This Brooklyn Flat Is a Rhapsody in Blue

Malene Barnett's Bed-Stuy home brings the colorful look of the Caribbean to the city.

By: Jeanine Hays

Photo By: Seth Caplan

Photo By: Seth Caplan

Photo By: Seth Caplan

Photo By: Seth Caplan

Photo By: Seth Caplan

Photo By: Seth Caplan

Photo By: Seth Caplan

Photo By: Seth Caplan

Photo By: Seth Caplan

Photo By: Seth Caplan

Photo By: Seth Caplan

Photo By: Seth Caplan

A Sea of Color

Interior designer Malene Barnett’s home radiates culture which is a central feature of her product designs-especially her amazing line of rugs. In the living room, the rug, with its pattern of churning seas, completes the conceptual connection between the blue-stained floors and these figures. Additional patterns on the pillows and art complete the vignette, bringing home elements of island life as well as African culture.

Meet the Owner

No matter where you live, the right design can take you anywhere you want to be in the world. We know that it's true because that’s exactly what Brooklyn-based designer, Malene Barnett, founder of the eponymous lifestyle brand Malene Bhasdone has done. She’s taken her expansive Bedford-Stuyvesant brownstone on a journey from New York City all the way to the Caribbean Islands that her family originally hails from. It’s a trip that’s open to anyone who steps through the door to find the symphony of color, pattern and accessories that fill the space from top to bottom.

European Style

A little bit of island luxury in this home: a tub fit for royalty. With its bright yellow stool and a petite yet regal looking chandelier, this bath is exactly what anyone would want to soak in after a long day. Surrounded by miniature tile in a calming blue, this Brooklyn bathroom has a definite European vibe.

Handmade Elements

Everyday pieces with an artistic touch are a great way to give your home a unique, curated sensibility.

Love of Color

Color is the first thing that stands out about this home. Malene loves them all, especially blue, and she's not shy about demonstrating her considerable skill with layering the color into a room. Blue is one of the quintessential colors of the islands. From the sky to the sea, it frames everything that happens in between. Malene brought that feeling to her space including the stained floorboards that define the first floor of the home.

Caribbean Inspired

Upstairs in the bedroom, the color palette softens to reflect the colors of a tropical sunset. A soft lilac shade defines the bedroom which is designed around the beautiful pattern of the bedding which is also one of the pieces that Malene offers in her product line. By the bed, the credenza warms the cool space with wood tones while over the bed a bright, colorful artwork adds energy and life.

Dine In

As amazing as the living room is, the dining room stands out as the central attraction of the first floor. Sharing a space with the kitchen, the dining room is flooded with natural light that accentuates the continual blue tone of the walls even more. To better display her fantastic collection of art, the designer carved these built-in shelves into the wall.

Vintage Statues

This home is a treasure trove of art and accessories, especially these statues. This trio of sentinels stands close to the entry adding a vintage, rustic and global feel to the space. The African wood carvings were discovered during a visit to the African market in Harlem.

Custom Bathroom

The master bathroom takes this home from the beach to the resort without missing a beat. The tile work, matching sinks and rustic, brass mirror all speak to the experience of an all-inclusive getaway. For a custom feel, Malene designed the bathroom vanity as a replica of a Chinese cabinet, featuring modern double sinks.

Modern Kitchen

When creating a space that will really transport you, always remember that it’s the little details that count the most. The colors, textures and aesthetics of these little vases and statues help to complete the story that the space is telling. Many of the pieces have been collected during the designer’s travels.

Reading Nook

The bed isn’t the only place for relaxing in this bedroom. A chaise lounge in the bedroom promises many hours of comfort, staring lazily out the window at the unique ironwork that Malene designed herself. The lounge is topped with a cushion from a favorite local store in the area, Peace and Riot.

Artful Display

Together with the dining room, the kitchen comprises an expansive space. The marble island helps divide the space while providing room for the sink and additional storage. The backsplash continues the feel of water in the space which is accented by a few well-placed pieces of art, including the designer's initials: MB.