A cup of coffee with That’s So Gemma

Interior stylist That's So Gemma positioning storage baskets in a bedroom

We sat down with Gemma Gear, freelance interior stylist and author of esteemed blog, That’s So Gemma, to discover more about her career, home and interior design.

That's So Gemma sitting on a wicker bench with green plants around

How would you describe your style?

Believe it or not, this is a tough one to answer! Being an interior stylist, I have to be quite versatile in my designs with many varying projects and briefs to work on. I think I almost always fall in love with something different about every single style, which is reflected in my own home. I have a very eclectic mix of things that I love, which in effect makes my own ‘style’ quite unique. I think it’s safe to say that I absolutely love colour and vibrant mixes of patterns and textures, so I always try to bring a little bit of ‘me’ in that way to each project that I work on.

Where do you look for inspiration?

That's So Gemma walking in a cacti park

I quite often find inspiration from things when I least expect it, even more so when I’m not actually looking for it! Even just being outside in nature is a great source of inspiration for colour and texture. I found huge inspiration when travelling to India and Marrakech last year, again for the clash of colours and patterns. I also love to visit design exhibitions for research on upcoming trends. Decorex and the Design Centre is brilliant for this.

What do you think makes a house a home?

Well, they say ‘Home is where the heart is’ for a reason. I believe what truly makes a home is a place that you feel most comfortable in. It should be a space that you curate from things that inspire you, and make you feel happy. Whether that be on trend, or not, it shouldn’t matter! Everyone has their own personal taste and style and your home is the one place where you can truly show that off to make it feel like your own.

What do you think will be big in homes & interiors in 2020?

Plants are most definitely becoming more of a popular trend, not just because of their leafy-green aesthetic, but because of their ability to improve wellbeing too. I’ve always been a huge plant hoarder, so I’m pleased to see they’re being appreciated more in interiors. Sustainability is becoming another huge factor in people’s homes and design ideas. Organic materials such as reclaimed wood furniture is being favoured for its durability. In terms of colours, deep jewel tones are definitely on the ‘up’ this year. Emerald greens, teal and amber is a great combination for 2020 trends.

What pieces at Modish Living are you lusting over at the moment?

Standford Reclaimed Wood Dining Table with green plants on top

The Standford range definitely has me swooning the most. I absolutely love the combination of wood and metal as it makes a really modern aesthetic. The reclaimed wood dining table is brilliant too as it cleverly extends so that it can be more compact in a room. The bamboo pendant ceiling lights are another huge fave of mine too. I am a proud owner of the Bamboo Manta Pendant Light which hangs perfectly over my stairwell!

What’s your favourite room in the house and why?

Funnily enough I have recently spoken about this with my partner as we moved into our new house just a few months ago. We’ve put so much love into each of the rooms in our home, but I can safely say that my favourite room in the house is our bedroom. It feels very warm and cozy, and is filled with lots of sentiments and pictures. It really does feel homely and I genuinely believe it’s because we’ve filled it with things that all mean something. I also have a lovely chair by the window which I enjoy sitting in to relax, and the original cast iron fireplace gives the room tons of character.

What’s the trick to pulling together an interior scheme?

Modish Living mood board created by That's So Gemma

Mood boarding is a great way of planning a scheme. If you’re new to designing/planning interiors for a room then it’s really useful to gather your ideas and see it all in one place. Use paint charts, fabric/wallpaper samples and cut out pictures of furniture pieces to create a collage of materials for the room you are planning; it will not only help you decide what things you prefer but also make you aware if something is not quite right. I’m a visual learner, so it’s important that I do this prior to any project I work on… it’s also a lot of fun to do!

How did you become an interior stylist?

Gemma Gear behind the scenes of a Modish Living photoshoot

I started as a visual merchandiser in home retail stores such as Laura Ashley and Zara Home. I always knew I had a passion for interiors and creating visual displays, so when I found out more about interior styling it was like a ‘light bulb’ moment in my head as I realised it was what I wanted to do. I reached out to a few editors of various interior magazines, and I was lucky enough to get some work experience and assist on a few shoots before being confident enough to go solo. It took a lot of motivation, endless emails and copious amounts of coffee whilst building my online website and portfolio, but here I am now, with no turning back!

Gemma Gear behind the scenes at a bedroom photoshoot for Modish Living

What’s a typical day like for you?

That's So Gemma on the beach with her dog

Just recently I became a very proud dog owner, so my day now always starts off with a long dog walk, which is brilliant for my mental health and ensures I start my day feeling fresh and energised. The type of projects I am working on will determine what my day will generally be like. Quite often I’ll be mood-boarding or curating plans for a photoshoot, and other days I’ll be out prop shopping or visiting press shows. It’s safe to say that my day-to-day life is quite spontaneous as I rarely have two weeks the same, but I very much enjoy working in different places with different people each week, so it suits me perfectly.

Your dream house is on fire. What three items do you grab?

Great question! If we are not including my partner and pup, then it would have to be the following three things: Firstly, my storage box filled with sentiments and photographs – I’m pretty sure everyone has one of these tucked away that they couldn’t walk away from! Secondly, my colourful pouffe from Marrakech that’s hand knotted and made from different types of fabrics. It reminds me of a fantastic holiday and I would be gutted to see it go up in flames. Finally, my giant peace lily plant. I’ve been keeping it alive for 8 years now and it’s probably one of my most proudest accomplishments! It always gets commented on… How could I let that burn?!