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Lately I’ve had a few people ask me what my dream design project is.  It’s a really tough question to answer. As much as I love decorating people’s homes, right now it’s the idea of decorating a boutique hotel sounds really fun.  Maybe it’s the creative freedom that I imagine comes from a project like this, or maybe it’s all of the super old and janky (but also really cool and retro looking) Motels in L.A. that I drive by every day and imagine buying and making over…But I’m kind of getting obsessed with the idea.

Have you seen the newly opened Hotel Covell here in my ‘hood in L.A.?  It was design by Sally Breer of the firm Co-Mingle. Look how cute it is:

hotel-covell-room-suites_ch4_a hotel-covell-gallerych-4-kitchen

I know, right?!  Then there is the American Trade Hotel in Panama City, Panama. This one was designed by Commune

america-trade-hotel american-trade-hotel

Love the twine around the chairs! They’ve got my DIY brain stirring.

Do you remember the tiniest hotel in the world that I visited in Copenhagen? Now that’s a design project I could handle :P !! But anyway…you see where I’m going with this boutique hotel business, right? I love the idea of designing a space for a vacation–I could feel totally at liberty to be over-the-top and flamboyant, jungalicious and maximal and each room could be totally different. It just sounds like a really fun project, don’t you think? So if you happen to be in the process of making a boutique hotel and are looking for someone to help add a little bit of jungalow love to the space…you know where to find me. 



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THE+NEW+BOHEMIANS--Illustration by Monica Ramos

When I first came across the work of Monica Ramos I gasped out loud. It was this painting that I saw floating down my Pinterest feed and I was stopped in my tracks–I found myself immediately googling, tumblring and pinteresting all of her work that I could find.

When it came time to design the end-pages for my book  I wanted it to have a wow-factor and feel really special.  I new I wanted a hand-drawn element, and so I emailed Monica totally out of the blue (#BoldMoves) to ask if she took commissions. I have never commissioned an artist to do anything like this for me before and it was a really exciting prospect, and also a little bit scary. I was so thrilled when she said yes.

To get her started, I sent her a handful of my favorite images from the book and asked her to reference the images without being too literal and I told her that I wanted something with “people, textiles and plants”. After we dealt with contracts and the like, she then send me four sketches, and I chose this one:

Monica Ramos Sketch

When, a few days later, I received the colored version, I got really, really happy.

One of the most fun things to do is to find all of the book’s references in her illustration. For example, the clothing on the people are all inspired by different patterns found in bathroom tiles, rugs and textiles in the book. And I love how the illustration peeks out on either side of the book when it’s open:

The New Bohemians, Cool and Collected Homes by Justina Blakeney The New Bohemians, Cool and Collected Homes by Justina Blakeney The New Bohemians, Cool and Collected Homes by Justina Blakeney


To see more of Monica’s inspiring world, peruse her Tumblr. Pre-order your copy of The New Bohemians, Cool and Collected Homes featuring this beautiful illustration at any of these stores:
Barnes & Noble | Indiebound.org | Books-A-Million  | Powells Books | Abrams | Amazon

The book comes out in just a few weeks!

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Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

You know how I feel about pompoms, right? I mean, I have an entire Pinterest board dedicated to them. And that eye pom?! Wait what?  That’s one reason I’m excited that super-talented Brooklyn based textile artist, Dana Haim is bringing her colorful pom poms to Cali – and teaching us how to make them! Learn the basics of pom pom making, and create a fun pom pom mobile at one of the seven workshops she’ll be teaching in the next few weeks.


For more details, visit her blog or email hello@danahaim.com.


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I’ve really wanted to try marbling, but wanted it to be on something that could stick around my house for awhile.  I thought terracotta pots would be the most jungalowicious option and I was right!  These are SO easy.  I painted these patterned pretties with old nail polish and water- that’s IT.Q95A7641

So, first off, a couple of things to note are:  This can get really messy.  Make sure to do in a ventilated area because of the nail polish fumes.

Okay, ready?

1)  Prep your work area with a drop sheet or lay down newspapers for spillage, splatters and for drying.Q95A7582

2)Get an old bucket that you don’t mind only using for marbling projects from here on in (and if you’re like me…you will immediately be addicted and want to marble everything in sight).  *This is what the bucket will look like when you’re done with it.

3) Fill the bucket half way with room temperature water.  If you’re not sure, let it sit for awhile.

4) Drizzle some old nail polish into the water.  You can do one color at a time or any number or combination you want.  If the polish sits at the top of the water, it is the right temperature and you will get the best results.

5) Dip your pot into the water.  Pull it out to see the immediate (and awesome) results. Q95A7642

Q95A7647 Q95A7649

6) Continue dipping and adding colors, until all sides have been covered and you are happy with your finished object.  I actually did one in only one color- pink- and I think it is my favorite.

Q95A7655 Q95A7659

7) Let dry.

8)  PLANT something in them – show them off in your jungalow or give them as a gift!

What you’ll need:

Old plastic bucket

Latex gloves (that can be thrown out afterwards).  *I made the mistake of using bare hands and had to use a lot nail polish remover to get the mess off my skin at the end.

Terracotta pots

Nail polish – doesn’t have to be fancy; old or cheap work a treat!

Have fun!!  Once you get started, you won’t want to stop…must be something about creating something that you can see the beautiful results so immediately.  Now that I’ve made these, I was thinking that first painting your pots in a matte, solid color like white and then marbling on top once that’s dried could look really amazing.  Any solid color could be really great.  What are you going to try?!

{Project by Nicole Valentine Don for Justina Blakeney est. 1979.}

For more Nicole,  visit her blog and follow her on instagram.
Photos by: Dara Tippapart

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20 March 2015

Patio decor do’s


Image via 

It’s getting hot here in L.A. and neither the studio not my home has air co. which means we’ve been taking things out on the patio.  From outdoor dinners to working al fresco, all this fresh air has got me dreaming of backyard and patio decor. Here are some ideas that I’m loving right now:

1. White Wire Furniture




There is something very romantic about this white wire furniture, don’t you think? And I love the way it contrasts with the greenery. It feels simultaneously old and new, and very fresh, yes?

2. Weathered Wooden Benches:

Images via here.



Dress up the benches in contrasting cushions to get a look that’s inviting and relaxing. Just looking at this makes me want to curl up and take a nap.

3. Greenhouse Planters:


How glorious are these greenhouse planters (and that vintage Planters Peanuts sign?!?) I can picture keeping one of these guys indoors or out and filling it with all kinds of delectable edibles. Aren’t you smitten?

All items featured here can be found on my favorites page over at Chairish. 


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And the search to find the jungalow of our dreams continues!! In this home search, I’ve quickly learned that it’s all about seeing the potential in a home. Not all the homes in our price range look as inviting as this one ^. In fact, a lot of them look downright uninviting, more like this one :


It’s amazing what some cute Spanish tile and a window trim will do to make a house scream “Don’t you wanna live here?!?” And conversely, it’s amazing what a chain-link fence and a lattice-covered porch will do to make a house scream “You really don’t wanna live here!” But, one can’t judge a book by it’s cover, right? What kinda curb appeal would this house have if the chain-link fence was covered in bright bougainvillea? And look at the merits of this guy: That’s a pretty great tree in front of it, there’s a decent amount of space around the home, and that roof looks ripe for solar panels, huh? Plus this white house is about 1.5X the size of the one above it…all good things to keep in mind.

And it’s not just about the outside….Not all homes are staged as beautifully as this one pictured below (that I suspect was staged by my friends at Platform, since I recognize that canvas that they bought from me at my pop-up shot last year.)


Trulia-see-beyond7    Trulia-see-beyond9

Pretty, right? But that’s not what most of the inside of these homes look like. Most of them look like this, a tiny white cube with a mystery view:


or like this:


I mean, is this room growing a beard?? WTF?


Or this one with veneer walls and a highly questionable…rug? moss? I mean what is growing on that floor?!?

But, my friends, you can’t focus on all that when looking for homes to buy…First of all, this house is in Atwater Village and I friggen LOVE Atwater Village. Now picture crisp white walls, hardwood or simple tile on the floor. Paint that rock  behind the potbelly fireplace white…and you may be able to achieve something along these lines:


(Image via)

It’s not a huge leap, right? 


So as we continue our search, Jason and I are organizing the houses we find on our shared boards on Trulia. All the houses I blogged about today are either on our Jungalow Dreams board:

Trulia Boards

or our Jungalow Fixer board:

Screen Shot 2015-03-09 at 10.25.11 PM

We still have a long way to go here…we’re still waiting finish our 2014 taxes and (hopefully!) get pre-approved for a loan–but in the meantime we’re keeping our eyes out, trying to gauge the types of homes we’ll be able to afford, research the different neighborhoods and the schools in them, and decide what types of compromises we’re open to making–because it’s clear we will be making some compromises. Hopefully out walls won’t have beards though.

Also, there is still time to enter to win Trulia’s $25,000 giveaway. One randomly selected person who creates a board on Trulia between now and 4/30 will win some serious cash and credit to One Kings Lane. Now that would help with that down payment, huh? I’m crossign my fingers. And have you taken the Buyers Digs test yet? Apparently, I’m a city-loving frugalist that also happens to be a neat freak and a social butterfly…Who knew!?!

Stay tuned for more news on the house hunting front!

I’m documenting our entire journey of becoming first-time home owners in partnership with the online real-estate site, Trulia. Catch up on all the posts here. 

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Justina Blakeney for Pottery Barn / Photography by Danae Horst

I was thrilled when Pottery Barn asked if I wanted to create a tabletop with their new Under The Sea collection. You know I love a good tabletop challenge and I decided to take this party in a tropical direction. You an see the mood board that I created for this right here:


…and here is the vibe I was aiming for:

My party is inspired by tropical ecosystems. From cocktails made from tropical fruits like lychee and guava to floral details utilizing sculptural pieces like Birds of Paradise and cacti and succulents reminiscent of tropical coral reefs, the table is warm, lively, unexpected and fun.

The menu includes ceviches and crab legs, foods wrapped in banana leaves with lots of spicy salsas and tangy side-dishes. With soft Brazilian jazz playing in the background, this party is a perfect blend of upbeat and relaxing. And here’s a little peek:

Justina Blakeney for Pottery Barn / Photography by Danae Horst Justina Blakeney for Pottery Barn / Photography by Danae Horst    Justina Blakeney for Pottery Barn / Photography by Danae Horst    Justina Blakeney for Pottery Barn / Photography by Danae Horst  Justina Blakeney for Pottery Barn / Photography by Danae Horst Justina Blakeney for Pottery Barn / Photography by Danae Horst

Discover all of my tips and tricks and DIY’s for creating a fun, tropical tabletop over at the Pottery Barn blog, Inside and Out and in this little ‘spotlight.‘ I’m even sharing a party playlist! Later this week they’ll be sharing some of the recipes we developed for this. Also today I’m taking over their Instagram, so follow along to get some peeks behind the scenes. Shop the collection right here, I’m totally crazy for the colorways in the outdoor dinnerware.

This post was created in Partnership with Pottery Barn.
Photography by Danae Horst

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