Meet the Judges: Justina Blakeney, Orlando Soria & Daniel Kanter Tell Us About Their Small Cool Homes

Meet the Judges: Justina Blakeney, Orlando Soria & Daniel Kanter Tell Us About Their Small Cool Homes

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Janel Laban
Jun 3, 2015
(Image credit: Hommemaker)

While we are tallying your final votes and determining the 2015 Small Cool grand prize winner, let's meet this year's style-savvy judges: Justina Blakeney, Orlando Soria, and Daniel Kanter. These three definitely have a great eye for design and have all lived small and cool themselves, so they know what they are talking about when it comes to living well in not-so-big spaces.

Justina Blakeney

(Image credit: The Jungalow)

Justina Blakeney is a designer with a Bohemian heart. Through her award-winning daily design blog, The Jungalow Justina shares her world covered in paint, plants and patterns. Her latest book, The New Bohemians, Cool and Collected Home just made the New York Times best-seller list. It is her strong belief that it's creativity, not wealth, that makes an amazing home.

The living room of Justina's own Small Cool home:

(Image credit: The Jungalow)

Justina currently lives in Los Angeles in her ‘jungalow’ with her husband and young daughter, Ida. She says, "Living in a small space forced me to be more creative than ever before. I lived in Italy for years where everything is smaller and, despite the fact that I consider myself to be a maximalist, I learned to live with only things that I loved."

See more of Justina's style:

Orlando Soria

(Image credit: The Hommemaker)

Orlando Soria is the West Coast Creative Director for Homepolish, an interior design company that's making design more accessible, streamlined, and fun. An HGTV alumni and former Emily Henderson design assistant, he lives in Los Angeles. He spends his time working with clients, being an ambassador for Homepolish, Instagramming, and blogging at Hommemaker.

Orlando's home:

(Image credit: The Hommemaker)

Orlando says: "When I first moved to LA, the only apartments I'd ever lived in had been in New York. Obviously, they were microscopic. So my tiny Hollywood studio felt spacious to me. I loved it so much. I had an architect friend help me design super efficient furniture (like a bed with storage underneath) and I filled the space with art and furniture I inherited/stole from my parents, who live in Northern California. I really loved living in that first apartment and I'm a huge fan of efficient/small space living."

See more of Orlando's style:

Daniel Kanter

(Image credit: Manhattan Nest)

Daniel Kanter is the blogger behind Manhattan Nest and a previous Small Cool Contest winner! He lives in upstate New York with his two doggies—Mekko and Linus—and is currently renovating his own 1865 fixer-upper, a little formerly-condemned house down the block, and a quaint modern cottage for a couple of groovy clients in Olivebridge, NY.

The living room of Daniel's (former) Small Cool-winning home:

(Image credit: Manhattan Nest)

Daniel tells us: "Though I don't live there anymore, I absolutely loved living in my "little" Brooklyn apartment! Organization and storage were challenges, but bringing in the right pieces made the space feel comfortable, efficient, and easy to manage even with two people and two dogs living in it. Living in a compact space meant always being surrounded by my favorite things. I miss it all the time!"

See more of Daniel's style:

Huge thanks to our wonderful judges for doing such a great job helping us choose this year's Small Cool finalists! Now, be sure to check out their fabulous blogs, books and pics on IG...


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