My Trip to Grand Designs Live, thanks to Hillary’s

First up lets just acknowledge that not only is this the 101st blog post to find its way to it is also the first post to be written on my brand new Mac Book (named Mia). So lets rejoice in the fact that all things blog related from this point on can only improve thanks to the greatness of technology.

With that piece of housekeeping over with, lets embark on what this post is really about; my trip to Grand Designs Live at Excel London yesterday. The very lovely people at Hillary’s Blinds gave me two complimentary tickets to go for the day and explore all things Grand Designs related- I took my dad with me, luring him along with the idea that he may just bump into Kevin McCloud. Unfortunately Kevin was no where to be seen-sorry dad!


On arrival we entered through a tunnel, which to my excitement was playing the grand designs theme tune, which made me feel like we were entering a beautiful underground  ‘how to build your dream home’ paradise. This magical tunnel lead us to an atrium with four arches leading onto the four sections of the show; Building, Kitchens and Bathrooms, Gardens and Interiors.

Meeting the Hilary’s Team:


We made a beeline for interiors because lets face it it looked the prettiest. I got majorly distracted my chandeliers, before we found the Hilary’s stand. You couldn’t really miss it, it was a rather resplendent house situation filled with beautiful fabrics, shutters, blinds and curtains. The Hillary’s people were lovely, very friendly not what you would expect curtain sales people to be like ( I’m not entirely what sure what i mean by that!, more that they were very welcoming and i felt happy to browse through all of the curtains and blinds without feeling like i wasn’t allowed to touch anything!)


They had a really beautiful set up with each section featuring a gorgeous mini room/window setup so you could get a feel for the curtains and blinds in action. I’m a big fan of mustard yellow so this set up with a yellow vintage phone really caught my eye. It reminded me that dark wood goes really well with the yellow and grey tones and i really need to get with this trend.


Talking of mustard yellow on of my fave print of curtain fabric has to be the Isra Linden Print ( It features big messy tropical leaves that from a far give a kind of batik feel. A great print to embrace yellow and bring freshness to a room without being overpowering. Unfortunately it looks more lime in the photo here 🙁 IMG_9808

Other prints I was drawn to were the Francesca Raspberry which is very very similar to the Laura Ashley print on my sofa- a kind of worn vintage rose affair. Also this red/white geometric pattern on a roller blind really drew my eye. This would transform any window into a statement area of the room.


Hilary’s also have a really lovely new collection in partnership with house beautiful, which is really worth a look. I am really picky when it comes to fabric, particularly for curtains but i felt like the mix of patterns, prints and textures in this collection is really strong and has something for every room in the house. Check out the House beautiful collection here.



Find out more about Hillary’s Blinds at Grand Designs Live Here.

Whats Grand designs Live really like?

Now the Grand Designs show is big, its a vast array of everything from custom built staircases to lightbulbs, hot tubs and cheese. If i was planning to build my own home this is definitely the place to go, you can get so much advice and inspiration in one day.



I was worried that when we first entered it was going to be a bit of a millionaires club and that everything was going to be a little look but don’t touch, but this was not the case at all. There were things to suit every budget, size and taste from extravagant mansion to tiny eco house. This made it really interesting day full of all sorts of different things, here are mine (and my dads) faves and not so much bits.

The bits we loved:

The New technology area.

The new technology area is a bit I really enjoyed, inside a big MDF house we found lots of little technologies for the future. Alongside 3D printers and Robot hoovers they had things like a machine that dried and cleaned your towel instantly with laser technology, a thing where you could choose a food and instantly smell or taste it by pressing a button and putting a gel on your forehead- super futuristic. The one technology i really loved was a machine which turns plastic bottle into fabric-What!

The Upcycling area. 

The up cycling area mainly got us excited because it had on show some of the pieces from Kevin McCloud’s recent TV Programme, where they used parts of a plane to create new and beautiful furniture. We got to see one of the Plane chairs, a piece made into a coffee table as well as some overhead locker storage.




There was also a workshop taking place where people were making iPad stands from old pieces of wood which looked really interesting and had us both jealous that we hadn’t got there sooner so we could have got involved.

Inspirational Room Layouts:

I really enjoyed these room layouts, designed by different interior designers using their best picks from the show they were great inspiration almost like a real life version of all the things I’ve pinned on pinterest!








Products we loved:

Now we’ve seen these before on Pinterest and the like, but these were a hot fave for my dad. The mason Jar light that hangs from a coloured cable sporting a gorgeous lightbulb most definitely caught our eye. This company custom makes a variety of lights but the jam jar ones were by far our fave, each one was custom built to your specification of cable, jar, lightbulb and light fitting and it was fabulous.


Sketch Paint –

This is awesome we all know and love blackboard paint, right? well this is 100% time more mind-blowing that you can paint it straight onto your walls……. White board paint. yes white board paint for your walls.

I’m thinking of so many helpful uses for that, its unreal.

Beautiful trapezium shaped tiles that make normal square tiles look ultra boring and uncool.

Bits we weren’t so keen on:

Glass artwork, no offence to anyone who is a glass artist as I’m sure its very highly skilled. But who really wants to buy a layered glass wall piece of a champagne bottle popping? Today really affirmed my hate for glass wall art, just NO.

Other than some vile glass situations there wasn’t anything to not like, i felt it was well set out, had a great selection of stuff and was really inspirational. the only bad thing being that i didn’t have a million pounds to spend on all of the lovely things!





I would definitely go back again, perhaps next time try to get to more of the talks and workshops and be a bit more organised so we don’t miss out on anything!

A big thank you to Hillary’s Blinds for the tickets, we had a lovely day out- I’m desperate for a new house and new curtains now!

Disclaimer- Hillary’s Blind were kind enough to allow me and dad to go for free to Grand Designs Live. All views are my own.

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