Our time at Grand Designs Live 2017

We absolutely love Grand Designs here at Furnish Your Home. I think, for fans of the show, that we all have our favourite episodes; the ones which shocked us, the ones that inspired us and the ones that we just NEED to live in ourselves!

This week, we headed along to Grand Designs Live, which took place at The NEC in Birmingham – so right on our doorstep! The doors opened to long queues at 10am and we were first in, so we had plenty of time to walk around the hall and see all the incredible sights of the day.

The event is split into six different sections. The Grand Build is where budding grand designers could head along to get expert advice from the professionals, whether it was a small project, or a total renovation and self-build.

The Arcade section was alive with interiors and the design part of a home, where visitors to the show could find unique products that aren’t always available on the high street. There was also a kitchens area, a bathroom’s area, a gardens section which was particularly colourful and fun and a technology area, where visitors could test out the latest in home technology.

Within The Design Arcade, obviously our favourite section, was AXA Insurance’s Grand Interiors stand. The feature was a mixture of six different room set designs created by a range of interior designers, who all had different tastes. This was a personal highlight for us, as we got to see and understand different designer’s backgrounds and learn why they had created their rooms in a particular style.

It was also really fun to see how the designers had made use of the space in their given rooms, with a good mixture of bedrooms, living rooms and dining rooms. Each designer had wonderful imagination and left many of the visitors to the stand feeling super inspired. Later in the day, a winner was chosen. It was Love Nellie Designs, whose winning design you can see below – isn’t it beautiful?!

We also attended three of the talks throughout the day, which were really fun and informative. The first was the opportunity to meet the ‘grand designers’ Micah and Elaine Jones from the rolling hills of County Down in Northern Ireland. Their innovative home, created with materials and techniques that had never before been seen in Northern Ireland, is an upside down four bedroom shed-like house.

Their home was recently shown on Grand Designs and they are on the current front cover of Grand Designs magazine. The couple sat down with Karen Stylianides, the editor of the magazine. We got to learn all about their home building process, their journey from a two bed house in Belfast to their new home in the countryside and what it was like creating a home, whilst pregnant.

Soon after, Daniel Hopwood and Sophie Robinson from BBC Two’s Great Interior Design Challenge. The duo came together for a Interior Design Masterclass, sharing their expert knowledge on interior design and how to really bring a room together.

It was so fun and interesting, especially as the duo have such different tastes. Daniel, who offers creative and bespoke design from his London based Interior Design business, enjoys splashing the cash and creating luxurious and statement rooms.

On the other hand, Sophie Robinson is an interior stylist, and she loves creating cosy homes. She’s also not afraid to play around with colour and experiment with different wallpapers and designs. It was great fun taking a look at the different rooms they had designed, and who for. One of the homes that Daniel had created was the chatty man himself, Alan Carr. It was so interesting to see inside the home of the comedian and learn just why Daniel chose to decorate the way he did. Take a look at Alan Carr's 'script reading' room below.

We finished our time at Grand Designs Live with another talk, this time from the grand design experts. From couples who had been on the show, including one pair who had created their very own tree house, to architects, builders and more.

They all took to the stage to share their top tips for when creating your own grand design. This was really interesting, especially as certain members of the audience were in the process of building their own homes. It was also great to meet the couples and learn what they would do differently if they were to go through the process again.

We had a brilliant time at Grand Designs Live! Look out for more blogs about our time there, including interior design tips from Daniel and Sophie and the advice given to us from the grand design experts.