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Charity Design Project: Big Reveal (pt. 1)


Charity Design Project // Faith and Justina Blakeney If you’re new here or just catching up, I’ll start off by giving a little recap of this incredible charity design project that I had the pleasure and privilege of being a part of…A community of 70 military homes in San Pedro (about 30 minutes south of L.A.) had been vacant for decades and a group of ambitious and resourceful people, together with Volunteers of America, got permission to reclaim the homes, refurbish and decorate them for homeless female veterans and their children. It’s devastating that there is a population of homeless veteran mothers at all — to have an opportunity to be part of this project was humbling and a really great way to start off the year.

Volunteers of America secured $5000 for the decor of each of the homes. And for any of you who may have done any decorating, $5000 is a lot of money, but not to decorate an entire two bedroom home. We needed to get everything from furniture to bedding, accessories, art and appliances.  Many people spend that just on a sofa! But, if you know me then you know that I love a good budget decor challenge…And to make matters even more exciting, I got to decorate one of the homes with my sister, Faith, who is also a designer, master thrifter and just all around extremely talented.

So the first thing I knew I needed to do was get a friend on board — I asked World Market to help out and they generously agreed to donate thousands of dollars worth of furniture to the home (and thousands goes a really long way at World Market.) The rest we got mostly on Craigslist and through other private donations. Between the donations that we secured and the $5000 from VOA, we decorated the entire home on about $11,000.

Today, I’m excited to share the *after* pics of the downstairs. While the home was really nicely refurbished, as you can see from the above pic it’s not exactly brimming with personality.  (You can see the beginnings of the project here.)  And here is what we ended up with…

In the living room:

Charity Design Project // Faith and Justina Blakeney

Ain’t she purdy?!? We didn’t start out with a theme or anything, we had some really great World Market basics, like the tufted velvet sofa and ottoman and the always practical jute rug. We knew that the family had kids, although we didn’t know the ages, so we erred on the side of toddler friendly. Then after that, we kinda left it up to fate (and Craigslist) to make the rest come together.

Charity Design Project // Faith and Justina Blakeney

And come together it did! We found the vintage tulip-base table on the classified site, Krrb, and this amazing mud-cloth upholstered chair? It was found by my sister on the curb, as in, the actual curb just as someone in a fancy West-Side house was getting rid of it.

Charity Design Project // Faith and Justina Blakeney

Charity Design Project // Faith and Justina Blakeney

And I love the way the capiz chandelier lends a coastal vibe to the space. With accents from various pockets of the African continent from Morocco to Mali, the living room was shaping up to feel kinda eclectic-African-modernCharity Design Project // Faith and Justina Blakeney

Charity Design Project // Faith and Justina Blakeney

To pull the look together I found some mud-cloth fabric and just kinda went to town (find similar here). We added it to the inside of trays, framed it for our gallery wall and I made the throw pillows using scraps of mud-cloth and kuba-cloth in front, drop cloths on back, and filled them with thrifted and donated pillows.

Charity Design Project // Faith and Justina Blakeney

Faith found the baskets at a thrift shop. Score! (Find similar ones here.) We hung them by fastening a bit of wire to them in a loop in the back, and hanging the wire loop on a nail. Charity Design Project // Faith and Justina Blakeney

Charity Design Project // Faith and Justina Blakeney


The console is from World Market. I love the little round feet and the wood has a really pretty finish. The TV was generously donated by one of my IG followers. How sweet is that?! Thank you Kim!

Charity Design Project // Faith and Justina Blakeney Charity Design Project // Faith and Justina Blakeney

The bentwood lamp was another World Market donation, the amazing fabric it’s sitting on is a Dogon/Bamana embroidered indigo textile from Mali. You can find similar ones here.

Charity Design Project // Faith and Justina Blakeney

Then we move on into the dining area, which is just opposite the area you just toured.
Charity Design Project // Faith and Justina Blakeney

We found this vintage Mexican cabinet on Craigslist for $50. Yeah baby. (I couldn’t find any super similar, but there are some interesting ones here, if you’re interested.)

Charity Design Project // Faith and Justina Blakeney
The vase and lazy susan were both thrifted.

Charity Design Project // Faith and Justina Blakeney

We painted this accent wall in Nectarina by Behr. And we used a large, thrifted mirror to open up the room–makes it almost feel like there is a window there.

And in the kitchen…

Charity Design Project // Faith and Justina Blakeney

Echo Park lighting company Brendan Ravenhill Studio donated one helluva pendant lamp.

Charity Design Project // Faith and Justina Blakeney

The Martin Lawrence print was a thrifted find. The table and stools are so perfect for an eat-in kitchen–and are really versatile–they skew modern/industrial but don’t feel cold.

Charity Design Project // Faith and Justina Blakeney


This is my favorite corner in the kitchen. This little secretary desk fits snug in that awkward spot between the fridge and the wall, giving the mama a little work spot — or even just a place to catch up on her favorite magazines, pay bills, etc…Charity Design Project // Faith and Justina Blakeney

And we also outfitted the patio. We found the wooden patio set on Craigslist. (similar here). It was a huge project, and this was just half of it…so stay tuned for the rest later on in the week! Let me know if you have any questions and I’d love to hear what you think of the project.

Design by Faith and Justina Blakeney
Photography by Danae Horst  (thank you Danae for donating your services for this amazing cause!)
And thank you to World Market for hooking it up and to Volunteers of America for giving us this opportunity. 
Thank you so Sarah, Judson, Fabrizio and to all of the other folks who donated their time, talents and wares to this project. 

Alternative Text Justina Blakeney

Designer, artist, stylist & mama. Founder and CCO at The Jungalow. Crazy for color, pattern and plants!

38 responses to “Charity Design Project: Big Reveal (pt. 1)”

  1. Leslie-Anne says:

    This is so beautiful. How wonderful for the family that will move in and how wonderful for you to be able to share your talents in this way.

  2. Brittany says:

    Love how much life you brought to this place! There are some really amazing thrift scores here. That curb chair was a MAJOR win! This is going to be a happy home in more ways than one. And bravo to World Market to pitch in for a worthy cause!

  3. Shavonda says:

    Justina this is so so perfect! Absolutely beautiful. As a female veteran who is also a momma this project means so so much to me on a personal level. Noone should ever have to live a life unsure of where they will lay their head down at night, ESPECIALLY not those who answer the call to serve. I didnt think i could possibly love you any more, but then you go and do this. Youre amazing. And this home will sure be a sanctuary for a very lucky family. On a design note, im loving the gorgeous textiles, textured gallery wall, and fantastic furniture finds. I saw the chair on Faith’s IG and almost passed out. Also i have that dining table and it never looked so good:)

  4. kellyjo says:

    Serious props to Justina for recognizing and highlighting that Africa is full of distinct designs and artistry – that “African” doesn’t mean just one kind of thing. As an Africanist, a DIY interior stylist, and a study abroad advisor, this is the first time I have seen any of the blogs I follow recognize this. I am a relative newby in following this particular blog but you can bet I will make sure to tell my people all the good here. Asante sana! Shukran! Wamahadsantahay! Plus, it’s an excellent project which shows amazing taste!

    • Justina Blakeney says:

      Ahhh thank you Kellyjo– and thanks for stopping by here! I studied Cultural Anthropology in school and both learning (and then sharing) about the provenance of objects is one of my favorite parts of this job!

  5. Val says:

    I love this so much. Not only is this pretty much my dream living room but love the cause! It’s great to see that such an amazing home will be going to someone who needs and deserves it!

  6. […] Ideas + Inspiration, What's New February 16, 2015 0 Justina Blakeney This post was originally published here. […]

  7. Anonymous says:

    So amazing, lovely, homey, generous, comforting thoughtful, transcending. I, too, find the cultural recognition, naming names, soo important. I heard a designer in the street in front of the house say: wow, you have to check out this one, it’s so warm, with an islands theme….and I cringed. Teach, sister! You are so beautiful to me

  8. annton says:

    This is one of the best charity projects I have heared of so far. This is not only about furnitures and giving someone a home, this is opening the door to a whole new life. To be gifted a home filled with a that thoughtful love, will give strength and pride. Thank people like you. xx

  9. Melissa says:

    Wow! What a transformation. Well done ladies!!!! I love it all but the dining area is my fave, so cheerful and warm. I hope this lovely space helps its new owners turn things around for the better.

  10. Nita says:

    I think it’s perfect!! You and your sister have done a wonderful thing x

  11. Morgan says:

    Hi, this is my first time on your site but I had to comment on this post. I am an active-duty military woman and I think the project you did is AMAZING. The military is difficult enough for women, not to mention once they’re out and have families to care for. I also adore your design style, and I know it made a huge difference to those women. Thanks so much for your volunteer work, and I can’t wait to read the rest of your blog!

  12. Jennifer says:

    Love it – you did such an amazing job for a great cause. Thanks for sharing!

  13. freefalling says:

    It looks absolutely fabulous!
    What a fantastically rewarding project it must have been.
    Hearty congratulations.

  14. Kate says:

    I am OBSESSED. Well done, Justina. Warms my heart to know this family will enjoy this gorgeous space!

  15. Oh my gosh Justina, you are doing amazing work! Love how you turned the space into a little boho paradise! Super inspiring. I need to do more charity work. It just feels right doesn’t it?

  16. This is just so beautiful, you are a kind soul! Congrats to the new family moving in here!

  17. Lana says:

    Have you already said what white you used on the walls? It looks so clean and warm!!


  18. […] Blakeney designed a beautiful home for a wonderful cause. I love her world-traveler style! Here’s part two of the reveal […]

  19. Pia says:

    What’s the artwork over the tv? Such cool texture!

  20. […] top:  Modern Findings  //  Gardenista  //  wifeefiw  //  The Jungalow  //  Dynasty Plant Design  //  The Design Files  //  Kinfolk  // […]

  21. […] top:  Modern Findings  //  Gardenista  //  wifeefiw  //  The Jungalow  //  Dynasty Plant Design  //  The Design Files  //  Kinfolk  // […]

  22. lisa says:

    This is so wonderful Justina! I have your book and I get such inspirations from it. This project is particularly heart warming because I think everyone needs beauty around them. Even if you have little money, bits of beauty around the home can be uplifting. It changes ones psyche, it really does!

  23. […] charity home makeover on a budget ($11000 for the entire home) so inspiring. (The Jungalow pt. 1 and 2)  |  2  This Moleskin photo notebook is gorgeous and would make such a beautiful […]

  24. […] do pretty much anything with it! Remember the Dogon cloth from Mali we used to cover a table in our charity design project? We’ve also used that same piece as a rug, an ottoman cover, and a runner! And the longer […]

  25. […] is a home Justina decorated for charity, for female homeless veterans and their children. And what a beautifully-designed home this is, […]

  26. […] my sister Faith, World Market and Volunteers of America. (If you missed part one you can find it here.) The upstairs of this townhouse was completely renovated, but just like the downstairs the home […]

  27. […] you can still add a few in with other art and objects! Keeping to a cohesive color palette, like we did in this home we worked on last year, will keep things looking collected, even with a mix of pattern and […]

  28. Zuri says:

    Do you know where the curtains are from?

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