Ideal Home Exhibition 2013

A couple of weeks back I received an invitation from B&Q to see if I’d like to go the Ideal Home Exhibition and would I like to meet Kirstie Allsopp?  Well who could refuse?  I’ve not been to the Ideal Home since I got my first flat 14 years ago and then it was all about the see through loo seats with glitter in them – remember those?

I was quite excited to go and have a day on my own wandering around looking at home goods. It’s been ages and frankly I could do with the inspiration having been couped up in the grey cold country for months on end.  The day before Miss L became ill, so many thank to Mr VP for working from home and holding the fort for the day, so I could go. He’s the best!.

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If you’re going here’s my advice, wear good walking shoes, take a bottle of water & a snack – the prices there are horrendous for food and drink –  £4.95 hotdog anyone? And fully charge your camera/phone whatever you take photos on.  I took a million photos, the whole places is like a live Pinterest board. So many ideas and you will forget most of them, take photos to remind you of what you thought was good.

So here are a lot of photos of my day out: first up Kirstie Allsop’s Vintage Styling talk…which wasn’t really about Vintage Styling at all but was really good.  I was fortunate to get there early and I met a lovely lady in the front row called Dilys who had travelled all the way from West Wales to visit the show. We had such a good chat, and it was nice to have someone to talk to and she told me all about her amazing sounding 1970’s ‘upside down’ house, a style that was in one of the show houses (bedrooms on the floor, living areas upstairs).

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But back to Kirstie, she’s very charming and basically gave a good talk on how to style your house easily and cheaply using what you have an maybe adding some bits and pieces. Sensible advice included buy a bunch of cushions try them at home and if you don’t like them, take them back. Kind of wish I thought of that before I went uber red everywhere!

A VERY good piece of advice from Kirstie was if you have a friend who’s house you like, let them loose on yours. Sometimes we get a bit hung up on where something should be to the point we can’t move it and can’t see a way round it (looks at my hallway sideboard!) or maybe a room should be a different colour?.  So I demand my friend Sarah comes up from Bristol and sorts my house out – her house is gorgeous 🙂

Kirstie took a Q&A and then was kind enough to have a chat and pose for photos, which I did purely so Miss L could see her hero *cough* Miss L adores Kirstie’s crafting show and they’ve really inspired my girl, which I think is wonderful I doubt she would have gotten into crafting otherwise.

After that I had a wander….ok I know this is a lot of photos sorry!

Gardens…..Love the Swedish Chair can you imagine snuggling in there?  That BBQ is the size of my kitchen!

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Storage Ideas…I need these exact two cupboards and I’m getting to small skinny radiators. I want to replace the gigantic ones in the downstairs of our house – they take up whole walls.

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Random ‘Pinterest’ things I spotted – you know me I don’t like modern that much, but I adore that white kitchen, I just really love it. I loved the double height windows on the Eco show house.  Cherry tree painting for Miss L in the Eco House was just like the one in her bedroom. And last but not least the ‘Denim’ Smeg Fridge – I love it but only if I didn’t have children/husband and dog!

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I then went back to the B&Q area because it has said there was a preview of George Clarke’s new series of Restoration Man. We’re big George fans in this house, apart from being a good presenter and sparking Miss L’s interest in architecture with ‘Amazing Spaces’ we like the work he’s done trying to get redundant properties back into use.  I grew up in social housing and it worries me that there is an entire generation out there who are never going to be able to get a home of their own either social or private purely because there are not enough homes being built. It’s daft.

So imagine my delight when I met up again with not only Dilys, which was lovely but the man himself was there. George talked for a good hour on both the subjects of Restoration Man, there was a restoration that I had entirely missed of an old Scottish Icehouse which looked amazing when it was finished and of Amazing Spaces – his caravan is still mad but his kids adore it!  And then about the work he’s doing to get redundant housing back to work and the horrid generic new build houses that are sprouting up like mushrooms everywhere – it’s true you can see a new house in Norfolk or Surrey and they are identical apart from the price for the self same house.

If you’re at the Ideal Home and he’s there giving a talk, go and see him. He’s very engaging and worth listening too.  I was fortunate enough to have a quick chat and a photo with him afterwards and I picked up a copy of his book to read too. It’s all about extending your house and changing your space, I’m really enjoying it.

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All in all I had a pretty wonderful day, I’m feeling more inspired with my home, I’ve already thought of some easy changes to make. And I’m trying to be more positive about our looming electrical re-wire – and that is a whole other post!  Hope you enjoyed the photos!

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  1. Thanks for this, I might have to go myself next year! It looks interesting. I like Kirsty’s idea of getting a friend to come up and sort out your house, not so keen on the denim fridge but it looks like a good place to get inspiration. You obviously had a great day!

  2. I am “well jel” as the kids would say! Not only of the trip, but of you meeting Mr Clarke. I’ve also been hankering after one of those garden pod things that’s in the top right of your first collage for ages, and would love to see one in the flesh!
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