On Wednesday I was lucky enough to be invited along to an event on the Shangri-La Hotel on the 34th floor of The Shard, to check out some new brand new DIY materials from Rooms Made for You, a newly-launched project from British Gypsum. Never heard of them before? Nor had I. This is because British Gypsum primarily deal with commercial projects and are only just making their first foray into the consumer world. What they were proposing sounded interesting, so I popped along to take a look. And what a location! Here’s a view I’ll never grow tired of…
The presentation consisted of three new products: the Lifestyle Wall, Magnetic Plaster and the Silent Floor. I’m going to start with the Magnetic Plaster, because it was my favourite.
I’ve had some experience with magnetic paint before, so I had a rough idea of what to expect from its plaster counterpart. My Dad used it on the kitchen wall when we were teenagers and my sisters and I used it to leave (rude) messages for each other. We also used to tell gullible friends that the magnets worked because our neighbours had their fridge up against the other side of the wall. Har har. Anyway, the stuff we used worked well enough but it just wasn’t that strong – even with several coats underneath the paint, if you brushed a sleeve against it on your way through the kitchen all the magnets just fell off and got stuck behind the back of the radiator. You certainly couldn’t put a photo between the magnet and the wall. I was half-expecting the plaster to be the same kind of story, but I was pleasantly surprised.
Unlike our metallic paint, the plaster skim is applied in a reasonably thick layer – around 3mm will do the trick. You can see from the picture above that it’s a pretty serious amount of metallic material, so it’s no wonder the magnets stick so much better than they did on our kitchen wall. Fun fact: I’m informed the plaster is actually made from ‘volcanic rock’. Cool. Of course, it hasn’t just been designed so that you can use it to write filthy phrases in alphabet magnets. By fixing stronger, larger magnets to the backs of picture frames, mirrors or even your TV (!) you can safely hang decorations on the wall and move them around as you please.
We got to have a little play with some glue guns and make our own magnets to pin photos to the demo walls. It was fun. I made these button ones!
Next up: the Lifestyle Wall! I’ve had no end of problems with trying to hang pictures, mirrors and the like on our walls. They’re made of solid brick, which is no match for my £10 Argos drill. Other bloggers at the event also complained of problems they’ve had with losing fittings down the back of conventional plasterboard and shelves collapsing a few minutes after installation. Well, the Lifestyle Wall has been designed to solve these and a myriad of other problems – it’s strong enough to hold several kilograms of weight on a single screw, yet soft enough that you can screw into it by hand using a screwdriver. We’re in a rented flat so there’s no way I can install this in my own house, but British Gypsum are hoping it will become the default wall covering in the future for all newly-built homes.
These shelves (beautifully styled by Becky Clarke) aren’t using wall plugs or brackets – they’re fixed by individual screws put directly into the lifestyle wall behind them. Cool huh?
[photo credit: Becky Clarke for Rooms Made For You]
Last up is the Silent Floor. Or perhaps I should call it the silent ceiling, since you actually fit it in the room below the floor you want to silence. The main target group for this one will be families with small children, which isn’t quite my angle. But living in a basement flat I do have some insight into how annoying it is to be woken every Saturday morning by thundering footsteps above your bed. It works by adding an extra space below the ceiling, followed by noise-cancelling insulation, a metal bar to hold it in place and then two layers of sound-blocking boards. Surely enough to keep even the least conscientious of neighbours from bothering you.
Want more? You can read more detailed explanations and watch videos of all of these products on the Rooms Made For You website.
Disclosure: this post was a collaboration with British Gypsum. Words and opinions are all mine.