Justina Blakeney doesn’t like a waste of space. So when the interior designer and founder of Jungalow moved into a 1926 Spanish Bungalow in Frogtown, she knew she had to do something with its empty garage. So she added some shelving. Painted the walls a cheery cream. Threw a fuzzy blue shag rug on the floor and, on top of that, a bright orange couch. She even took on more laborious renovations: adding windows to bathe the room in soft California sunshine, and installing a bar with her favorite liquors. The result? Her “casita.”
It may only be 300 square feet, but the casita is truly a room of many purposes. It’s where Blakeney does her virtual workouts, where her daughter paints, and where her husband organizes his record collection. During better times, they used to entertain here. (The casita even hosted Blakeney’s 40th birthday bash—“We made drinks at the bar inside the casita and passed them through the big window to folks sitting on the other side of the bar in the backyard,” she recalls.) Now, however, she uses it as a home office. Her latest project? A new book with Abrams, Jungalow: Decorate Wild, on sale April 6.
As the book’s name, and the casita, imply, Blakeney is not one for simple style. She loves “lots of bold color, pattern, and plants,” as well as an “eclectic mix of vintage and newer items that all have a handmade feel.” Dotting the shelves are vintage ceramics and objets d’art she’s collected during her travels: a terracotta bowl from Santa Fe’s annual Indian Market, a reproduction of Brancusi’s “The Kiss” sculpture from the Guggenheim gift shop. The bar is overlaid with moody blue tiles adorned with egrets, a nod to her home’s waterfront surroundings. “Since we live near the L.A. river, and see birds like this soaring over our home frequently, I wanted to incorporate them into the casita,” she says.
And, since this is California after all, making the space feel light and airy was a top priority. She used reclaimed woods when possible, and installed a skylight and french doors. Her vision, she says, is that “everything inside the casita feels weathered and shaped by time.”
Below, shop products inspired by Justina Blakeney’s favorite room: