First of all, those zebras. Scalamandré Zebras. Aren't they just the best? Once you know them, you start noticing them places, taking delight in spotting them.
It's an iconic wallpaper (though the pattern is available in other forms, such as glasses and throwpillows). Young, great interior designers like Miles Redd and Lindsey Coral Harper have used it and it's featured in Wes Anderson's modern classic, The Royal Tenenbaums.
Here it is in a nursery, designed by Maddie Hughes, where it adds a bit of whimsy. A Sputnik-style flush mount like our Dunkirk—more Sarfatti than safari—ties in by using an aged brass finish. This room doesn't go overboard with animals and savannah vibes. It pops the crib in coral red and adds a calming blue accent in the chair and basket and blankets and pillows. It remains at once a beautiful and sedate space for an infant and a room showing a serious level of panache.
This elegant nursery demonstrates what a little of the wild can do.
How do your bring the wild into your home?
In addition to bringing nature indoors, which we covered previously, there are two prominent examples: the more traditional Sophisticated Safari style, or the emerging style being called "jungalicious." Whether it's the fabulous fauna of the savannah or the fecund flora of the jungle, these aspects of the wild can go a long way toward energizing a space, making it feel vital and full of visual allure.
What does it mean to do a room in a Sophisticated Safari style? It means to exercise restraint while using things like leopard and cheetah print, taxidermized animal heads (real or fake), and fibers and fabrics native to the African continent, all the while complementing these elements with those from classic Western design. In addition, African folk art and ritualistic artefacts contribute to this environment.
The above is Lindsey Coral Harper's space, featured in a recent issue of House Beautiful. In it, you can see a kind of Hollywood Regency / Sophisticated Safari style that has morphed into a cool, assured eclectic cosmopolitanism. A gilded Louis XVI mirror found at Paris flea market casually hobnobs with a zebra-print Louis XV bombé chest. The Louis connection makes the pairing work, while the zebra print gives that bold dash of the unexpected often to be found in her rooms. Polaroids and photobooth snaps tucked in along the mirror's elegant frame remind you this is someone's home, not a museum. The statuettes add another level of global vintage, while their tiny elephants add a subtle glue to the Sophisticated Safari vibe that is one of the layers she weaves through this wonderful space.
Sophisticated Safari is more of a poised, traditional, classic look. Today, it's easy to add postmodern touches, such as metal or porcelain gazelle busts. You don't need a taxidermist. Instead, you can use the traditional forms in newly imagined and often playful ways. The same is true for tropicalia, such as the below gold-leafed, cut-crystal pineapple centerpiece, at once luxurious and whimsical. Sometimes, there's a tongue-in-cheek quality. The iconic becomes ironic.
For some, however, this is all too staid, too stuffy, too sterile.
They say, let the wildness in.
Cross-pollinating the ideas of "jungle" and "bungalow," Justina Blakeney tapped into something good when she hit upon her “Jungalow” style. A contemporary look that integrates elements of a bohemian past, tropical patterns, worldly eclecticism, and plenty of live plants, it embraces the messiness of our lives. Pictured above is her own living room, where she makes a colorful, multi-textured, and comfortable oasis with a hint of Moroccan influence.
The result? It's resonating far and wide with people looking for something new that feels more authentic.
You may have come across it in the current issue of House Beautiful (July / August), where her 1050 sq. ft 1929 Spanish-style bungalow in Los Angeles was featured as one of a few small spaces that, through creative thinking and tasteful design, are breathtaking.
Blakeney designs her own wallpapers for Hygge & West to add to this look. From intense patterns of big beautiful banana leaves to spacious, cool, and calming patterns, they are worth scoping out. Explore her collection here. She's also designed a colorful, highly textural collection of rugs and pillows for Loloi. Check them out here.
From MyDomaine's exclusive on the Jungalow LA HQ. Blakeney's rugs for Loloi , Folklore and Fable, hanging in the window. Photo by Jenna Peffley.
Looking to bring the jungle into your space, and spruce it up with some bohemian magic? Here are a few tips:
- If you must keep walls white, find colorful, bold, energizing pieces to fill the space.
- If you go with something like one of Blakeney’s wallpapers, then make the dominant furniture pieces either wooden, acrylic, or a solid color, maybe brightening up with white for contrast.
- Keep it classy. One item of kitsch and one pop of animal print might enhance the space, but don't go overboard.
- A vintage kilim on a hard floor grounds the space, adding color, texture, and a handmade feel.
- The jungle look can become too claustrophobic if not for the evergreen key to good design—contrast—playing a part.
Check out this Polyvore mood board we created here. Keep the inspiration flowing at our Jungle Love and Sophisticated Safari Pinterest boards. We also recommend scoping apartmentf15's Instagram or Tumblr. Throwing a bohemian shindig? May we suggest some music? Viva la vie bohème!