Step Inside Justina Blakeney’s Vibrant Southern California Home

The creative powerhouse envisions an eclectic new dwelling for her family
Justina Blakeney with husband Jason Rosencrantz and daughter Ida by the pool of their home outside L.A. The lounge chairs are by Safavieh with cushions of Sunbrella fabric, and the fringed umbrellas are by Business & Pleasure Co. Fashion styling by Bettina Bati.

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An unapologetically self-identified maximalist, Justina Blakeney founded trendsetting design blog Jungalow back in 2009 to bring her personal vision of beauty into the world and help others tap into their creativity by better expressing themselves inside their homes. Since then, she’s continued building the Jungalow empire, launching its namesake design brand in 2014 and cultivating a passionately engaged digital community that follows her every move. While the pandemic slowed the world down, Blakeney was busier than ever, publishing her third book, Jungalow: Decorate Wild, and expanding the Opalhouse designed with Jungalow collection for Target. On top of all that, she and her husband, Jason Rosencrantz, and their now nine-year-old daughter, Ida, were also creating a new home.

The multihyphenate entrepreneur vividly recalls the first apartment she lived on her own at the age of 28, a botanical-print-filled space in L.A. that she moved into after spending seven years in Italy. “That was the first time I had a place all to myself,” she recalls. “Although it was somewhat short-lived because I moved in with my then boyfriend—now husband—about a year later, I really was able to express myself in a way that I felt like I had never had the freedom to do before that. It was really just about me.”

Justina Blakeney (wearing an 11 Honoré dress, Ulla Johnson earrings, and Odette New York bracelets and rings) at home in California.

Hair by Tammy Yi using Goldwell hair products at Exclusive Artists Management; makeup by Soledad Waddell at Crosby Carter Mgmt.

1970s rattan-and-chrome chairs surround a 1980s Italian travertine dining table, both from Chairish. Wood Senufo stool; rug by Justina Blakeney for Loloi; on walls, Farrow & Ball’s Ointment Pink.

Carve Travertine Large Cocktail Table

By Studio Anansi for CB2

Moroccan Encaustic Cement tile; price upon request.

Vintage Boho Chic Peacock Chair

While growing up in Berkeley, California, Blakeney lived in a modern house built by the architect Benson Ford. “I was five when we moved in, and seeing a Black architect at that time made me realize we can do anything,” she remembers. That home was an eclectic mix of antique furniture bought at auctions, cultural artifacts from her family’s travels, and a massive collection of Pan-African art. Paintings with scenes from Jewish folklore were hung next to depictions of Ethiopian royalty, she notes. “It was a living interpretation of the different mix that my household was made up of.”

As much as she and Rosencrantz loved their starter house, a 1,000-square-foot 1926 bungalow located in Frogtown, the family of three had started craving more space. Their new place in Altadena is a Spanish-style abode built in the early ‘30s with traditional Mediterranean details and midcentury-modern flair. The 2,700-square-foot property is a slice of paradise that checks all of the boxes for Blakeney: There’s an internal courtyard, a pool with an incredible view, and mature fruit trees amid the surrounding foliage. Most of all, she appreciates how the spacious house supports an indoor-outdoor lifestyle while also feeling intimate. “It has a coziness to it that I really love,” she notes, “and a circularity about the flow of the energy because of the way it surrounds the courtyard.”

Rosencrantz and Ida (wearing custom-made looks from India) and Blakeney (in a Mara Hoffman dress) in the living room.

Ceramic Up Down Wall Sconce

By In Common With

Jungalow: Decorate Wild by Justina Blakeney; signed copy

Moravian Medium Star Lantern

By Chapman & Myers for Visual Comfort

After closing in December 2020, the couple hoped to hit the ground running with their contractors, New Generation Home Improvements. Overall, the house was in decent shape, but they planned to create a new kitchen, redo the bathrooms, and upgrade electrical work. Blakeney’s tweaks to the original five-bedroom layout to better accommodate all of their needs included converting the garage into a guest room that feels like one you’d find in a boutique hotel and also functions as a workshop for testing her new wallpapers and bedding.

The estimated wait time for clearing the permits was initially about three months but wound up taking a year. Other obstacles that they faced were the delays on materials, fixtures, tiles, and appliances due to ongoing pandemic-related supply-chain issues. “It’s been a real exercise in patience,” admits Blakeney, who mastered the frustration through meditation classes. Even so, “it has not been easy living almost a year in a construction zone.” (She documented many of these setbacks with humor, grace, and solid practical advice for her more than half a million followers on Instagram.)

Sydney Harbor Paint Company Limewash in Blue Reef colors the primary bedroom. A brass Palm-tree lamp stands atop a vintage Bielecky Brothers rattan nightstand. The 1970s Spanish wicker-and-upholstery headboard was found on 1stDibs.

A tented daybed from De-Cor in Pasadena, California, is piled with Opalhouse designed with Jungalow pillows.

Premium Beach Umbrella

Cha Cha Wallpaper

by Justina Blakeney

Almada Scalloped Pendant

by Justina Blakeney

Over the past two decades, the professed “vintage hound” has amassed a huge collection of heirloom pieces and conversation-starting tchotchkes, which she has deployed throughout the residence. Many recently acquired pieces, like the fringe chairs in the plant-friendly lanai, were found on Chairish and come from Europe, India, and North Africa. “I was really excited to bring some newness in and have a different vibe,” she notes.

When it came to designing the home, Blakeney and Rosencrantz were very collaborative. She likes to think of it as a yin-yang approach that sees them going back and forth in their respective domains. “While I have the vision for what I want the place to look like, there are definitely gaps in my know-how,” she explains. “I can design wallpaper, but I can’t necessarily install it.”

Farrow & Ball’s Calke Green colors the office. The chair wears a Blakeney fabric.

Rest Hook Pillow

by Jungalow for Makers Collective

Buena Onda rug by Justina Blakeney for Loloi Rugs; price upon request.

Linaria Velvet Accent Chair

by Opalhouse designed with Jungalow

Blakeney describes her husband as a “super handy” person who “thinks about things really, really comprehensively.… We are a great team because I bring the big vision like ‘Here’s what I want the room to feel like, and these are the colors that I want to bring in,’ and he’s very much dialed-in to all the tiny little details.” (Blakeney is quick to point out that Ida has definite ideas about things too.)

With every room set to evoke a different mood, it’s all hyper-eclectic. “We were really intentional about creating different spaces for the experiences that we want to have in the home,” Blakeney notes.

She and Rosencrantz make decisions based on an energetic level. So while the kitchen is more minimalist due to the couple’s desire to create a clean, modern, and “super functional” workspace, the primary bedroom morphed from a bright and sunny oasis into a moody haven washed with cool blues. “I feel like a lot of times my designs, and the spaces that we create, conjure a transformative narrative,” Blakeney says. “But this is the first time that we were like, ‘Oh, we’re in a whole new biome.’ We went with the idea that the bed was our island in this ocean for us to celebrate our love together.”

Although the renovation process persists, she does feel close to completion. Or at least as close to complete as a home meant to evolve with her family over time can be. As Blakeney poetically puts it, “the home is a wet canvas,” and she’s approaching this ongoing adventure like a living art project.