Grand Designs Live on trend

Private Property South Africa
Jackie Gray-Parker

Grand Designs Live has evolved to become one of the premier home and garden events on South Africa’s calendar. This year’s event proved that the show is still very much on trend.

The show was segmented into six main sections: Grand Interiors, Grand Kitchens, Grand Bathrooms, Grand Gardens, Grand Build and Grand Gourmet. For the first time in the history of the show a brand new central feature took centre stage: The Easylife Kitchens Celebrity Chefs Theatre and the Waterwise Garden Theatre where visitors could interact with experts in their field. Visitors could kick back and relax at the show’s new Bubbly Bar and Grand Restaurants where gourmet meals were served. Black & Decker, the show’s headline sponsor also had an interactive feature which spanned the Grand Build and Grand Kitchens displays.

Two major themes emerged this year - DIY and Sustainability:

While not ‘new’ trends per se, it’s clear that these trends have gained a lot of ground in recent times and are really coming into their own.


Mayan Desai, Trade Marketing Manager for Stanley Black & Decker elaborated on the DIY trend: “DIY has really caught on both locally and internationally. The reason for the surge in popularity is multi-faceted. People view DIY as a fun way to spend their leisure time, be creative, do something together with their families, save money and tap into the ‘up-cycling’ trend. By doing something themselves, people also know that it is (hopefully) being done properly.”

In South Africa, Desai says DIY is also gaining in popularity because there is an emerging middle class. Many people in this segment have become home owners for the first time, have some disposable income and wish to ‘feather their nests’. DIY projects present an affordable way to do so.

That said, Desai points out that DIY transcends market segments, it’s just the nature of the project that differs. For instance, while well-off individuals will typically work on decorative DIY pieces such as recycled glass chandeliers and frames, others will work on more functional pieces and projects such as furniture and tiling.

Adds Desai: “If you are interested in DIY but are hesitating because you ‘don’t know anything about it’ or are nervous about picking up tools, don’t be. DIY is easier than you think and can be learned in a fairly short space of time. There are numerous ‘how to’ books and videos available on the topic which can assist your DIY endeavours. Black & Decker also offers loads of information and resources on the topic.

“It’s also worth mentioning that DIY projects often translate into business opportunities. Many a person has gone into business for themselves after discovering that they are quite proficient in the DIY arena and end up making a living from it.”


Of course there were myriad other elements to the show, many of which were of the sustainable persuasion. Sustainable gardening techniques were showcased alongside recycling solutions, energy saving products and much more besides. There were beautiful handmade mosaic items for sale, countless décor items, ‘cocoon’ hammocks and various other garden and home related services for sale, such as those offered by Prime Home Design Studio.

Prime Home Design Studio offers home staging, professional organising and interior design. According to Carla Cronje of Prime Home Design Studio, demand for home staging has increased in leaps and bounds.

Explains Cronje: “Previously, home staging was largely used by developers who wanted to showcase a show house. Now, people across the board are utilising home staging as they have realised it can greatly enhance the appeal of their home and facilitate a quick sale or help move a property which has failed to land any offers.”

According to Cronje, home staging is largely about de-cluttering and enhancing a property’s best features. Depending on the budget, Cronje and her team can either work primarily with what is available, rent or purchase a few choice items or completely re-decorate a home. The company can also focus on certain rooms in need of ‘neutralising’ or they can give an entire property a facelift.

In terms of professional organising, Cronje says demand for this service has also grown significantly of late with much of the demand stemming from commercial clients and fairly well-off women who want better organised homes and work spaces.

As for interior design, Cronje and her team cater to projects across the board, including B&B’s, homes and offices. Work on such projects typically begins with a mood board and design report following which an action plan is executed in phases which allows for greater flexibility for everyone involved.

Of course a great deal of trust and sensitivity goes into every sphere of Cronje’s business. As for advice regarding trends? Cronje says durability and quality never go out of style and that copper is going to be around for some time to come.

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