Justina Blakeney's First Kids' Collection Is Here, and It's Awesome

The designer talks jungle style and mixing prints.

 justina blakeney pottery barn gypsy
Photography by POTTERY BARN KIDS

When news broke a few months ago that bohemian blogger and pattern-loving designer Justina Blakeney was set to launch a kids’ collection with Pottery Barn, we knew we were in for whimsical boho chic styles and wild pops of color—and now that the line is here, it does not disappoint. Launching today, the collaboration features three themes—Jungalow, Magic Disco Caravan, and Astro Nomad—with everything from lighting and bedding to accessories and giftables.

“I was trying to evoke a spirit of adventure and encourage creativity, playfulness and a sense of wonder,” Blakeney tells Domino. “One thing that really sets this collection apart from past projects for me (besides the fact that it's my first kids' and baby collection) is that I had the opportunity to design the entire room for all three collections. I designed everything in my collection from the rugs, to the bedding, artwork, accessories, and even toys and a doll. Having the ability to really create a whole space like this from the ground up was really exciting and invigorating.”

Prices range from $16.50 for throws and accents to $1,399 for larger pieces of furniture, so there’s really something for everyone. Encompassing products for both children’s rooms and nurseries, the rainbow-hued collection boasts breezy vibes and playful prints—perfectly encapsulating Blakeney’s cheerful aesthetic and penchant for bold prints. We’re particularly fond of the fun, rainbow-colored armchair ($149) and jungle-inspired bedding ($209), and the gypsy-themed rug and sunny Magic Disco Caravan throws ($16.50) will bring a sense of joy to any living space. And while the collection might be aimed at kids, there’s no rule that says you can’t bring a bit of these cheerful vibes into your own adult bedroom.

justina blakeney pottery barn jungle
Photography by POTTERY BARN KIDS

But even though we’re fan girling hard over Blakeney’s affinity for mixing prints and colors like it’s nothing, we understand that infusing your home with such wild designs can be a bit daunting. Since maximalism is one of the top trends we'll see in 2018, we asked Blakeney for tips on how to incorporate the bold line into your decor.

How did you began mixing prints and styles, and how do you do it so well?

I've always been pretty scrappy. I would find vintage textiles at flea markets or thrift shops, and I loved it all, so I would just start layering things together. Little by little, I started to get to know my own style more, like which colors I liked to mix with other colors.

I would look more at pattern scale and even things like pattern era or provenance, and as I mix things together, I create a visual conversation or narrative. There is also something instinctive, almost visceral, for me about pattern mixing. I either love it or I don't, and I can tell immediately.

Your signature boho chic style is so cheerful and fun. How did you tweak it for the children's space?

For me, boho style is all about tapping into my own free spirit and creativity. Since kids and babies have the free-est spirits of all, it makes so much sense to me that their environments would reflect that. Also, rooms full of color, pattern, and plants are my thing—designing for kids gives me the freedom to fearlessly layer on the color, pattern and (non-toxic!) plants to my heart's content. It's really fun.

Photography by POTTERY BARN KIDS

What advice would you give someone who's worried about playing with prints for the first time?

I would say not to worry about playing. That's what this is—playing—and it should be fun. Don't get too heady about it. Just try things out. You'll start to notice patterns of what you love and what you don't if you pay close attention. If you still feel paralyzed, then pick two colors to play around with, and don't go outside of that strict palette when you start out. That will give you a framework to start out with that can develop and get complex as you get more and more comfortable playing with pattern.

How did you find inspiration for some of the key pieces in your Pottery Barn Kids collaboration?

It's always tough to pinpoint exact moments of inspiration for me. The creative process often feels a little magical—I'm not always sure where my ideas come from, but I'm always very inspired by nature and travel. In the case of my collection with Pottery Barn Kids, I was also very much inspired by my own daughter. Her sense of wonder and curiosity is palpable in the Astro Nomad collection, and her sense of adventure and penchant to turn everything into a fort/wild/dance party is Magic Disco Caravan.

Photography by POTTERY BARN KIDS

What is your favorite piece in the collection? 

My favorite pieces are the ones that I feel inspire creativity. The artwork for the Jungle Scene Mural from the Jungalino room is based on an imaginary world I created with my daughter. The world is called Glump Glump forest, and it's where all the fanciful creatures live. Also, our designer doll Vida Luna means a lot to me because as a biracial woman, I never had dolls that 'looked like me’ as a child. I was very excited at the opportunity to design a doll with brown skin and curly hair for all the little girls who might feel the same way I did growing up.

 justina blakeney pottery barn
Photography by POTTERY BARN KIDS

Can you walk me through some of the prints you've used, and how you managed to create a cohesive collection out of them? 

Each one of the collections features a bunch of my hand-painted prints, which is really fun for me. Magic Disco Caravan has bedding with my Hamsa print, as well as a celestial watercolor print. We tie these prints together by sticking to an overarching color palette of periwinkles and pinks.

One of my favorite things about these designs is that there are fun messages in many of the pieces. For example, in the bedding, there is a little pocket sewn in so that little ones can sleep with their treasures. The Jungalino collection features three main prints—two smaller prints with animals and botanicals, and one larger print that features a fan palm motif. Mixing scale helps to keep a cohesive look. In Astro Nomad, I loved the idea of mixing astronomy-inspired motifs with rainbows. Rainbows feel other-worldly to me—even though they are of this world—and I like the dissonance of rainbows in space.

What are three words you would use to describe the collection?

Fanciful, creative, wild!

Photography by POTTERY BARN KIDS

To view the entire collection—and buy some of these cheerful finds—head to Pottery Barn Kids’ website here.

See more Pottery Barn collaborations:
You’re Going to Want Everything From Pottery Barn’s New Line
Anna Sui’s New PBteen Collection Is Here, and It’s as Fabulous as You’d Imagine
Pottery Barn’s Newest Collaboration Makes Every Day a Celebration

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Published on December 14, 2017 - 8:00am EST

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