Grand Designs Live Show 2018

Back in 2018, I was lucky enough to be given tickets by Axa Insurance UK to attend the Grand Designs Live show in the Excel Centre in London, and what a fabulous day it was!

I have always been a huge fan of the show and have watched it since the beginning, it is probably where my obsession for property renovations began.

The show ran from the 5 – 13 May and is based on the Channel 4 series, showcasing all the latest trends for the home, whether it be Interior Design inspiration, a complete renovation or self-build project.

Floor plan layout of Grand Designs 2018

Grand Designs Live

Grand Designs Live was split into 6 different sections including Grand Garden, Interiors, Kitchens & Bathrooms, Build and Food, and Homewares.

It also has a restaurant, central bar, champagne bar, and a Premium lounge, where I was lucky enough to enjoy a glass of fizz and some lunch.

In the center was a stage where previous stars of Grand Designs would sit and chat about their self-build or renovation projects and would tell the audience what they would change if they were to do it all again.

Unsurprisingly, all of them agreed on one thing; that the expense and time taken to create their project was always highly optimistic!

The section that I was most interested in was the Grand Designs Interior, where they showcased future trends including wallpaper, lighting, and furniture.

They also had an Interior Room Set (sponsored by Axa Insurance) where interior stylists were invited to create a room with products that viewers could buy online or in-store from British designers and retailers. It was then down to the public viewers and a panel of judges to choose their favorite design and the winner was announced at the Grand Theatre.

More is, well, More!! The bedroom design by Oliver Thomas.

The Room Sets consisted of –

Living Room – Zuzana and Lina of Accanto Interiors

This living room consisted of mustard, grey, and green tones with fabulous attention to detail including the orange piping on the sofa. The centerpiece lighting had a vintage and modern feel to it, created with glass light shades.

The bookshelves stood out with their neon pink lighting and the whole room was pulled together with the Middle eastern inspired rug that almost looked 3D!

Beautiful textures and patterns
Mustard tones, with beautiful orange piping on the sofa
It’s all about the fabulous lighting!

Kids Bedroom – Natalie Lockwood                                         

Natalie is the name behind Little Mill House, an Interior brand that uses sustainable and upcycled materials within their interior design projects. She mentioned that they like to keep their projects “playful” and they certainly delivered this aspect in the kid’s bedroom.

The carpet is made from plastic grass, the chalkboard walls were perfect for little people to be creative, and surely, what child would not want a slide into a ball pit in their bedroom?

I thought the use of monochrome with a dose of yellow was also a great use of color, so different from the usual blues or pinks. 

Loving the color scheme
Fabulous chalkboard wall and teepee to play with

“Wellness” Kitchen – Helen and Finch Munro of Finch London

What was not to like about this kitchen (I do love a plant!) It definitely lived up to its wellness title, including a steam oven, a Jesmonite worktop that is kinder to the environment, and water-based paints and plants.

The cork flooring is 100% natural and the plants chosen to remove Benzene from the air (which is often found in chemicals and paint).

Apparently, one of the most searched-for items in a kitchen is a Larder (or food cupboard) and they incorporated this beautifully into the design. The stylish glass pendants hanging from the ceiling completed the look.

The pink units were very on trend and with biophilic design becoming ever so popular in recent years, I could see why Helen and Finch’s kitchen wowed judges. 

The kitchen in all its glory, complete with herb garden
The food cupboard!
The herb garden and cork flooring

Bedroom – Oliver Thomas

Well, what can I say? Wow! Oliver was a finalist on the BBC’s “Great Interior Design Challenge” and now runs his own interior design consultancy.

He loves to use rich, luxurious textures and patterns and likes to layer up! This room had it all going on, from the fabulous wallpaper by Divine Savages to the black and white tiled flooring and the beautiful emerald green Oyster chairs (my personal favorites!)

I love how brave Oliver’s design was and you could take away so much inspiration from just one room.

It’s like a bed of technicolour dreams
Beautiful emerald green chairs and wallpaper

Living Space – Jade Maria Interior Design

Everything about Jade Maria’s living space was just so stylish! She had created a space that included zones, which is perfect for modern-day living, where the cost of property is sky-high and we seem to be forever squeezing into smaller spaces.

The beautiful pink sofa sat astride a zebra print rug and Jade Maria had added cushions of a similar pattern to tie in the design. I loved the use of different materials, including the rattan-style chairs and marble table.

She had also created a workspace that worked wonderfully with the room, providing plenty of storage space and styled perfectly.

Jade Maria herself said she loved finding interesting and pretty objects to style around the room as she felt these were important finishing touches. This was one of my favorite sets in the Grand Designs Show.

Pink and green should always be seen
The beautifully styled work space
Lots of different materials creating different zones

After viewing all the Room Sets, I went to watch the judging on the Grand Designs Centre Stage, where all the Interior Designers had gathered to chat about their design, what inspired them and to find out who had won the challenge.

I could sit and look at Interior Design all day, but to judge a winner? I would have been hard-pressed to choose just one.

In the end, Finch London took away the accolade with their amazing pink and environmentally friendly kitchen.

Oliver talking about his design
Helen from Finch London accepting her award

My next stop was the “Lav Project” where designers were asked to create a small washroom with fabulous results.

There were beautiful monochrome tiling and flamingo wallpaper by Grace & Grey. A tribal-inspired toilet that wouldn’t look out of place on a beach by Studio 26. A stunning floral mural wallpapered bathroom complete with an on-trend panel mirror by Aube Interiors.

A stylish bathroom with Anna Hayman wallpaper and black marble flooring by Outshine Interiors. And last, but not least, my favorite Lav, the very patriotic loo dedicated to the Royal Wedding!

Grace & Grey
Studio 26
Aube Interiors
Outshine Interiors
God Save the Queen and her throne 🙂

Once I got my interior fix, I then headed over to the Grand Designs Live garden section to try and get some inspiration for my currently overgrown and wild outdoor space!

After viewing luxury swimming pools, garden canopies larger than my kitchen, BBQs big enough to cook for my whole street, and a giant man shed where you would perhaps never see your husband again, I came away thinking I needed to put my house on the market pronto and buy a new one with a bigger garden.

My favorite items had to be the Garden Beach Huts with seating and dining space. Some of them had even incorporated a BBQ in the middle, perfect for those wet British summers!

A very big man shed. How are they going to find their spanner in there?
I can almost hear the waves crashing…

I could have spent many more hours at the Grand Design Live Show, taking in all the many retailers, manufacturers, and over 500 exhibitors that were there to showcase their designs, but the 1617 Southern train was waiting to take me home to Brighton.

The one thing that I did come away from the show was that I’m more determined than ever to one day build my own Grand Design.

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