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VM inspiration: The Ideal Home Show

In the UK, where home ownership and renovation are national obsessions, it is near-impossible to visit The Ideal Home Show at least once in a lifetime. Perhaps it is worth a look from a VM viewpoint too?

The major draw must be the three fully-constructed houses, a long-term feature. This year a conservative detached ‘des res’ from Futureform was also a smart home deliberately designed to be extended on a single plot as family needs changed, with lots of domestic technology included. Though, arguably, learning how technology works in hotel rooms is annoying enough without having to do it in your own home too.

The second example was a very interesting passive house, built by Trivyselhus, a Swedish competitor to the well-known Huf Haus. The third was a three-metre wide house, rising three floors high, rather like a stack of shipping containers.

Mindful of VM, of the three the Trivselhus, part-furnished using French Connection’s new range, was the most interesting. It included a distinctively marked broad-planked wooden floor that might be a good idea to borrow for store interiors. It was interesting to see that this part of the the sitting room had so little natural light: almost all housing in the U.K. is probably laid out to allow maximum sunlight in the sitting room. Instead the dining room was adjacent to the larger windows.

Fascinating to see a mini-version of the old black and white tile at entrance, laid AB repeat just as the Victorians/Edwardians did. It also calls Prada to mind.

Upstairs, M&S’s Tianna range of copper-handled bedroom furniture and matching lighting was styled with a voile drape around the bed, mosquito-net style. Very ‘VM.’

The three metre-wide house was painted in strong dark teal blues with a black entrance hall and kitchen. As VM practitioners will know, dark wall colours damage easily and also require increased lux levels to achieve the same lighting levels as lighter colours.

The paint and tile finishes in individual room sets, created by Ideal Home Magazine, were interesting too. Using three toning colours with a bucolic-illustration style horizon was interesting in this bathroom. Perfect for a store window?

The city skyline effect of massed blocks of coloured tiling was good too.

This Copper & Clay finish was slightly less successful. Whilst is might work tone-on-tone, or perhaps with three analogous shades rather than two, we can all imagine the comments: ‘Run out of paint luv…?’ The shallow shelves with framed canvas have been widely adopted in VM but, nevertheless, it is a good use of a plain wall and can also be used to incorporate merchandise.

Here is the most interesting use of paint to emphasis shelves, with two tone-on-tone paint shades on adjacent walls, the painted rectangle behind the shelves enhances the display on the shelves without adding distracting mass and at minimal cost.

Gardens are well represented at the exhibition, with winners of a student competition, Chichester College’s secret retreat lends itself to a store window or an internal dividing space between departments for a spring layout.

Writtle College’s planted wall would be a great backdrop, especially using artificial grass.

Roof gardens were incorporated in all of the houses. Here is a view of the passive house, this time without the other new must-have: a barbeque pit.

The Ideal home show runs at Olympia until April 6th