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

Tag Archives: self builds

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).

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