People often think that if they’re not a creative, they’ll never have a home they love,” says Justina Blakeney, founder and creative director of Jungalow, a design studio, blog and shop that helps individuals bring serenity into their living spaces. “They believe they need someone to do the work for them, and I just don’t think that’s true.”
Blakeney has been pushing folks to go to town with color, patterns, fresh air and good light since she parlayed her consulting business into an awardwinning blog in 2009. “We started with content—writing stories, taking photos and sharing ideas,” she recalls. “I kind of reverse-engineered the whole thing. I had this built-in audience from my blog and knew what they liked and I knew what I liked. I was able to [extend] that into what I’m doing now.”
My design aesthetic is wild, colorful. It’s pattern-full. It’s junga-licious.”
And what she’s doing now is pretty impressive. Brands tap Blakeney on the regular to add her signature junga-licious aesthetic to everything from furniture lines with Anthropologie to Granada Tile collaborations to whimsical wallpaper. “When I started out, the feedback I received was that my stuff was not commercial; it was conceptual and really loud,” she says.
But remaining true to her style and leaning into her “wild woman-ness” helped Blakeney carve out a lane that’s fun, fruitful and unapologetically her: “Every retail store needs editorial items that feel memorable. I pitched myself as that memorable thing that would help draw customers in.”
As Blakeney evolves, she’s adamant about mentoring other artists of color who are coming up in the industry. “There’s all kinds of subtle racism that goes on [in this space],” she says. “I’ve been able to change the dynamic of projects I’m working on and make it more diverse.” We’re aligned.
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NEW YORK TIMES BEST-SELLING AUTHOR JUSTINA BLAKENEY OFFERS SIMPLE TECHNIQUES TO UPGRADE YOUR SPACE AND MAKE YOUR HOME FEEL GOOD