The Self Build Queen: Meet Gemma from @Border_build

The Self Build Queen: Meet Gemma from @Border_build

Building your own home is an aspiration to many, we caught up with Gemma from @ Border_build to chat all things design and her incredible self build project!

So Gemma, what inspired you to start an Insta Account?

I had been following a few build accounts for inspiration for a while. I was completely engrossed in planning the details of our build so it seemed a good way of documenting ideas, the self build journey as well as collaborating with others. I’m also very happy talking building and renovations so was keen to pass on any tips that helped me to my followers. 

What do you feel made your account such a success?

I think this had something to do with the type of project we were embarking on. I was genuinely obsessed with the build (dubbed my “fifth child”) and I think that probably came across in the account. 

What advice would you give to someone who wanted to start a build project account?

All my pictures were taken on an iPhone but I tried my best to get the best angles & kept the grid looking as pretty as possible. I think posting regularly also helps. It’s changed since I started and seems to be more about reels these days.

marlowe vase

Whose Accounts do you draw most inspiration from?

One of my absolute favourite accounts is @houseobsessed. I’m not as immersed in instagram as I was during the build but I still keep an eye on what Sara is up to.

Charlested Gemma

Which is your favourite room in the house?

Without question the kitchen. Nothing beats the feeling of walking in there and the sense of calm that comes from being immersed in nature with all the glazing which is echoed in the greens and oaks of the kitchen finish. I especially love the kitchen in summer when everything is lush and green. The house feels cocooned in the trees. It’s very tranquil, even with two sets of twins!

There's a fire at the house, what interiors item are you taking with you?

Oooooh, that’s uncomfortable to think about. First things first, once I know my husband, Rob has safely ushered the children and the dog out, I would have to make a dash to grab the two large canvases in the lounge area. Firstly, and the more important of the two, the Camilla Jane Gittins which was a commissioned piece by my sister. Secondly, the Karen Pierce canvas which was a gift from my mother.

Where are you favourite places to shop for interiors? (Apart from CharlesTed of course!)

The most enjoyable part of any project for me is the planning. I get more excited about the fabric of the build. Finishing details are my nemesis & the part I find hardest to plan. However, I would add that our interiors are quite minimalist. The architecture and surroundings do the heavy lifting rather than the interiors as such. I realise I haven’t actually answered the question! 

What's on your CharlesTed shopping list?

I absolutely LOVE the Emma ottoman. Also, the Hampton winged chair would be gorgeous in our bedroom. 

Emma Ottoman

You can only follow one account for the rest of your life... Who's is it?

@Mamasstillgotit - humour shouldn’t be underestimated. Closely followed by @themidult - Again, for humour!

Were there any unintended consequences of setting up a home account?

Something I never imagined creating the account is the friends I’ve made. Some from the world of instagram and some just people that live nearby that I would never have met if it wasn’t for the account. I’ve met up with Sue from @talltrees.and.scandidreams on many an occasion. I regularly meet up with Bo from @willow_grove_home, Manisha from @write_to_manisha, Emily from @the_changing_house and Faye @inside_fayes_life. I never expected to make friends from the account. 


How easy is it to get brands involved?

I’ve only worked with a few brands to date. I only ever work with brands I’m genuinely happy to promote. AO being one of the most successful reels I’ve ever made and one of the highest ticket items received. It’s not something I’ve done a lot of. It can be hard to find the time to keep up with everything. 

House Dan Boyington on behalf of Lloyd architecture

What happens when the house is built?

We live (mostly) happily ever after. Raise the children. I think we would probably build or overhaul another house before considering replacing the kitchen or bathrooms here. So maybe 15 years plus. We still feel we have one more in us in the long run.

ceramic house

What's your next project?

The finishing of the house was side tracked by a recent coastal holiday house renovation (see @tyr_ysgol). A very different project to the building of our home. The ex headmasters ‘school house’ renovation to a holiday home (available for short stays, plug intended!). In the past 9 years, we’ve had two sets of twins, two renovations, the new build as well as completing my degree…. So what’s next? Some normality please! And focusing on my day job as a chartered financial adviser. 


Who is your dream dinner party guest and what would be on the menu?

My dream dinner party is one where I am surrounded by my inner circle. Friends and family that bring nothing but joy. Ideally cooked by someone else so I can relax and enjoy the dinner party. An extensive selection of canapés is more important to me than desert. One day, I’d love to have @hiddenweddingsandevents to organise a celebration… ideally with Georgia @comynbruce catering and @fergandco at the bar. Tablescapes by @charlested, naturally!


What is your favourite way to decorate your table for guests?

I tend to keep my table quite simplistic. I like to add height with candles and love to have fresh cuttings. I’d love to create a suspended display one day ‘when I have more time’. I watch the way in which Hannah & Kate curate their content, seemingly effortless in complete awe. It goes over my head, the part I find the hardest. So seeing the CharlesTed tablescapes is a huge source of inspiration! 

** Property Images credited to Dan Boyington on behalf of Lloyd Architecture ** 

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