Grand Designs Live: Great Gadgets & DIY Inspiration

Kevin McCloud (far right) on stage at the Grand Designs Live Grand Theatre.

Kevin McCloud (far right) on stage at the Grand Designs Live Grand Theatre.

At least one night each week, you’ll find me on my sofa, bowl of popcorn in hand, feet propped on the coffee table, and eyes glued to the TV screen as one of my favourite dramas unfolds. At times, the tension is almost too much to bear. Will a family be torn asunder, a marriage destroyed, dreams shattered like a sheet of two-storey glass installed by a rickety crane while the rain blows sideways over a windy moor?

That’s right. This isn’t one of those dark, moody murder mysteries where corpses pile up like cords of wood. It’s Grand Designs, the long-running British home-building series, where cords of wood pile up like corpses.

This week at Grand Designs Live, fans of the show have an opportunity to meet Grand Designs’ host, architect Kevin McCloud, and some of the fearless folks who have dared to translate their castles in the air into genuine bricks and mortar (or occasionally, straw and daub).

Tom Raffield (right) and Kevin McCloud discuss how Tom and his partner Danielle transformed their cottage with their own bent-wood designs.

Tom Raffield (right) and Kevin McCloud discuss how Tom and his partner Danielle transformed their cottage with their own bent-wood designs.

The event runs through 7th May 2017 at London’s ExCeL Centre, and in October, it heads to the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham—England, that is. (Sorry, Alabama). Click HERE for a special discount code, offering two tickets to the London show for £22.

For aspiring builders and renovators, Grand Designs Live offers a wealth of resources. You can attend design lectures, meet with architects to discuss your own plans, and chat with hundreds of vendors selling everything you ever needed for your abode, alongside loads of stuff you’ll never actually need but can’t live without once you’ve seen it.

There are acres of great home inventions to explore. Here are a handful that captured my imagination.

Fire and ice coffee table for your garden, courtesy of Moda Furnishings.

Fire and ice coffee table for your garden, courtesy of Moda Furnishings. We’ve got the beer. Now who bought the marshmallows?

floating bed by Levitus Design

Scared of monsters hiding under the bed? Levitus Design offers the perfect solution. It’s not so great for playing hide-and-seek, however.

Cool pool tables, juke boxes, soda machines and video games. The Games Room Company sells everything you ever dreamed of as a 16-year-old boy.

Cool pool tables, arcade games, soda machines, and juke boxes. The Games Room Company sells all the whizzy gizmos you ever dreamed of as a 16-year-old boy…except one of those nerdy “Weird Science” contraptions to build your own babelicious Kelly LeBrock.

furniture made out of wine barrels and wooden wine cases

Wondering what to do with all those old wine crates? Wine Barrel Furniture offers a reason to drink MORE (as if we needed one).

tranformer table from Furl

Transformer furniture from Furl.

Check out this video to see Furl’s range of state-of-the-art, space-saving furniture designs in action at Grand Designs Live.

Just what Donald Trump needs for the Oval Office: a "Fake News" light fixture from JamJar Lights.

Just what Donald Trump needs for the Oval Office: a cheeky take on “Fake News” at JamJar Lights.

halo light fixture

Another bright idea: angelic lighting. You don’t have to earn your halo. You can buy one at Grand Designs Live.

red Lexus

A designer once told me that every room should have a splash of red. Presumably, your garage is no exception. Fear not. Lexus has you covered.

You’ll also find garden sheds that have been transformed into creative spaces like an award-winning reading snug, a sewing shack, and a South Beach, Miami tropical getaway. (Terrific ideas, although your dirty hoe and dusty wheelbarrow may look a bit out of place). For interior inspiration, check out the “Grand Room Sets,” including this Gothic Addams Family dining room.

Gothic, Addams Family dining room

Is that Thing and his pal Lefty lurking on the wooden stool in the corner?

And finally…

bronze gorilla

A giant bronze gorilla, for the King (Kong) of the castle. Go on, go on, go on. You KNOW you need one.

For more information, visit Grand Designs Live.

Kevin McCloud (left) and architect Meredith Bowles discuss the Grand Designs House of the Year at Grand Designs Live.

Kevin McCloud (left) and architect Meredith Bowles discuss the Grand Designs House of the Year at Grand Designs Live.

 

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