The term “bohemian” is historically a fluid category. Now Los Angeles-based stylist, blogger and design maven Justina Blakeney shares updated interpretations of the free-spirited aesthetic and worldview with the publication Wednesday of “The New Bohemians: Cool and Collected Homes" (Stewart, Tabori & Chang). The coffee table book offers a look inside 20 residences, along with utilitarian resources such as a houseplant guide and DIY project instructions to re-create select featured décor details.
Blakeney’s Instagram feed and blog, the Jungalow, have dedicated followers who track her daily updates of interior design work, handmade undertakings, cooking suggestions, general musings and projects such as Face the Foliage, a portrait series using plant materials that’s attracted international participants via social media. She’s also among the artisans taking part in the Crafting Community weekend retreat at the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs on May 1-3. Blakeney spoke to us by phone from her Crown Hill home near Echo Park.
Your presentation of “New Bohemianism” doesn’t seem to have “rules” per se, but what are some, say, guidelines to the style?
Color, pattern and plants kind of encapsulate it. All the houses have that kind of wild flair in common – literally and figuratively.
How did you select the 20 homes featured in ‘The New Bohemians’?
When we began the search, I didn’t have exact criteria. I was looking for something that called to me in some shape or form. I had a handful of homes I knew I wanted to feature from the get go, and we did a call-out. We scoured Instagram, looking through hashtags and looking for boutique owners, for instance.
Do you have any advice for managing the glut of online information so that all of the DIY resources available to us can be constructive and motivational, rather than overwhelming and paralyzing?
I use Pinterest not to look at the general feed, but I look at the boards of specific people who I really admire. If you know you love Mara Hoffman or Isabel Marant, you can look at their pages, and people like that can help you sift through a lot of the dreck.
[That’s why] a real goal for me with the book was to make it really accessible, and to give readers the tools to achieve that look. It holds your hand through the process, step-by-step.
Which places in Los Angeles do you find most inspiring?
I love this city so much. On Sunday my husband and I brought our daughter to the L.A. River from Frogtown, stopped at this new café called Spoke, and biked down into Atwater. I love what’s happening at the river now; it feels like a renaissance. The arboretum is a place I often go. It’s so relaxing and inspiring, a real pleasurable place to be. I love how there are so many places in L.A. that don’t feel like you’re in L.A.
What are some of your local shopping resources for home decor and DIY projects?
I go downtown a lot to the Fashion District and the Flower District, to random hole-in-the-wall shops and wander in. I go to Michael Levine and the discount bins upstairs. Obviously I’m a flea market hound. Now my favorite market is the Pasadena City College market; it’s not as intimidating as the Rose Bowl and you don’t have to pay to get in. I like Shopclass in Highland Park. They have nice midcentury pieces at good prices. I love Skylight Books. We go there after doing art at Barnsdall Park. Individual Medley in Atwater is a favorite, and DeKor in Echo Park is a place I go for inspiration. I’m at Lawson Fenning a lot, and every now and again I leave with a little treat for myself.