Name: Lori Mooney, a TV producer who also runs the website TV Travels with Lori. She shares the apartment with her cat Prancer.
Location: Bronx, New York
Size: 525 square feet
Years lived in: 6 years, renting
"I usually describe the decoration of my home as a 'visual assault.' I like a million colors coming at me as soon as I walk through the front door," explains TV and entertainment superfan Lori Mooney, of the incredibly one-of-a-kind apartment she rents in the Bronx. "There is nothing I hate more than a plain wall so I have covered pretty much every inch of my apartment with thousands of photos that I have cut out from magazines."
To say Lori's home decor style isn't for everyone would be an understatement, but it simply can't be disputed that this is a home like no other. It's the apartment of a person who takes chances. It's a home where creativity and individuality is on full display. And it's a space that fits its inhabitant—a TV producer and a frequent visitor to houses featured in TV and film—and her personality perfectly. All characteristics that deserve celebrating!
Along with the magazine cutouts (Lori has a People magazine subscription) covering the walls (and floors), she also collects television- and movie-themed items, like figurines, fabric, stuffed animals, pillows and more. But though her decor style is self-described as "visual assault," Lori's got it totally under control. "I like to call myself an organized hoarder, because I do like to have a ton of things on display, but in a very neat and non-messy way."
Watch the video above for a visual tour of her unique Bronx rental apartment. And read through some of her interview responses below to have your burning questions answered (like how she attaches the cutouts to her surfaces):
"Embrace who you are and go full-out. People tell me all the time that I've lost my mind and that my home needs to be more 'mature,' but I ignore them and I cut out my magazines and do what I want to do."
Apartment Therapy: How do you attach the cutouts?
Lori Mooney: So, pretty much 95% of the cutouts on the wall are put up with reusable adhesive putty. There are a variety of companies that sell them, but the one I've been using most recently is HandiTak. I just roll up tiny pieces, stick them on the four corners of each cutout and slap them on the wall. It's great because not only does it not damage the wall, it also doesn't damage the cutout when I remove them. Some of the magazine cutouts on my wall are cutouts that were hanging up in my childhood bedroom. In the rare instances, where I've used up all my HandiTak and I'm in a bind, I'll just use regular tape to stick cutouts on the wall, but it's hard to remove the tape without damaging the cutouts, so I only use tape if I really don't care about keeping whatever I'm putting up.
AT: Are the images sealed? Is the floor easy to clean?
LM: On the walls and cabinets and I guess all upright surfaces, none of the images are covered or sealed. I just cut them up and slap them on the wall. On the floor, what I did was tape the magazine cutouts to the tile floor and then I covered the cutouts with clear Con-Tact paper so that they were protected when people walked on them. Then I taped the Con-Tact paper down with duct tape along the sides of the floor so that the Con-Tact paper wouldn't roll up. I clean my magazine-covered floors just like I cleaned them when they weren't covered—with wet mop pads. Since there's Con-Tact paper over them, the floors are able to get wet without getting damaged and are super easy to clean.
AT: How do you dust?
LM: Just because I'm always buying new things and moving things around to make room for them, I don't feel like a lot of dust ever accumulates. If I ever notice anything though, I just take everything off the shelf, wipe the surface down and then rinse everything off in the sink. Dusting is easy when pretty much everything you own is plastic!
"I've had a collaged bedroom since I was about 10 years old. Every time I fell in love with a TV show or a celebrity, I wanted to have those interests displayed on my walls."
Apartment Therapy: What's your favorite room?
Lori Mooney: Even though I have not used my stove or oven once in this room, my favorite room is actually my kitchen because there's a lot of stuff going on in there, but it's all different. I have a ton of magazine collages going on as I do throughout the apartment, but I also covered my cabinets with different colored wrapping paper to offset it. My entire refrigerator is completely covered with magnets from all the different places I've traveled. To add a cool dimension to the room, I cut out photos of food from magazines and I lined the floor with them and then covered them with contact paper so they remain intact (three years and still going strong!). The kitchen is very small, but there's so much going on that I love being in there and looking at it from afar.
AT: If you could magically change something about your home, what would it be?
LM: I honestly love my home so much that there isn't much, but the one thing that irks me is that my cat has pretty much destroyed my blinds. I spent six hours on each set of blinds cutting magazine photos into strips and then gluing each piece individually onto them (can't have plain white blinds!) and because my cat pushes through them to look out the window, a lot of the strips have broken off, and it looks messy. It's a ton of work to re-do them so I've left them, but if I had a magic wand, poof, new ones would appear!
"My decorating style is very affordable though, I think, because instead of replacing things that aren't working, I just cover them up. Much cheaper to cover your walls and floors with magazines than to buy cans of paint or new tiles."
AT: How much do you think this has all cost?
LM: Oh man, this is tough! I like cheap things, but I also like having a LOT of cheap things, so everything does add up. With big-ticket items, I like going as cheap as possible because I'm going to end up covering them to fit my style anyway. My couch cost me $400 at Big Lots and then I covered the back of it with blankets and the cushions with novelty fleece blankets. The dressers in my bedroom are actually stacks of plastic bins that I covered in magazine photos. The cabinets and countertops in my kitchen are pretty old, but I never needed to get anything replaced because I just completely covered the wooden cabinets with magazine cutouts and wrapping paper, and then covered the countertops with rubber shelf liners I'd bought at a dollar store. I'm always looking for ways to tailor things to my liking without spending a lot of money. But I do like to collect ridiculous amounts of TV/movie figurines and plush dolls and I love an entertainment-themed pillow (Society6.com), so there's a chance my whole apartment has thousands of dollars worth of $10 items displayed in it, but I have no idea!
My decorating style is very affordable though, I think, because instead of replacing things that aren't working, I just cover them up. Much cheaper to cover your walls and floors with magazines than to buy cans of paint or new tiles. One of my favorite things to do is go to a dollar store and buy tons of wrapping paper and decorative items and then figure out what to do with them when I get home.
AT: Did your teenage bedroom have collages, too?
LM: I've had a collaged bedroom since I was about 10 years old. Every time I fell in love with a TV show or a celebrity, I wanted to have those interests displayed on my walls. Then as I gained more interests, I displayed more images and the whole collage thing was born. It used to be a lot of big posters, but then I realized that lots of little pictures were more visually striking, so when I was 16, I moved exclusively to that. Growing up, one of my biggest pop culture influences was old-school Rosie O'Donnell. When she had her talk show, she had no shame about obsessing over celebrities and showing off her McDonalds Happy Meal collections and her old Donnie and Marie dolls. She made it cool to love pop culture, and for the first time, it was like, yes! I never have to outgrow my neuroses!
TV Talk with Lori Mooney
(Of course I had to ask someone who loves TV so much she's collaged her entire home in it about her favorite shows.)
What are your top three underrated television shows?
- The Grinder (Fred Savage does not get enough comedy credit!)
- Boy Meets World (I don't care how old you are. That show was consistently funny.)
- Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip (Aaron Sorkin can do no wrong.)
Top three OVERrated television shows?
- Stranger Things (wanted to love it so bad. Didn't.)
- The Walking Dead (Watched only so I'd be able to buy its merch and then got so bored.)
- 30 Rock (Love every actor on that show! Hated every episode I saw!)
- Impractical Jokers (I can watch the same episodes over and over again and they never get old.)
- Murphy Brown (Still holds up after all these years!)
- Friends (Always a good time.)
- Living Single (Erika Alexander was comedy gold.)
- Relativity (Only lasted one season on ABC in 1996 and I'm still mad about it.)