Grand Designs Live At The NEC Birmingham

On Friday I paid my first ever visit to Grand Designs Live. The huge show was held at Birmingham’s NEC, and is a spin off from Kevin McCloud’s popular TV series where people create their own homes, often to unique and innovative designs. The show is brilliant for anyone interested in making changes to their own homes, even if your designs are on the smaller side rather than a grand design.

The live show is essentially a bit of a trade fair, which has anything and everything to do with home renovations and improvements. On entry through a tunnel you emerge with five destinations in front of you including a section on kitchen’s and bathrooms, a section on outdoor space, interiors and building. There is also a design arcade that is full of weird and wonderful design ideas. Each section also has cafes designed for comfort stops – there is even a rather wonderful Campari bar if you prefer your comfort stop to be of the luxurious kind.

Around the show there are also design projects, with my favourite being the delightful under the stairs project, where designers have been tasked with thinking of how the often dumping ground area under our stairs can be turned into living space (in one case even a small home gym). I loved the ideas that were definitely thinking outside the box, and showed how no space in the home should be dead space, especially if space is an issue in your home.

I loved the fact that green issues were being addressed, through looking at greener energy and more ecologically sound design, to the stores that featured items from reclamation yards that had been re-purposed to create something new and often spectacular.

The Grand Theatre space allowed you to meet and listen to Grand Designers from the show in a series of Q&A’s hosted by Kevin McCloud. The session I attended was with Patrick Bradley who built his dream home from shipping containers, and has now branched out into architecture, creating homes and extensions across Northern Ireland. It was interesting to hear how cheaply he had created this stunning structure (less than £140,000) and also how it had led to him finding his soon to be wife Victoria Howard, who had travelled from South Africa to meet him after viewing the programme.

Grand Designs Live is the ultimate destination for those interested in home design, those who want to renovate their current homes, and just those who seek a little inspiration for their home and decor.

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