Grand Designs Live

Disclosure: My entry to the show was provided by Kinetico. All words, thoughts and opinions in this post are my own and entirely honest. If you’d like to know more about my disclosure policy, you can read about it here.

Grand Designs

On Saturday, I went to check out the Grand Designs Live Show at the NEC in Birmingham. I was invited along by Kinetico, who create home water systems, including water softeners and filters. The show is enormous, and covers just about everything to do with the home you could imagine, from the basics of building right to through to crazy kitchen gadgets and interiors.

Grand Designs Live

When you first come into the hall, you’re greeted with a selection of entrances into the different sections of the show. Always on the look out for more clutter, I dived straight into the interiors area. Immediately I could tell it would be all too easy to spend an absolute fortune at the show. Within about two minutes of walking into the Interiors stalls, I had already fallen in love with some really clever wallpaper posters, a stunning (and giant) oak dining table and a selection of Indian-inspired quilts.

There were some fantastic techy bits tucked away amongst the interiors. Lots of it was definitely ‘aspirational’, but it was really interesting to see some ideas on how home tech, like wireless internet, might work in the next few years. In the Tech Box, I found a couple of examples of transmitters that were stylish and sleek as well as being functional, which seems obvious to me now I’ve seen it. Rather than tucking away your wireless box, why not have something that looks smart?

Not having a garden, I wasn’t expecting to be too captivated by the Gardens section, but I was very wrong about that. I’ve decided I need a huge garden and a posh summer house. There were some seriously amazing examples that were absolutely beautiful. I quite fancied the Hyro Pools too.

Next, it was off to Bathrooms and Kitchens. After I’d drooled over the perfect 1950s style and candy colours of everything made by Smeg (I’d like my whole kitchen to be kitted out by Smeg, please), I went to find Kinetico. The Soft Water Company were showing some of their products. Now, water softeners might not sound very thrilling, but if you live somewhere with hard water, they make a huge amount of difference. When I lived in Bath, I learnt what a total nuisance hard water is. On a basic level, it makes cleaning harder, thanks to limescale, and it can also make showers and washing machines less efficient, making them more expensive to run. Hard water has also been shown to aggravate skin conditions like eczema. Soft water on the other hand, is much better for the skin, because it doesn’t clog pores, or strip out the skin’s natural oils. Both your hair and skin are much softer and smoother with soft water. Sounding more interesting now?

After learning about some of the benefits of soft water with the Kinetico guys, I headed to the Food section. This section was a mix of kitchen gadgets and fresh food. Apparently I only photographed the salami while I was there. Clearly I was too busy sampling cheese and olives to take more pictures. Some of the kitchen gadgets on offer were being shown off with some serious shopping channel style demonstrations, which ended up being rather amusing to stop and watch. I also found Market Lane up here where there were various cooking demonstrations going on throughout the day. I caught part of a session which included some top tips to cook perfect rice. Useful stuff!

Grand Designs Live has now finished, but I’d highly recommend going along next year, whether you’re going all out and building your own house, proper Grand Designs style, or just looking for inspiration on how to decorate your home or give the garden something extra. There was so much to look at; I think you’d struggle to come away without feeling inspired. I would recommend getting in early though. I arrived shortly after doors opened and was able to walk around and look at everything easily. When I left at about midday, it was starting to fill up a lot and I could see it being difficult to get at the stalls through the crowds.

Thanks Kinetico for the invite! Now, who wants to buy me a fancy summer house? And a garden to put it in?