By Collette Hanlon, creative director of Home Stagers
Usually a trip to a design show like Grand Designs will leave me buzzing with fresh design ideas inspired by exciting new products. This year however the inspiration came not from the stands but from the lecture theatre hosted by Kevin McCloud. It is probably indicative of the current economic climate but all of the lectures had sustainability, recycling and eco design at their core.
I listened as one of Britain’s most influential designers Kelly Hoppen traded insights with Kevin about what makes a perfect home; how spaces that look aesthetically pleasing have to meet the demands of busy lifestyles by functioning well for the home owners. I am not sure we could all follow Kelly Hoppen’s lead of converting the largest room in the house into a luxury bathroom but most of us probably have something in our homes that can be attributed to her extraordinary design innovation.
‘This Old House, My Dream Eco Refurb’ was the title of the lecture delivered by green designer Oliver Heath. In true designer fashion Oliver is using his own 1960’s Brighton semi as a working project to translate his passion for eco design and energy saving technologies. Some of them are common sense and common place like insulation. But the project has also given Oliver an opportunity to work with new materials and developing technologies in the residential sector like heat exchangers that extract heat and moisture from one area of the house and recycle it into another more useful space.
All of the designers I met at Grand Designs including Kathryn Rayward of BBC’s Cracking Antiques share my love of using vintage and recycled products in a design scheme. Using antiques and vintage pieces in your home not only makes a sound green choice they add a warm familiarity that is food for the soul! For me a home should be comfortable and have character and that simply cannot be achieved by replicating a high street store in your living room. Kevin McCloud summed up his feelings on home with a quote from Charles Dickens ‘Home is a name, a word, it is a strong one; stronger than magician ever spoke, or spirit ever answered to, in the strongest conjuration’.