Climbing Plants & Funky Flowers Fill This Jungle-Inspired Home

mbg Senior Sustainability Editor By Emma Loewe
mbg Senior Sustainability Editor
Emma Loewe is the Senior Sustainability Editor at mindbodygreen and the author of "The Spirit Almanac: A Modern Guide To Ancient Self Care."
art deco inspired living with a dog sitting on a bright red chair
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For many people, the home now needs to do double duty: It's a productive zone during the day and a calming retreat at night. This summer, we're teaming up with IKEA to share advice on how to craft a space that promotes a healthy work-life balance and is just as energizing as it is relaxing. Stress-free sanctuary, coming right up.

Donovan Ho's (@hothousejungle on Instagram) Bay Area, California, condo is an ever-evolving funhouse of plants, art, and pattern. Peek around to learn how Donovan and his pup, Christmas, make the space their own little hideaway.

What are three words that describe your design philosophy at home?

Nonconforming/forever changing.

bright living with pink chair and painted cloud wallpaper

Image by Donovan Ho, Hothouse Jungle

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What's the oldest thing in your home? Newest?

The newest is my cool wavy-shaped console table. I found the perfect spot for it under my large brass mirror. And the oldest has to be a brass column/pedestal plant stand (it was a flea-market find!) I've had for a few moves now. 

Your bedroom looks so soothing! Any tips for designing a space for a good night's rest?

For a soothing, inviting space, I like to use soft colors and natural wood tones. And of course, lots of pillows!

Did the way you use your home change at all during the pandemic? 

Since the pandemic started, I have been working from home. Since I don't have an office or conventional desk, I try to keep my home WFH-setup friendly and adaptive. Sometimes that means working in bed, on the floor at my coffee table, or seated at my dining table—so I try to make each space comfortable. 

small dining room table with two green chairs surrounded by plants

Image by Donovan Ho, Hothouse Jungle

What are a few staples of your work-from-home setup?

Sometimes I have back-to-back meetings and can be in front of my computer for hours at a time, so I had to find items that could turn ordinary spaces into comfortable workspaces in a pinch. For example, floor cushions for my coffee-table work sessions and a laptop tray for working in bed. 

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How do you decide when to bring a new plant into your space?

As I have plants all around my home, I usually just gravitate toward ones that I find cool or appealing and then worry about finding spots for them later. I like to change up my space and constantly move my plants around. 

accent wall covered in art and funky shelving

Image by Donovan Ho, Hothouse Jungle

What noises can be heard in your home? What smells?

Music! Whether I am working or cleaning, I usually have music playing (admittedly, lots of Top 40 radio stuff or Disney songs). I like to brag that my home smells fantastic! I have candles all over. I lean toward crisp smells.

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How does your home energize you? How does it restore you?

As a self-proclaimed introvert, my home is my escape from the world and where I go to recharge my social battery. My home is where I am most at peace. And while it may seem silly, doing house projects, chores, or just cleaning my plants really helps clear my mind and re-energize me.

What does the word home mean to you?

To me, the word home means safety and comfort. My home is my happy place. It's a place that is totally mine. 

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Recreate the look:

primer on how to recreate the look of Donovan Ho's house.

Image by Donovan Ho, Hothouse Jungle

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

And do you want to learn how feng shui can help you create a high-vibe home and set powerful intentions to manifest your dreams? This is feng shui the modern way - no superstitions, all good vibes. Click here to register for a free session with Dana that will give you 3 tips to transform your home today!

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