The turquoise front door—offset by white brick and a flight of yellow stairs—is the first indication of what’s to come at Malene Barnett’s home in Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood. “I wanted to set the tone before you even walk in,” she says. “So that you know right away this is something very different on the block.” Mission accomplished. On the other side of that eye-catching façade is a home drenched in color, with floors stained a bright teal, an interior staircase in burning orange, and the master bedroom cloaked in a soothing, sleep-inducing lavender. “I wanted my home to reflect my Caribbean heritage,” says the designer, whose multidisciplinary business, Malene B, specializes in textiles, fine art, and sculpture. “The color palette you see here is in sync with one you’d find there.”
While her Caribbean background has played a pivotal role in the direction of her home’s design, Malene, an avid traveler, has peppered the space with art and objects that carry stories of the 20-plus countries she’s visited over the span of her career: glass paintings from Senegal, clay vases from Colombia, metalwork from Nepal, a birthing chair from West Africa.
Interspersed throughout are items from places closer to home—some passed down from family members, others salvaged from secondhand stores or handpicked from the designer’s own product offering. (Likely to be added next: pieces from her forthcoming collection of handmade clay vessels, inspired by house decorations painted by women in northern Ghana, Burkina Faso, and Mauritania.)
Though varied, the mix of colors, textures, and artwork appears effortless—and, according to Malene, it is. “I don’t ever have to worry: Does this color match? Is this going to go with that?” she says. “I have so many colors in the space, everything matches.” Keep scrolling to see the full range of hues in this kaleidoscopic home.