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Inside Jon Batiste & Suleika Jaouad’s Soul-Filled Brooklyn Home

Today AD is welcomed by Jon Batiste and Suleika Jaouad to tour their beautiful home in Brooklyn, New York. With multiple Grammys for Batiste’s album 'We Are' and Jaouad’s bestselling book, 'Between Two Kingdoms', this powerhouse couple wanted a home in which they could live and create simultaneously. After viewing close to 70 properties, it was an 1890s Brooklyn Italianate that finally felt like the One. Interior designer Hallie Goodman helped the couple create a soul-filled home, bringing together their Tunisian and New Orleanian roots in what they’ve penned the “Tunisiana” style. But what truly brought their home together was a wedding ceremony–mid-renovation, upon the return of Suleika’s leukemia, the couple tied the knot in their living room. And after a lengthy hospital stay spent scouring the web for thrifted treasures, Batiste and Jaouad’s home was finally ready for a proper homecoming. “I entered the hospital in winter. The day I was discharged was sunny and fully spring. I was weak, in need of a walker to get around, but I was so happy and relieved. As Jon and I made our way through the house, I had tears in my eyes—not just because it far exceeded our expectations. We had finally made it home.”

Jon Batiste and Suleika Jaouad’s original documentary, 'American Symphony', directed by Matthew Heineman, a portrait of two inimitable artists at a crossroad and a profound meditation on art, love, and the creative process will be released by Netflix globally later this year. Batiste's latest album World Music Radio is now available.

See more of Jon and Suleika's Brooklyn home here:

Released on 10/04/2023


[Jon playing melodica]

Hello, I'm Jon.

I'm Suleika Jaouad

And this is our house.

Oh, and that's River.

[upbeat music]

You gotta get these tiles.

I'm looking at these tile,

this whole jewel box here,

right here, this little vestibule situation with the blue,

it's incredible.

It's like a spirit when you come in the house.

Oh my goodness.

Come on, let's go in the living room.


[upbeat music]

We were looking for a house

where we could both live and create.

And the very first thing that got me about this house

was the incredible ceilings

and more specifically the tin ceilings up there.

These ceilings were falling apart,

you know, like the old tin roof blues,

like pops used to say, bob, bob,

this had the blues.

It was falling down.

We also happened to get married

in this very living room a year ago

when the house was still empty right here

in front of that mantle.

[Jon] We sat right here in the middle afterwards

and told stories

underneath this recycled water bottle chandelier.

The great Willie Cole is the artist

who assembled this is...

What else? And I think

it's a good symbol of how we approach

the rest of this house.

So many of the pieces in here are upcycled

or recycled or thrifted,

and that was really important to us.

[Jon] This house is Tunisiana,

Tunisia and Louisiana.

You see, she designed this.

She's a genius.

This is why I love my wife.

She's so incredible.

[Suleika] But I also got to work with my dear friend,

Halle Goodman,

who is an extraordinary writer and designer

and a fellow thrifter and scavenger of flea markets

and all the places where you can find soul.

We wanted objects that each tell a story

including this painting by my very own mother

and these vintage posters,

which belong to my grandfather.

This is another thing sitting on the piano here

that I want to show you.

This is Suleika in high school,

playing the double bass.

That's how she looked when we met.

And this is in a practice room at Julliard.

We met at the world's most awkward place

which is to say band camp.

Mm hmm.

[upbeat music]

We got married in this room

and I'll never forget,

it was on the eve of when I was admitted

to the bone marrow transplant.

I've been in treatment for leukemia

for the last year and a half.

So it made it all the more special.

We had a couple of our closest friends

and Jon surprised me with a singer.

[Jon] He sung unforgettable.

And you know, I played the piano here

and it was just a beautiful thing.

And that's what I like to do with the music part of it.

You know, friends will come

and we'll set the drums up right here,

and the base will be right here.

And horn players will be over there

or in the kitchen

or on the staircase here.

And just stuff will happen

that you'll just remember forever.

That's what a home should be about, right?

[Jon playing the piano]

[Jon laugh]

[upbeat rock music]

And we can't leave this room without addressing

Mr. Elephant,

the elephant bar, which people have

very strong reactions to,

either positive or negative.

Address the elephant in the room.

That's right.

You gotta address it.

[upbeat music]

Before we ever even owned a home,

before that even felt like a possibility,

I knew that someday I wanted to have Tunisian tiles

in my home.

And these were made by my friend Makhtad.

They're hand painted, hand cut,

and beautifully imperfect.

We love imperfections here.

We love flaws, and we're always looking

for the beauty in them.

Be who you are.

You are enough.

[Suleika laughs]

[mellow music]

I also wanna give a shout out to Facebook marketplace

because that's where probably

50% of the furniture in this house is from,

including this table, including these chairs.

And then of course, the madame.

She greets us every day.

And she's perfectly modest.

You wanna talk about the pink?

Yeah, the pink is...

Just thought it matched well with the blue.

I thought it felt very human and very warm.

You know, you take a bold choice

and sometimes it'll work out

and you'll be connected to something that's really powerful

within yourself and your family.

Other times you make a bold choice

and you just have to repaint it.

So we just went for it and I'm glad that we did.

[upbeat music]

This is our guest room.

This is where you'll sleep.

[Suleika laughs]

If by the end of the night everything is still copacetic.

[Suleika] This is an old bed I found in rural New Jersey

and we had it repainted.

This is a chair.

We found in upstate New York in my hometown.

So this is a very special gramophone

from The Color Purple film set

that was gifted to us by the one and only-

Oh, that's Oprah.

Oprah Winfrey.

No big deal.

[upbeat music]

And this is my beautiful base.

[Jon] Play some.

[Jon playing the melodica]

[mellow music]

[Suleika] This is one of my very favorite bathrooms

in the house.

It has these beautiful zellige tiles that remind me

of a hammam that you might find in North Africa.

And we've got this beautiful salvage sink

and beautiful salvage old school tub.

And the most important detail,

which is a very niche problem.

And that's when your husband wins

many, many Grammys, you run out of places to put them

in the house,

so we've got one here to make our guests smile.

I always think that this bathroom feels

like King Tut's bathroom.

[Suleika laughs]

You know, that's the vibe.

[mellow music]

Welcome to my office and to my painting studio.

Everything about this room is very personal to me,

from the salvage tiles

to the weird little objects that I've collected

over time that inspire me and my paintings.

And then the most important pièce de résistance

is the giant fainting couch

where I do a lot of writing and reading,

and most importantly, napping.

[Jon] I think it's important to note that

all of these Suleika originals were painted

in a hospital bed and were inspired by visions,

almost fever dreams, that she was having.

So to see them displayed here is also a story of triumph.

The thing that she overcame,

she almost in a way painted her way through it.

And that's an incredible testament to her art

but also just the transcendence of that moment.

You know, in this house,

we really believe that survival

is its own kind of creative process.

Frida Kahlo has been an inspiration to me

as someone who lives with chronic illness.

I'm really inspired

by the way that she took her own circumstances

and found creative workarounds for them.

She would paint from bed with an easel

that was gifted to her by her mom,

and that she uses a kind of lap desk.

And so I do a version of that.

I have my own lap desk

and I work horizontal a lot of the time.

[mellow music]

And this desk is really special to me.

It was a gift from Jon.

It belonged to one of my writer heroes, Joan Didion.

But I also really believe in contagion magic

which is the idea that objects are imbued

with their own stories and their own magic.

It's my prize possession.

It's also just something that I would've picked

out of a thrift store and fallen in love with regardless.

[upbeat music]

You see, what I love about the dressing room

is that you have so much space

and we have so many items of clothing and shoes,

I'd never had this growing up,

so it was just a storm in my closet.

It was just everything everywhere.

And you know, I organized it as best I could.

But you know, this is an incredible experience to have this,

you know, this is truly a gift.

[Suleika] So when we first moved in,

Jon said he wanted a piano in every single room.

And we did our very best.

So we've got this tiny little instrument.

What's it called again Jon?

[Jon] It's a celeste.

[Suleika] And our theme for the year

was family and freedom.

So that's what's on there.

[Jon playing the celeste]

[mellow music]

We're bath people,

we like to take a bath every night.

And my favorite part about this bathtub

is that the tub is directly under the skylight.

And so when the moon is really bright

you can actually see it from the tub.

And you can do that if you so wish.

[mellow music]

Nighttime routine involves reading.

And I also love this little lounge chair

where we get to hang out.

But more than anything,

it involves cuddling with our dog.

[Jon] Yeah, this is a pretty much sleep zone, you know.

Try to keep it like that.

There's a incredible feeling when you can come to a place

and it's instructing you what it wants you to do.

And you gotta keep the energy like that.

And we'd be remiss if we left this room

without talking about this baby,

which is an old screen door

that I found in a salvage yard in Pennsylvania

and very precariously strapped to the top of my car.

And we threw a mirror behind it.

And the person who put the mirror behind it,

described it as a beautiful ghost, which I love.

It's levels.

Oh, come on.

Just get a shot of that.

It's got vibe.

[upbeat music]

♪ Just take a deep breath, drink water ♪

Yeah, so we got...

If you want some water,

we got this incredible area over here.

This is the kitchen net that is outside

of the studio lounge.

As you can see here, we have

cups and we have bowls

and we have vinyl.

In particular,

I always wanted to have a studio lounge

with a cookie oven

because baking is really cool.

And Jon is far too humble to point this out,

but obviously we've got all of his accolades

in his favorite space,

which is the kitchenette.

Suleika placed all of these trophies and, you know,

I'm grateful for them,

but I find them everywhere.

They changed position constantly.

I like to surprise him.

So I put things in funny places to make him laugh.

I was trying to act as if they were always there

for the camera,

but I saw them and I was like, oh, snap.

There they go.

So that's them.

[upbeat music]

This is the lounge.

This is where we participate in very deep conversation.

Or we will have a movie night over here.

I will...

You know, I'll play games.

I'm a gamer, I'm addicted.

And I've played games from Final Fantasy seven,

which I believe is the greatest video game ever made.

You know, that's a bold claim.

I know, I know, I know.

There's many things that exist here

that happen in this space.

And relaxation is chief among them.

We just come down and cool out from the studio.

We want to decompress,

we wanna listen to some of the music,

listen to some vinyl, read some books,

there's an incredible collection of literature

that inspires me.

Yeah, this is a library of black excellence.

Basically, if you look at every single author

or subject of these books,

you'll find black excellence.

And that's something that's really important.

Suleika obviously has these ideas

that she sees in her mind's eye and I have ideas

and we're trying to figure out how to connect them.

And this room is really a manifestation of

so many of our ideas coming together and finding harmony.

And, you know, I'm very, very proud of it.

[upbeat music]

All right, AD, it's been fun.


We'll see you later.



Yeah, alright, go home.

I hope you didn't forget your shoes.

River, come on, come on.

All right.

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