Hello there lovely Buttoneers! As promised last week in my ‘Around Here…September 2015‘ post, I am going to share with you my adventure to Grand Designs Live at Birmingham’s NEC this month. Did you catch last year’s Grand Designs Live Part One and Grand Designs Part Two? Well, this year I went with a blog post or two in mind so found that I went with an agenda to capture all of my favourite parts.
Armed with my camera and a very (VERY) patient Fiancé (I seriously stopped to photograph everything!) I grabbed the complimentary tickets I had won last year in a photograph competition and snapped away taking it all in and soaking up the vibrant energy of all of the design goodness that Grand Designs Live had to offer.
I took a grand total of 358 photographs and a few videos so that I could steal some quotes out of some of the talks on the theatre stages. Don’t panic! I am not going to share them all! Can you imagine!? I have, however, whittled them down to some of my absolute favourite things I found during my adventure and will be sharing them over the course of this post and another post next week, so keep your eyes peeled for further excitement!
I have to admit that when we arrived, parked up and took the little bus ride to the NEC, I was beyond excited and when we walked the tunnel to the main hall I was a little overwhelmed at the pure amount of exhibitors (over 500 according to their website!) Luckily this was all broken down into smaller sections that branched off from a circular hub in the middle (where you could also grab a coffee and breathe for a while before adventuring into the next section!) which consisted of ‘Interiors’, ‘Gardens’ ‘Kitchens’ and ‘Build’.
On of the first stops for us was the Grand Theatre to watch a fantastic talk called ‘Luxury for Less’ by Sophie Robinson and Dan Hopwood from The Great Interior Design Challenge. They demonstrated “how to get the very best interior effects on a budget” –
It was so lovely to see them both in person after being a fan of their TV programme and I found myself nodding along and taking in everything they talked about – not to mention Sophie’s fabulous outfit!
I felt like I picked up a lot of great tips to try out at home and loved that I shared a very similar outlook about adding colour to your home and not just sticking with neutrals. However, I know that when we were renting, colour wasn’t much of an option on our walls so playing around with textures and fabrics is a great idea. It is definitely something to bear in mind now we have bought a house too before we start getting adventurous with the paint and wallpaper! This was by far my biggest takeaway from the talk…
The fabrics and textiles at the show were beautiful. I fell in love with this beautifully designed monochrome rug.
The Cobhouse wildlife garden also stood out for me. It was an amazing structure built up using recyclable materials around the home like egg boxes and toilet roll cardboard to create a harmony with the nature and habitats around it, but also to encourage wildlife to visit and thrive to help nurture biodiversity in a natural environment.
We stopped for lunch quite early on – all of the walking and thinking creates an appetite! I love how the German Sausage Company made me feel like I was at a German Christmas market! The lights were very festive feeling and they smelt amazing!
The queues were pretty big so we explored some more and ended up with jacket potatoes from the Grand Village Cafe which were delicious. We were super glad to find a table and be able to rest our feet for a while!
I spent a long time staring at gorgeous lighting across the day. I swear I am like a magpie, attracted to the sine and the glitter of them all! These lights were beautiful hand-crafted wooden structures by a company set in the Cornish woodlands called Tom Raffield. Each piece of lighting is created by a group of craftsmen by steam bending the wood to create sustainable pieces of handmade furniture for homes.
They had me at Handmade!
Another company after my own heart were JamJar Lights. They make the most beautiful lights from…well, jam jars! They focus on the handmade, bespoke and affordable rather than mass-produced and distributed – YES! Now if Pinterest is anything to go by, we arty, crafty types love a good mason jar, so what would be more perfect for our homes and creative spaces than if they were part of the furniture!? Aren’t they amazing!? I have to say that I took way too many photographs and am now highly obsessed with those marquee lights in the background too!
I definitely got taken away on a glittery magic carpet ride in my imagination with these hanging crystal lights too.
They made the light dance to its own compilation of sparkle and elegance…
…and these blown glass bubble lights were dreamy! They looked like real bubbles floating in various shapes and sizes whilst the light caught the surface delicately. I would be too scared to touch them as they looked so fragile but it was super effective.
These stained glass lighting domed by Design Glass were extraordinary too. They looked so regal and definitely caught my eye. This one changed colour gradually into reds and blues and purples and pinks! It reminded me of a rather glamorous mood light and would be really relaxing to sit and watch the colours transition through the rainbow!
Not only can you have one in your house but they also provide these for really high profile places including the Savoy Hotel in London! La de da!
I also played paparazzi a little more when I spotted the Grand Designs king himself – British designer, writer and television presenter best known for the Channel 4 series of Grand Designs – Kevin McCloud!
I fell in love with these wistful and beautiful beach paintings my Jane Skingley Fine Art.
Can’t you just imagine yourself wandering and dreaming away along that beach. I can almost feel the waves tickling my toes!
The Lexus Origami Car was had the Wow factor too! It is a one-off, life-sized recreation of the Lexus IS…. Crafted in precision-cut card! Wowee!
“Pushing the boundaries of design, technology and craftsmanship, this drive-able, full-sized sculpture explores Lexus’s promise of Creating Amazing” – Lexus
It was made up of 1700 individually shaped pieces of cardboard as a “celebration of the human craftsmanship skills that go into every car Lexus makes” – Well it certainly got my attention!
I loved this driftwood word art. Anyone who follows me on Pinterest will know how my heart has a huge space for word art and typography – so this paired with a reminder of the beach made these top of my list when we move house. I think they would look fabulous in my beach themed bathroom!
Talking of bathrooms, I totally had my eye on these beautiful Moroccan inspired tiles – I can imagine them in surrounding a shower or wet room. I love the simplicity of the clean white colour but I think shades of blue hues and teals would look gorgeously nautical. I love the curved edges and shapes compared to the usual uninspiring square or rectangle tiles you find normally.
Finally, for today at least, I wanted to share this fabulous tiki beach summer house! How amazing would this be at the bottom of a garden for BBQ’s and get togethers!? I loved the purple colour palette for the soft furnishings too and the holiday feeling you grasped on to when sat inside.
I think I could happily pretend I was in the Caribbean sipping cocktails from a coconut shell whilst actually being in my garden during English summertime!
Well, a girl can dream!
Wowee! I am exhausted just re-living it all! I have so many more parts of Grand Designs Live to share so keep your eyes peeled next week when I have narrowed down all of my favourites!
Which is your favourite thing so far? Can you imagine the gorgeous lighting in your home? or maybe you’ll join me for cocktails in the summer house!? I would love to hear your thoughts!
Meet me for a chat with a cup of tea in the comments below. I’ll click the kettle on!