The New Bohemians by Justina Blakeney

by Grace Bonney

I sometimes have a hard time pinning down what my personal home style actually is. It started out wildly colorful and polka-dot-filled and has become more and more minimal as I’ve gotten older, with the emphasis more on texture than pattern, but it always seems to be changing. So I really envy people who seem to have been born with an innate sense of personal style that is so strong that it’s easy to identify their work/home in an instant. For me, one of the people I most admire for their bold and recognizable style is designer, blogger and author, Justina Blakeney. Justina’s Instagram feed is my go-to source of color, pattern and overall inspiration on a daily basis, and when I started to see pictures of the book she was working on with yet another of my favorite bloggers, Dabito of Old Brand New, I hit “pre-order” right away.

The New Bohemians, Justina’s new 300+ page book, is both an ode to her childhood in Berkeley, CA and the contemporary community of creative individuals who embrace color, pattern, texture, whimsy and all-around open-mindedness when it comes to their homes. Justina grew up in a family that traveled around the world constantly, and she’s brought that explorer spirit and love of international style to her own home, which she refers to as the “jungalow.” “It was actually my own home, my ‘jungalow,’ that inspired the book,” she says. “The way my family and I live in our home is so multifunctional and always in flux: sometimes it’s studio, sometimes it’s a daycare, sometimes it’s a pop-up shop. We are constantly moving things around, adding and editing, painting, working and reworking this little rental. It occurred to me one day that this creative way of living wasn’t just about getting somewhere. There was no end-goal here. The home is always a wet canvas. Our home grows and changes as we grow and change and it was actually the creative process that we loved. There is a free-spirited-ness to they way we decorate and I wanted to explore other homes like ours — multi-functional, layered, creative homes that were forever works-in-progress.”

Along with the help of beautiful, saturated photos taken by Dabito, The New Bohemians is definitely my favorite new book of 2015. Divided into different style chapters (like Earthy Bohemian, Folksy Bohemian, Nomadic Romantic Bohemian), the book showcases 20 homes that embody Bohemian style, along with DIY projects and a plant encyclopedia designed to help you build your own version of bohemia at home. I think this is destined to be the most read, loved, Instagrammed and “photographed on people’s coffee tables” book of the year, so if you’re looking for some new inspiration for spring decorating, check out Justina’s new book right here. Copies start shipping on April 14th! xo, grace

All photos by Dabito. From The New Bohemians, Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2015


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  • Beautiful! This is the style I gravitate toward as well, and I could never describe exactly. I like a mix of handmade things, vintage things, travel souvenirs – lots of colour but also lots of white, paradoxically. I’ll be looking out for this one!


  • My heart dies a little every time I see a mature cactus in shots of interiors. Does anyone know a good resource for finding a seller of these? I’ve tried craigslist, and some nurseries, but have never found one even half the size of the pictured above. I live in Minneapolis, if someone knows of a good option near me. Thanks!

    • Jose, this is not a cactus. It’s a euphorbia. We have one growing indoors that is a euphorbia trigona. There are other varieties that may grow indoors as well (euphorbia ingens?) This plant will require a sunny window exposure.

  • Yes, I’m dying to get my hands on this book! Justina’s eye for bohemian style is so fantastic, and I know she and Dabito worked like maniacs to make this book the best it could possibly be. Can’t wait to get my copy!

  • Jose: you need to look at nurseries, wholesalers and mom & pop gardeners, you will find what you are looking for. Better yet, use the yellow pages and call them all. Good Luck

  • I have long been an admirer of Justina’s creative genius. I love her colorful approach in styling, and her use of plants to complement and enhance the colors. I have pre-ordered the book and can’t wait to have it on my coffee table.