This NYC Home Is Like a Mini Pop Culture Museum

updated Apr 30, 2019

This NYC Home Is Like a Mini Pop Culture Museum

updated Apr 30, 2019
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Name: Jeanie Engelbach and pup Tater Tot
Location: East Village — New York, NY
Size: 900 square feet
Years lived in: 24 years, renting

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“I’ve been collecting since I was five years old,” admits Jeanie Engelbach, “and coupled with a design aesthetic based on my nine-year-old self — candy, comics and cartoons — the apartment feels like a tightly curated mini pop culture museum.” Multi-colored PEZ dispensers, bobble heads, and teacups fill every corner. Bold colors are painted on walls. Animal print details reflect the dreams of her childhood. Visiting Jeanie’s NYC apartment is like stepping into a space outfitted by the likes of Pee-Wee Herman and Betsey Johnson.

The fact that Jeanie’s apartment is stuffed with so much, well, stuff, and it doesn’t feel like an overwhelming mess is proof she’s great at what she does; this professional organizer swears by creating collections and making sure every piece has a home. The founder and chief lifestyle curator of apartmentjeanie, partyjeanie and photojeanie, she’s been called “The Chaos Conqueror,” and helps her clients create “polished, cohesive and efficient home and workspaces.” But she also believes in surrounding yourself with what you love (even if that’s vintage lunch boxes).

“I smile every time I open the front door.”

Her apartment — that she’s been renting for an impressive 24 years — has a vibrant East Village location that reflects the color and energy of her home. In fact, the action on the streets adds to her home’s atmosphere. “…since I refuse to draw the blinds of the six large, street-facing windows, most people can see into our second floor apartment and think it is a store based on the collections displayed and bright lighting.”

With such strong design statements (and stuff), there are certainly people who aren’t fans of Jeanie’s home. But admirer of the style or not, you can’t deny that this home is one-of-a-kind. “It really is a colorful, happy place and most will think I am slightly insane but I find it to be really calm and welcoming. I smile every time I open the front door.”

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: If Betsey Johnson decorated PeeWee’s Playhouse by way of the flea market.

Inspiration: My 9-year-old self — fueled on candy, cartoons and comics. When I was a kid, I was super into rainbows, which is clearly reflected in my color palette.

Favorite Element: Nine windows that run the length of the entire apartment. I live near street level, however the buildings across the street are low so I have unobstructed access to streaming sunlight, which is just gorgeous during the afternoon. As much as I try, I can never capture its beauty on the camera.

Biggest Challenge: Being a long-term renter, I have to accept my kitchen and bathroom will never be upgraded.

What Friends Say: There is always something new to see or that they hadn’t noticed before. (The latter is true, not the former)

There is so much stuff but somehow it doesn’t feel overwhelming or disorganized. (A testament to my profession)

You can’t help but smile in my home. (It’s true; it’s mandated you must be happy when surrounded by so much color & sunshine)

Biggest Embarrassment: The dust. I’m often asked how do I dust all my collections and the truth is — I don’t. At least not regularly. Each collection will get a deep clean once or twice a year usually spurned by my hosting an event or a photo shoot. I wouldn’t be able to run my company if dusting were a priority. The apartment is regularly cleaned by a professional, but admittedly there is currently a light patina of dust on the PEZ dispensers. In my defense, I live on the second floor of a major crosstown street and I tend to keep my windows open year round, so there is always an infiltration of that glamorous NYC grit.

Proudest DIY: I’m obsessed with my library wall! I have amassed a robust globe collection, which dominated a section of the living room. I had wanted to remove my IKEA Billy bookcase in favor of suspending two vintage school desks that I had procured from the street. Each desk provides three levels of shelving and the concealed book shelves are ideal for stacking books as a riser for the globes. Creating the wall was also an excellent opportunity to edit my book collection and be more thoughtful when purchasing reading materials.

Biggest Indulgence: Art. The majority of my collections are budget -riendly however my taste in art is not. I demonstrate very little self control when it comes to acquiring art. I can’t stop buying British felt artist Lucy Sparrow‘s brilliant creations. She had a pop-up shop this past summer and I stopped by on the daily — I even won the honor of being named “employee of the month” because I would obsessively merchandise the products. The only thing that has somewhat deterred this affliction is my dwindling available wall space.

Best Advice: Don’t fall prey to trends or other’s opinions of what your home should look like and how you choose to live in it. Surround yourself with what you love. Your home should tell the story of you.


Bedroom — Benjamin Moore – Marshmallow Bunny, Pink Cherub, Crystal Clear. (I have no idea what the names of the other paints are as I had them applied 15 years ago.)

Orange mod chair — Las Venus
Andy Warhol Panda print — Warhol Museum
All the other furniture and accessories — street finds or purchased from various flea markets 25 yrs ago

Vintage red Naugahyde sofa — NY Pier Antiques Show
Mexican oil cloth pillows — Love Shine
Coffee table — custom made in Japan
Large mirror — found on street in Dumbo
Mantel (under mirror) — inherited from parents’ home
Wood box bench — Anthropologie
Chinese buffet — ABC Carpet & Home
Carousel light panel — ABC Carpet & Home
Red chaise — ABC Carpet & Home
Melon credenza — Mod Shop
Pink stool and Mexican woven round tray — stool – Renninger’s Adamstown Flea Market (purchased in natural wood finish, I painted the stool pink) & round tray from San Miguel de Allende
Yellow bench — Anthropologie
Bobble heads (on radiator) — toy tokyo

Dining table — custom paint design by Kerry Beasley, table from Conran’s
Dining chairs — Workbench (no longer in business)
Pink chandelier — ABC Carpet & Home (silk flowers on chain cover from Jamali Floral & Garden)
Vintage red air conditioner cabinet — Brooklyn Flea
Vintage mantel— Anthropologie
Teacup and saucer display shelves — custom made

Vintage coke crates — Golden Nugget Flea Market
Beaded flower chandelier — ABC Carpet & Home

Bed — Raymour & Flannigan
Lazy Susan mirror storage — Ikea
Nightstands — (left side inherited, right side south Jersey flea market 27 years ago – both painted to match)
Lamp (on nightstand — base Anthropologie, shade ABC Carpet & Home)
Bedding — Ann Gish
Carnival rail behind night stand — ABC Carpet & Home
Desk — street find
Desk chair — Pottery Barn
Dresser — custom made
TV stand — street find
Custom dog bed — Stitcha
Yellow vanity — Anthropologie
Shoe print above bed — Warhol Museum

Cabinet above toilet — Anthropologie

Thanks, Jeanie!

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