Climbing Plants & Funky Flowers Fill This Jungle-Inspired Home
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Emma Loewe is the Sustainability and Health Director at mindbodygreen and the author of Return to Nature: The New Science of How Natural Landscapes Restore Us. She is also the co-author of The Spirit Almanac: A Modern Guide To Ancient Self Care, which she wrote alongside Lindsay Kellner.
Emma received her B.A. in Environmental Science & Policy with a specialty in environmental communications from Duke University. In addition to penning over 1,000 mbg articles on topics from the water crisis in California to the rise of urban beekeeping, her work has appeared on Grist, Bloomberg News, Bustle, and Forbes. She's spoken about the intersection of self-care and sustainability on podcasts and live events alongside environmental thought leaders like Marci Zaroff, Gay Browne, and Summer Rayne Oakes.