Grand Designs Live is set to return to Docklands offering budding home improvement enthusiasts the inspiration, advice and gadgets they think they need.
Here are our top seven must-sees.
1. See Kevin McCloud
It might seem obvious but it wouldn’t be Grand Designs without sight and sound of Kevin imparting his occasionally sarcastic pearls of wisdom.
If you’re dying to hear him in the flesh, head to the centre’s Grand Theatre, where Kevin and a host of other experts will be leading talks and debates throughout the week.
Highlights include talks from some of the stars of the TV series and masterclasses on everything from gardening to transforming Ikea furniture.
Then there’s the dubiously named Celebrity Grand Designers feature with renovation projects from the likes of Loose Women’s Andrea McLean, Blue Peter’s Gethin Jones and EastEnders’ Samantha Womack. A full timetable is available online.
2. Be a VIP
For those who love the finer things, Grand Designs Live is offering a VIP Experience.
The tickets include a glass of bubbly on arrival unlimited tea, coffee and pastries, free magazines and a show pack to help visitors plan their day, as well as access to the VIP Lounge, so everyone will know you’re no ordinary ticket-holder.
For those who can’t afford the £49 ticket price but still fancy a little bit of luxury there will be a Champagne bar in the venue, as well as plenty of places to grab food and soft drinks.
Standard tickets are £12 on weekdays and £15 at weekends and can be purchased here.
3. Do it yourself
Those keen to brush up on their DIY skills, may wish to visit the Self-Build Centre.
As well as talks, tips and demonstrations on plumping and plastering, the centre offers the chance to get involved in cob building and upcycling workshops.
Speakers topics include planning permission, woodwork and natural building workshops and advice on making homes more environmentally friendly.
So whether it’s a local authority, lump of two-by-four or wattle and daub, there are plenty of tips to take away and work into a design to introduce a bit of personality and, of course, reduce building costs.
4. Find the shed of your dreams
The misconception that outhouses are cramped and dirty storage spaces is confounded by The Grand Shed Project.
This showcases the work of five different interior and garden designers vying to create the most stunning shed space, with Kevin choosing the winner on the exhibition’s opening day.
Contestants include the Reading Snug, complete with bookshelves, fancy lighting and cosy places to curl up with a favourite book and the Sewing Shack for those keen to do their embroidery in a calm and quiet place.
There’s even a South Beach Miami shed, complete with a bar and Neon signs, which apparently aims to create “a place for busy women to escape to” at the bottom of the garden.
5. Get advice
The show’s website proudly proclaims its Ask An Expert feature is the “lifeblood of the exhibition” (by none other than Kevin himself).
A variety of specialists ranging from architects to financial experts, interior designers and landscape gardeners, will be on hand to help visitors get the best out of their plans.
The experts offer free 30-minute consultations, which are available to book online or on a first-come, first-served basis on the day.
6. Trip the lights fantastic
Concerned lightbulbs aren’t quite clever enough? Then worry no more.
An array of the latest smart bulbs will be available to test out in the alliteratively named Light Lab, where all it takes is a smartphone or tablet to have complete control over them.
Innovations include bulbs with built-in speakers to play tunes, lights that obey voice commands and a bulb that lets homeowners choose the colour of their lighting from 16million shades including thousands of different whites.
7. Go green
Kevin has selected his 10 favourite, eco-friendly green heroes to show off their innovative ideas at the exhibition.
Then there’s the intriguing Solidwool , which makes a hard but warm material from the wool of hill-farmed sheep that can be used to build chairs, countertops and even baths. See it to believe it.
Grand Designs Live runs until May 7 – tickets can be purchased here.
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