Written by Caley Vanular on January 20, 2016
Here at World Housing we’re excited to introduce a new series of stories that will explore the thoughts and opinions of a wide spectrum of people as they consider the concept of “home” and what makes one feel special. From architects to photographers, artists to interior designers, we’ve opened up this discussion with some of the people who, we believe, know what it truly takes to make a house a home, always anchoring with the question, what does a home mean to you?
Meet Justina Blakeney, Justina is an LA based interior designer and author of best-selling book The New Bohemians. She is known for her use of color, plants, travel, creative reuse and thrifting through interior design. Her iconic bohemian aesthetic is influenced by her multicultural upbringing and love for exploring the world. This convergence of culture and design has allowed her to carve her own path and share her unique take on a modern day home to a larger audience. As an expert at turning a ‘house’ into a ‘home’, we had a conversation with Justina to learn more about what a ‘home’ means to her. Take a moment to read about Justina’s inspirations and feelings towards creating a home below…
Where are you from? What are the strongest feelings of home in your hometown?
I am from Berkeley, CA. Since I no longer live in Berkeley (and my parents no longer live there), I think that when I go back, it’s Tilden Park, and the drive up to the park that feels most like home. Lot’s of other things have changed, but the bends in the road, the smell of the trees, the view from the top of the hill — that still feels like home.
What does home mean to you?
Home to me is a wet canvas…it means creativity, good vibes, relaxation, productivity, music, flux, growth, cuddles, colors, comfort food, warmth…family!
What are your thoughts on how a home can impact our overall happiness?
I believe that having a happy home can have a profound effect on quality of life. Being somewhere where one feels safe, comfortable, and free is intimately connected with happiness. Just like a great outfit can give you added confidence, I think that a great home that reflects your personality can make you feel like your best self.
How do these thoughts influence your thinking when you’re designing the interior of a home?
I like to try and make a home reflect the owners as much as possible. That means including elements from that person’s family, culture, travels, ideas. Also, I think a lot about color and what that can do for a person’s mood. If a person wants a place to relax, I turn towards beachy serene blues or corals, but if a space is meant to be more exciting or stimulating, I’ll turn to reds and oranges.
What do you look for in a home?
Great natural light, airiness, natural materials, plants, color, items that reflect the owners.
Have you found ways to design a space that people feel generally happier in?
I think so. My clients in the past have told me that after designing their homes they now love to entertain (when they didn’t before), they enjoy just being at home and relaxing and that they love the way they feel when they get home. That’s huge for me. I wouldn’t necessarily know how to break down how I know how to design spaces that make people happy — it’s a kind of sixth sense maybe?? Or maybe just practice!
What qualities make a house a home?
People, plants, and pets!
What can you tell us about your bohemian aesthetic and multicultural upbringing in Berkeley, California?
I could tell you a whole lot about it! But I think what it comes down to is contrast. I think that both my bohemian aesthetic and my multicultural upbringing play in contrasts — different things/people/cultures/colors meeting and creating contrast — which highlights the beauty of the differences and similarities.
What have your travels taught you about the word ‘home’ and what it means to different people?
I think that home is family, and that’s universal.