A Brooklyn Fashion Designer's Home Offers Style Inspiration Galore

Take a tour of this historic and hip Bed-Stuy duplex.

By: Jeanine Hays

Photo By: Patrick Cline

Photo By: Patrick Cline

Photo By: Patrick Cline

Photo By: Patrick Cline

Photo By: Patrick Cline

Photo By: Patrick Cline

Photo By: Patrick Cline

Photo By: Patrick Cline

Photo By: Patrick Cline

Photo By: Patrick Cline

Photo By: Patrick Cline

Photo By: Patrick Cline

Photo By: Patrick Cline

Photo By: Patrick Cline

Photo By: Patrick Cline

Photo By: Patrick Cline

Photo By: Patrick Cline

Photo By: Patrick Cline

Photo By: Patrick Cline

Photo By: Patrick Cline

Global Citizen

Nana Yaa Asare-Boadu is a citizen of the world. The British-born Ghanaian fashion designer had spent time living in the Netherlands, France and Italy before finding the unassuming Bedford-Stuyvesant Brooklyn duplex that she currently calls home. Unassuming, that is, from the outside. Inside, the home is a visual feast of global influences, touching personal moments and individual style, presented with all of the understated minimalism of a luxury apartment with a view of Sacré Cœur or overlooking the Champs-Élysées.

Dining in Style

Just a few steps through the front door and the space opens up into this expansive dining room. Part of the effortless charm of this home comes from original details such as historic moldings. The cool white of the walls and the warm wood tone of the floor create a stark backdrop that give the room’s other colors and elements ample room to shine. The dining room is a mix of rustic and industrial elements. To add some color to the mix, a large red print, left by the home’s previous tenant adds a pop of color to the neutral decor.

Architectural Style

Across from her bicycle, sits another vignette featuring one of Nana Yaa’s favorite decorating accessories: books. While the vase of flowers does a lovely job of echoing the color of the bike, the real star of this area is clearly the walls themselves. The architectural details stretch from floor to ceiling, bringing a sense of character to the entire home.

A Colorful Moment

The living room epitomizes the style of this home. Strong architectural details are complemented, not covered, by tastefully understated gallery walls. And once again the white walls and wood floors are the perfect backdrop for the home’s boldest color statement—an inviting velvet sofa in a soft, pink blush. Though small accessories, sculptures and pieces of art accent the room throughout, the biggest pattern statement in the room is made by the wood floor, the repeating diamond geometric blends seamlessly into the room while creating visual interest from the floor up.

Vintage Display

Vintage finds are artfully displayed in every room in this home. By the desk, a colorful handmade jacket adds a splash of bright color that accentuates the reds found in the various books, and the yellow of the ottoman. Even the wood tone of the floor is tied into this colorful piece.

Sweet Accessories

Small surprises peek out from every corner in this home, adding to its beauty and charm. Nestled in among the books, Nana Yaa includes collected pieces to style the row of shelving. Everything from travel souvenirs to her favorite Ghanaian Barbies sit amongst a selection of her favorite books.

Stunning Built-Ins

The architectural delights of this home seem never-ending, and this massive built-in mirror and bench only add to the wonder. Here Nana Yaa offers another colorful display of books as well as a glimpse of her impressive collection of records. A sentimental, personal touch, the space is decorated with a single photograph of the designer’s mother.

Cool Vignettes

Off to one side of the dining room, Nana Yaa’s favorite form of transportation makes its own colorful contribution to the decor. This simple yet chic vignette is completed with the inclusion of an African mask hanging on the wall. Though minimalist, Nana Yaa’s style includes a lot of art, which the fashion designer often uses as an ode to her culture, a memento of places she’s been or a reminder of old friends.

Books As Art

On the other side of the fireplace, more colorful sketches accompany a selection of images of one of Nana Yaa’s grandmothers, whom she cites as one of her favorite people and a constant source of inspiration. On the floor, stacks of books piled high become another design moment, celebrating Nana Yaa’s love of the written word. This designer shows that books don’t have to be messy. They can become unique style moments in an interior.

Design Is in the Details

Nana Yaa has a way of turning every moment into a showcase. At the top of the stairs, traveling from the first floor to the second, one is greeted with even more small delights in the hallway. Here, a collection of her favorite shoes are fashionably displayed. The most eye-catching—a pair of Nikes personalized with the designer’s name.

Warm Elements

While the living room sofa is a striking shade of pink, the wood furnishings temper that pastel color. A close-up view of the coffee table showcases the wood elements that define so much of this home’s decor. The warm neutral is used in different shades throughout the home’s two stories, often layered in combination to give the space an even more warm, inviting feel.

Dress Up

Dress forms are to be expected in the home of a fashion designer, but few dress forms display such an array of global pieces. Both forms are decorated with beaded necklaces from Ghana while the smaller one sports a neckpiece made in Paris. Along with the beads, the larger form wears a small golden pouch that Nana Yaa picked up while traveling in Israel. It also displays her collection of colorful Ghanaian hats, one of her favorite summer accessories, which weave leather together with plant fibers.

Minimalist Kitchen

Much like the dining room, this kitchen is a study in how using strong doses of cool and warm neutral colors to define a room allows a variety of other colors to fit into a palette. Here pops of yellow, green, orange and purple are brought in through everything from fresh fruit to an oxidized metal bin. Using several bright colors in small pops creates a colorful space that doesn’t overwhelm.

Walk-In Closet Dreams

Where would a fashion designer’s home be without a fabulous closet? Fortunately, this home boasts a walk-through closet that connects the living room and bedroom. With more than enough space to store everything that a fashion-lover could ever need, the shelves display row upon row of amazing footwear while the racks hold pieces from some of the finest fashion houses in the world.

Creating a Home Office

Across from the fireplace a small desk sits tucked against the wall where the designer can work while enjoying her favorite music. The small nook is a wonderful way to carve out a personalized home office. Framed sketches, cameras and masks—all strong recurring themes in the home—decorate the space, giving the work environment an equal share in the decoration and feeling of the home. A small globe is a fitting finishing touch for Nana Yaa, who claims travel as her first and truest love.

Clothing As Art

A vintage piece from Kenzo adds a splash of color to this minimalist bedroom. Nana Yaa has a way of using clothing as unique decorative touches in her interior.

A Bedroom Retreat

Beautiful and serene, Nana Yaa’s bedroom fits perfectly with the rest of the house continuing the color scheme and decorating motifs seen throughout. Oversized mirrors enlarge the already sizable sleeping area. Within this stylish setup, however, there is always room for dealing with the real needs of daily life. A series of drawers under the bed offers additional storage for anything that the closet can’t hold.

A Curated Library

An avid reader, Nana Yaa admits that the library was one of the most welcome surprises in a home that she accepted sight unseen while she was in the process of moving to New York. The space is a pass through from the dining room into the kitchen, and it’s the perfect place to house all of her favorite reading material. The library makes for a tasteful transition into the kitchen, as well as offering a tempting destination in itself.

Sophisticated Bathroom

This bathroom has all of the laid-back sophistication that one would expect from a modern pied-à-terre. Boasting as much comfort as style, the room is dominated by a classic claw foot tub.

Artful Elements

Small touches dot this room giving it a global feel as well as a touch of whimsy. Small planters are suspended over the tub for a pop of life and greenery. Also above the tub is a colorful piece of art found in a market in Mexico City, depicting a scene from the Day of the Dead.

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