Thursday, 24 March 2011

ON LOCATION: Ideal Home Show 2011, Earls Court

Having not been to one before, I didn't know quite what to expect from the annual Ideal Home Show at Earls Court, London. Adding to this, I had also heard of some 'Ken Barlow chic' going on- what was I going to? However, after overcoming the crowds and old women constantly clipping my heels with their bulging shopping trolley's, I must say I was quite impressed. Split into sections, including Ideal Interiors, Ideal Food, Ideal Woman (complete with catwalk might I add), Ideal Shopping and various others, there was plenty to keep me entertained for a full day.
Prince Charles even stopped by. Image Credit: Ideal Home Show.
Being too excited to do anything else, I headed straight to the Ideal Interiors section and made my way to the room sets. There were some lovely decorating ideas here, my favourite being the girls room set (pictured below) which had walls washed in pale grey and a papered feature wall in Rosabella by Wallpaper Direct. Inside there was a lovely candy striped duvet from BHS, simple white furniture which complemented the pale walls perfectly, and polka dot roller blind. The finishing touches made it a perfect kids room: the 'tree' coat stand covered in fairy lights, the funky leather rocking chair and bold botanical print rug.
Girls room set at the Ideal Home Show
Leather rocker chair available at Dwell
As well as the girls room there were room sets of a kitchen, living room (tribal-inspired), bedroom (boutique-inspired), and bathroom. All of which gave me some great ideas for my flat. Here's a few pics, though I'm afraid my photography 'skills' don't do them much justice.
After I'd ogled the room sets, I queued up to see inside the Open Plan Living House, built by Scandinavian builders Jorntrahus who combine eco-efficiency with comfort and practicality. The house itself looked great, if a little bit cabin-esque. Inside was decorated brightly, showing off sponsor Dulux's new colour range. The rooms were smart, full of clean lines and typically Scandinavian. Below is the open plan living room.
Image Credit: Ideal Home Show
Next up was No. 1 Coronation Street. Yep that's right. I actually went to Ken and Deirdre's house.
Look familiar? The replica of the famous house was good fun, but the real reason for the soap set was that next door architect George Clarke had renovated the exact same living space to show you how to decorate a small space in an eco-friendly way. Even though these houses were exactly the same size, the interiors looked incredibly different. Below is Ken Barlow's kitchen the George Clarke way.
White storage units available at B&Q
After all this excitement I was due a snack break. Luckily there was a floating restaurant nearby. Phew. 
After lunch I had a leisurely stroll through the stalls to see what was on offer. I must say there were some great stands at the exhibition and I found some independent companies I'd not heard of before. For me, the pick of the bunch was Black Bird Creators who are based in West Ealing. Black Bird Creators design and build unique 'art furniture' which is made through a collaboration of different artists over a period of time. This means that every piece of furniture is incredibly different to the next and is of an extremely high quality. Their aim is to 'reinvent one's view of what furniture may convey', and I think they succeed.
Black Bird Creators stall at the Ideal Home Show
Colourful ethnic textiles at Black Bird Creators
Image Credit: Black Bird Creators
Image Credit: Black Bird Creators
Right, well I've rambled on for long enough now, if you like what you've seen get yourself down to Earls Court before it finishes on Sunday. Or check out their website for all the news, pictures and exhibitors.

{Images: Laura Blanksby, except where stated}
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