

1. Use books with pretty coloured spines. You can use the colour wheel again if you need guidance on colours that sit harmoniously together. Pile them up in order of size.

2. Ensure one of the decorative accessory has the same colour as the book to draw the collection together.

3. Always add a ‘green’ element, like a small potted plant.

4. Make sure at least one of your decorative accessories sit vertical to the books. The effect is lost if it is low lying and horizontal only.

Styling-lessons-Little-Big-Bell Here, I have tied together the elements of ombre shades, in the pot and plate. Moto-Design-school-easy-styling-tips-Little-Big-Bell Adding a bit of texture such as the wrapped cord around the plant pot adds visual interest. Upcycled-painted-wine-box-Moto-Design-school-Little-Big-Bell Here’s another cool and easy DIY I came up with. It’s an upcycled wooden wine case carrier, made into a shelf for display.

I got hold of some free sample paints to create this two colour effect.

Just tape around where you want the divide to be, paint one section, let it dry and remove tape.

Then carefully apply another length of tape over the painted border. I use washi tape, so it doesn’t peel the paint off. Paint on the second colour, let it dry, remove tape and all done! Using the handle strap of the wine case, the box shelf can then be hung on the wall.

So, what do you think?  Moto-Design-school-DIY-hack-Little-Big-Bell Here’s DIY number 6 on a limited budget. Creating a pop of colour on your desk.

I bought an inexpensive cardboard photo frame from Cass Art and using brightly coloured Duck tape, I created this colourful frame. It only took a minimum of 10 minutes to do and adds instant happy colour to your space. Fabric-paint-placemat-Little-Big-Bell Final DIY! Make colourful polka dot placemats for the home. This is a really simple one to do. All you need is white cotton fabric, cut to equal rectangular shapes.

Get a round wooden ink stamper or just use any round object. Paint on some fabric paint and get stamping. You can see me in action on Instagram doing this.

Let it dry. Then cover with a light cloth and iron over with a warm iron to set the paint. The placemats can be washed in the washing machine with no issues of ink running after that. I used Dylon fabric paint.

Colourful-placemat-DIY-hack-Little-Big-Bell I have styled the placemats with my new Marimekko dinner set. Isn’t it cool that the plate and mug colours matched the placemat?

Goodness! As I’m writing this I have just realised how much of a creative overdrive I’ve been in, whilst preparing these design hacks.

Hope you have all enjoyed the DIYs, if you do try these out at home, do tag me on Instagram @littlebigbell and @motorola_uk to show us and use the hashtag #motodesignschool.

Happy day!

( All DIYS, design hacks, styling and photography are by Geraldine Tan of Little Big Bell. The Moto Design school is a sponsored event).

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