Grand Designs Live London review

Today was another house-centric one: me and the boys hit London Excel for Grand Designs Live, a huge exhibition (on until May 12th) of interiors, appliances and accessories for the home.

El absolutely loved it; you don’t have to pay for kids and – after an exciting journey there on the Emirates cable car from the O2 – he really enjoyed inspecting the displays, trying things out (including cars, exercise bikes and giant screen TVs) and generally chipping around in the vast exhibition space, finding new things to covet for our new home around every corner.

I felt the same way…

El gets in the driving seat

If you’re remodelling your home, building or buying a new one, it’s a great way to be inspired and to pick up a bargain from the exhibitors there.

My favourite bit was meeting some of the smaller designers and manufacturers, talking directly with them about their products and grabbing their contact details so we can get in touch when we’re ready to furnish the new place.

I fell madly in love with Tristan Cockerill’s old boat side cabinet and we found our dream, vintage-inspired rivet leg wooden dining table courtesy of The Iron Mill.

We drooled over roll top baths and fancy fridge freezers, were sorely tempted by Wonderlawn artificial grass (who wants to mow anyway?) and pledged to use Reborn paints (eco paints in 28 subtle shades) when we start decorating.

I fell in love with the idea of having a TGO energy exercise bike in the garden (the idea is that the equipment harnesses the energy you generate when you’re working out to power lights or charge your mobile phone; literal people power = genius). And we agreed that a hot tub would not only be far less energy efficient but also a rather OTT way to pimp up the place (they had one with built-in speakers and disco lights that Matt described rather insightfully as “a sex pond”).

El gets physical on a TGO bike

We had some real lightbulb moments and met some very interesting people on the stands – I even got chatting to the sound Yorkshire bloke behind Da Vinci bathrooms who, it turns out, ran one of my fave bars in Bradford back in the days when I drank cider and black and went ’round town every weekend with my mates.

The only thing missing? The actual Kevin McCloud. But he’s there tomorrow. Perhaps I’ll be going back…

Written by Johanna Payton