At Home With Gemma @gems_1920s_home
Each week we feature the people responsible for some of the best Instagram home theme accounts.
This week we are at home with Gemma the hardworking lady behind the very popular home instagram account @gems_1920s_home where she shares a never ending journey making her 1920's house a home.
Tell us a bit about you
I’m Gemma! I’m 34 and live with my husband and four year old daughter, Sophia. I am a manager in the public sector and since having my daughter I work part time. I have a much better work life balance since reducing my hours and am able to focus more on family, and things that I love, such as photography and developing our house!
Tell us about your home
We live in a 4 bedroom detached house that was built in 1921. It has some of the original features such as the tile creases above the windows and doors which I really love. We also have beautiful, distinctive internal doors too which are just part of the house!
We are very lucky to have a spacious and established garden which will definitely be on our list to develop in the future – we hope to refurbish our kitchen and utilise the existing granite worktops in an outdoor kitchen area, but we haven’t set a timescale on this as we have learned that everything takes us longer than planned!
Our house is in East Yorkshire and I love it here. We live very close to some amazing countryside and also not too far from the sea, so I consider us to be very lucky.
How would you describe your home?
Patchwork?! I really love a minimal style, but this isn’t practical for me in reality so I blend this with my love of traditional details and hope that the result is pleasing!
My style has definitely evolved over the last few years of being in this home. I love to see many of the homes on Instagram and Pinterest that are bursting with colour however I much prefer muted tones in my own home with plenty of black accents to anchor it down and prevent it from being insipid or too washed out.
Which is your favourite room in the house and why?
This is a really tough one but I would have to say the utility room because we converted our garage to have it and it really does reflect my style perfectly. It is the most functional space in the home and I am really pleased and proud with how the planning of it turned out. We used a local joiner who measured it all out for us but we planned each cupboard and space out ourselves.
Previously there was a washer dryer in the kitchen so the biggest benefit is no longer tripping over washing piles when you are cooking dinner!
How does your home reflect any passions or interests that you have?
I am absolutely in love with France and always will be! I love the culture, the history, the language, the way of life, the food, the wine…. Feel free to stop me!
I try to have a little flavour of France in each room. My favourite French elements are the French Louis style chairs in the lounge bay window, and the French prints above the spare bed that are a play on words.
In the future when the constant decorating slows down and there is more time for finishing and styling I plan on creating some more wall art and photography myself, and also featuring one or two of my father’s watercolour paintings as he was a wonderful painter. These will be lovely personal representations within the home.
What are your favourite items in your home?
I would say my desk and chair in the study (Barker and Stonehouse), the Louis Style chairs in the lounge (Provensalle Furniture) the large coffee table in the lounge (Barker and Stonehouse) and the large chandelier in the lounge (RV Astley). They are all really key pieces that are distinctive and will stand the test of time. Sometimes you just know when you have bought something classic that you will love forever and that’s what these things are for me.
When you moved into your house was it the finished article or was it a project?
The home had some lovely finishes and was decorated thoughtfully throughout by the previous owners but I think in any home you want to make it your own and have it in your own style.
We had to upgrade the whole heating system which was a big expense when starting out (and one of those things that is not pretty to look at so painful to pay for!) and the other major thing was the
utility room, aside from that we are just working our way through decorating as we go along.
Have you done any renovation?
We have both learned LOTS about the construction of the house and how the systems worked as we moved here from a new build so it was entirely different! We give most things a go ourselves and have learned lots from YouTube videos. My husband has really been motivated to do lots in this home which has been great, from bits of joinery to how to inject a damp proof course! I was previously the main DIYer in the relationship but I was expecting Sophia when we moved in so I was limited to what I could do and he really stepped up his game.
My proudest DIY is painting the dining room because cutting in the black against the ‘greige’ was tricky but I think it looks neat; definitely not professional but neat will do!
Have you had any DIY or styling disasters?
Yes! 2 days before Christmas, in attempt to cure our squeaky floorboards before the carpet fitter came, my poor husband managed to screw through a central heating pipe!! Water everywhere right through the newly painted ceiling and new light fitting! Nightmare!
What is your top home styling tip?
For me with styling, less is always more – I will faff for a while with a shelf and fill it full of objects that I love but will always take it all back down and end up with a more stripped back look. If in doubt, fresh flowers!
Is there anything in your home that you couldn’t live without?
No, there are things that I absolutely adore and have worked really hard for but there’s only my husband and my daughter in this house that I couldn’t be without!
They say every home tells visitors a story about who lives there, what do you think your home says about you?
I’m not sure what my home says about me, however I would hope that visitors to my home would say that they felt good whilst they were here. For me that is what spaces are about really, how they make you feel. I always try to ensure that visitors to my home feel welcome and comfortable.
The Home Edit
Lived in look or showhome?
If you could only paint your walls one colour, which one would it be?
Argh! Maybe ammonite by Farrow and Ball as it looks really versatile and has a bit of warmth to it so would still feel cosy.
What is your pet hate when it comes to your own or other’s homes?
Creaky floorboards…and we have plenty!
Favourite front door colour?
Black - always classic
Carpet or floorboards?
Kitchen table dining or formal dining room?
High gloss or rustic?
Wallpaper or brick walls?
Brick walls – I love exposed brickwork!
If you enjoyed being at home with Gemma, you might like to take a look inside other popular home styling accounts on instagram and find out more about the people behind them. You can see more of these "at home with" articles here