Monday, 24 March 2014

The Ideal Home Show

As I noted on The List, there was a goal I'd already achieved:
037. Go to an event that isn’t an anime convention
 The event I attended was The Ideal Home Show at Earls Court, London.

The venue was dressed up to the occasion! 

I was lucky to snag a pair of free tickets through Money Saving Expert. My dad has always been interested in home improvement and has a few renovations under his belt, so we headed up to the show last Monday. Most of the people in the above picture had the same destination (and most of them had the same free tickets!)

As the name suggests, the show is about the home. Hundreds of exhibitors attend to sell anything from sofas, collapsible ladders and garden ornaments to pashminas, playhouses and cheeses--and a lot more. We found traditional products alongside innovative new ideas.

This part Fiat 500 is actually a refrigerator by Smeg, creatively named the Smeg 500. Isn't it awesome?

The Ideal Home Show also incorporates show houses, live events spread across three different stages, champagne bars and a restaurant. This 'Quiet Tree House' was one of their show houses. I was hoping to experience this one but unfortunately the queues for all the show houses were huge, so we didn't go in :(

Exhibitors at the show were split up into sections across two floors: Home Improvements, Interiors, Gardens, Show Homes, Food & Housewares, Technology, Woman, and Shopping. As you can see, I found another partial car--this time in the form of a seat by Plumbs. However, I think this is merely a display item!

Far from being a big room full of people selling stuff, the Ideal Home Show had some decoration, too: plant-like lamps languished in giant vases in the foyer, whilst inside the main show area, giant lampshades of all patterns and colours hung from the ceiling. This colourful floral design with black fringe was my favourite.

More giant lampshades - all white this time - hung upstairs, above the Gregg Wallace Seasonal Restaurant. They really made a difference to the atmosphere, giving the restaurant a classy, private appearance despite it being amidst a sea of people and exhibitors!

From the large to the small, this tiny shop is the work of Master Wishmakers. Their display fully showed off the kind of masterful craftsmanship they can create, with a selection of children's playhouses. They also create bespoke furniture, bedrooms and other work. Take a look at their website for some seriously fantastic stuff. If you can dream it (and have the money) they can make it. Their name isn't Master Wishmakers for nothing!

(This looks like an advert for their work. I'm not being sponsored, I promise. I'm just really impressed!)

We've covered big wishes so now the little wishes: ice cream! Admittedly I didn't buy any as I'd pigged out on chocolate cake at lunchtime, but it was awesome to see ice cream being served from this little van.

On to another wheeled exhibit: a neat little shepherds hut, kitted out with bespoke cupboards by the exhibitor, British Standard by Plain English. They have a nice picture of the interior on their website.

These sweet toadstools were part of a display around an outdoor-themed cafe. Considering how crowded Earls Court was, I thought this peaceful little area was a wonderful idea!

Another section of the Ideal Home Show was Young Gardeners of the Year 2014. Here we found  small, sustainable gardens by students from six of the UK's colleges. The garden above is by Chichester College (Brinsbury Campus) and made use of old pallets and 'living walls'. As stated in the leaflet for the competition:
"Our garden has been created to provide a stimulating and revitalizing retreat away from the demands of urban life."
I certainly wouldn't have minded retreating there to chill out after fighting my way through the crowds in the Ideal Gardens exhibits ;)

This piano water feature was part of the garden created by Writtle College. I loved this idea! The leaflet about this competition explains:
"Our garden is based on the rejuvenation of the neglected ruins of a Victorian pub."
Certainly an original concept! I like the idea of a ruin being reused.

Eventually Dad and I had looked around everything (some of it multiple times). We bought some cheeses and a bottle of Fireball whisky, and headed out into the sunshine. I had to snap a picture of the Warwick Road entrance to Earl's Court Station as I love the architecture.

Whilst unrelated to the Ideal Home Show, I want to share the service announcement on the board just inside the underground station. I wasn't the only person to stop and take a picture of this. It seems an increasingly common thing in underground stations, though the comments aren't always so philosophical!

"Life is like a kaleidoscope of colours...
Intricate, unexpected and beautiful."
 A nice thought to leave with, and a nice way to round off this post. :)

This was NOT a sponsored post. I write about the events I go to, the shops, products and brands I like, solely because I like them and want others to hear about them.

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