Apartment tour: 1BR in the East Village

Photo archivist and avid collector Jeanie Engelbach's cheerful dwelling is an ode to American nostalgia.

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  • Photograph: Brian Harkin

    Apartment tour: Jeanie EngelbachLicensed to Time Out New York only.photo 2011...

    For the past 17 years, photo archivist and visual stylist Jeanie Engelbach (photojeanie.com) has filled her rental with collections of vintage toys, contemporary art and brightly colored furniture. In the process, she has created a vivid collage of sentimental treasures displayed in innovative arrangements. "It's definitely an amalgamation of Pee-wee's Playhouse, Andy Warhol's Factory and Candyland," she explains. "I could never be a minimalist."

  • Photograph: Brian Harkin

    Apartment tour: Jeanie EngelbachLicensed to Time Out New York only.photo 2011...

    During her time as visual manager at ABC Carpet & Home (888 Broadway between 18th and 19th Sts; 212-473-3000, abchome.com), Engelbach considered this massive, retro-inspired chaise longue the bane of her existence---it was her then-boyfriend who convinced her to bring the unwieldy item home. "It's deceptively comfortable," she admits, noting that it also helped define a separate living space within the open floor plan. "It's literally the library. [It serves as] my afternoon-reading-magazines-with-the-dogs-curled-up-on-me spot, although I generally fall asleep by the second paragraph." Engelbach adorns it with a Thomas Paul reversible pillow from Velocity Art and Design (velocityartanddesign.com) and a needlepoint queen style from Jonathan Adler (locations throughout the city; visit jonathanadler.com) that was a 40th birthday gift. "My nickname is Queen---that's queen with a period," she deadpans.

  • Photograph: Brian Harkin

    Apartment tour: Jeanie EngelbachLicensed to Time Out New York only.photo 2011...

    "When I collect things, it's based on nostalgia," explains Engelbach. She hand-painted this bust---dubbed either Paul Presley or Elvis Stanley, depending on Engelbach's mood---which she picked up years ago at a now-closed store that specialized in plaster of paris items, and gives it a year-round party vibe by crowning it with an old New Year's Eve tiara. The festive character is flanked by half of Engelbach's bobblehead collection, which she spent 12 years accumulating from Toy Tokyo (91 Second Ave between 5th and 6th Sts; 212-673-5424, toytokyo.com) and directly from the Funko website (funko.com). "I try to incorporate collections into the design of the apartment," notes Engelbach. "If I start a new collection, I really have to know that there's a place for it."

  • Photograph: Brian Harkin

    Apartment tour: Jeanie EngelbachLicensed to Time Out New York only.photo 2011...

    The other half of Engelbach's bobblehead collection is housed in a customized cupboard that she originally found outside of a dental office not far from her apartment.

  • Photograph: Brian Harkin

    Apartment tour: Jeanie EngelbachLicensed to Time Out New York only.photo 2011...

    "I love bright colors and glitter," enthuses Engelbach. "I like to say that nothing I have comes in nature." The exception would be this once-plain kitchen table from the Conran Shop (888 Broadway between 18th and 19th Sts, lower level; 212-755-9079, conranusa.com), which Engelbach had hand-painted in a wild leopard print by her artist friend Kerry Beasley. Engelbach also dolled up the pink chandelier from ABC Carpet & Home with a floral garland. "I'm really not good at leaving things alone," she jokes.

  • Photograph: Brian Harkin

    Apartment tour: Jeanie EngelbachLicensed to Time Out New York only.photo 2011...

    The kitchen serves as an appropriate place for displaying Engelbach's vast assortment of vintage lunchboxes, sourced from across the country. Actress Abigail Breslin---one of Engelbach's neighbors and clients---gave her a candy-themed version as a gift. "It's funny, because I only had one lunchbox growing up," she recalls. "It was Holly Hobbie and I hated it, but I never asked for a new one."

  • Photograph: Brian Harkin

    Apartment tour: Jeanie EngelbachLicensed to Time Out New York only.photo 2011...

    Engelbach comes from a family of collectors: her father is an avid art collector, and her namesake maternal grandmother displayed fine porcelain teacups and china. Engelbach's parents, who also amass historical items, gifted her this collection of shipwrecked glass bottles, many of which were produced on the Lower East Side. "They liked the idea of giving me a foundation of a collection," she says. The vessels sit on a mantle scored at the original Pennsylvania Anthropologie (anthropologie.com) and are backed by vintage labels picked up at New Jersey's Atlantic City Antique Show (jmkshows.com). "I selected each one based on my relationship to the subject," explains Engelbach. "I love navel oranges, the Cry Baby grapes remind me of a baby photo of my mother and the Fat Pak boy looks like Spanky from the Little Rascals."

  • Photograph: Brian Harkin

    Apartment tour: Jeanie EngelbachLicensed to Time Out New York only.photo 2011...

    Before Engelbach's business took off, she worked at Swiss Bank Corporation in Stamford, Connecticut, and shared an office with a globe in it. "I would stare at [it] all the time, thinking about where I would like to be other than Connecticut," she recalls. When her position was eliminated unexpectedly, Engelbach marched upstairs, grabbed the globe and left. "It was like Steve Martin in The Jerk: 'This is all I need.'" From then on, the collection grew. Most of the globes hail from flea markets, including the Brooklyn Flea (brooklynflea.com), Renningers Antiques & Farmer's Market (renningers.com) in Pennsylvania, and Pasadena's Rose Bowl Flea Market (rgcshows.com/rosebowl.aspx).

  • Photograph: Brian Harkin

    Apartment tour: Jeanie EngelbachLicensed to Time Out New York only.photo 2011...

    While working at ABC Carpet & Home, Engelbach fell in love with the antique carnival railing from England that sits next to her bed. "It was priced at $1,000, so nobody ever bought it," she says. After she left the company, she returned to the store one day, only to discover that the railing was being thrown away. "The first-floor manager at the time was like, 'It was in the trash so we can't charge you---it's free.'" Engelbach found her bold bedding online at Sin in Linen (sininlinen.com) and purchased the cheeky banana-split pillow from Hable Construction (hableconstruction.com). The shoe canvas was a gift her parents purchased during opening weekend at the Andy Warhol Museum (warhol.org) in Pittsburgh, while the window valance is something Engelbach designed and created from plastic Pop Ink plates sourced at Alphabets.

  • Photograph: Brian Harkin

    Apartment tour: Jeanie EngelbachLicensed to Time Out New York only.photo 2011...

    Engelbach found this quirky depiction of Steve Buscemi painted on a thick piece of wood at Bold Hype Gallery (547 W 27th St between Tenth and Eleventh Aves, fifth floor; 212-868-2322, boldhype.net) show. "I have loved Steve Buscemi ever since Parting Glances," says Engelbach. The avid collector claims she's addicted to art and often has to stop herself from purchasing certain items, due to the lack of wall space in her pad. She called two friends to try and have them talk her out of buying this piece before dialing her father, who suggested she just buy it.

  • Photograph: Brian Harkin

    Apartment tour: Jeanie EngelbachLicensed to Time Out New York only.photo 2011...

    "Most people would probably think this is overwhelming---an explosion of color and a million things to look at," admits Engelbach of her living room. "To me, it's very calming. I feel like everything is very contained and organized." The antique bench is from the original Anthropologie store, while the red vinyl couch is a vintage gem from the Pier Antiques Show (stellashows.com). Engelbach decorated the latter with oilcloth pillows from Urban Outfitters (locations throughout the city; visit urbanoutfitters.com). A vintage bottle crate from the now-defunct 26th Street flea market serves as a unique storage solution for rolled-up magazines.

  • Photograph: Brian Harkin

    Apartment tour: Jeanie EngelbachLicensed to Time Out New York only.photo 2011...

    "I have an affinity for oilcloth," gushes Engelbach. She created this kitchen backsplash by cutting out her favorite shapes from her beloved textile. "It's easy to clean," she notes. Engelbach then trimmed the backsplash with an apple garland she found at a Christmas shop in the city and added a tiny plastic spider "to keep it off-kilter." She found the Hello Kitty soap dispensers on eBay after scouring "every hip and cool resource" in the city to no avail. The pink pump is filled with hand soap and the blue one with dish soap, following the logic that boys are dirtier than girls.

  • Photograph: Brian Harkin

    Apartment tour: Jeanie EngelbachLicensed to Time Out New York only.photo 2011...

    Engelbach shares her pad with her two English bulldogs, Tater Tot and Little Bit, who occupies his favorite kid-size circle chair from Las Venus. "I spend a ridiculous amount of money on my dogs' welfare and health," concedes Engelbach. "I do things for them I would never do for myself." At a recent birthday party for Little Bit, Engelbach invited eight of his canine friends over. The animals had their own crudits platter and sittings with a pet clairvoyant, who acted as a medium to express the dogs' feelings.

  • Photograph: Brian Harkin

    Apartment tour: Jeanie EngelbachLicensed to Time Out New York only.photo 2011...

    An old tailor's bench that was discarded on 14th Street now serves as Engelbach's desk. After dragging it home, she had the face of one drawer sawed off and added a hinge to make the perfect pull-out for her computer keyboard. Engelbach also built in shelves underneath for extra storage and covered them in oilcloth. The DIY spirit extends to her neon-green nightstand featuring flames on the legs---an art project she and her then-boyfriend undertook.

  • Photograph: Brian Harkin

    Apartment tour: Jeanie EngelbachLicensed to Time Out New York only.photo 2011...

  • Photograph: Brian Harkin

    Apartment tour: Jeanie EngelbachLicensed to Time Out New York only.photo 2011...

    "These teeter on tacky," Engelbach admits of this collection of state plates that wraps around her kitchen doorway. She tries to limit the collection to include only places she's been, but occasionally someone will gift her a plate from a locale she's never stepped foot in.

  • Photograph: Brian Harkin

    Apartment tour: Jeanie EngelbachLicensed to Time Out New York only.photo 2011...

    This ornate mirror sits behind treasured family photos and was a street discovery in Dumbo. "I would say a good 60 percent of the stuff in my apartment is found," says Engelbach.

Photograph: Brian Harkin

Apartment tour: Jeanie EngelbachLicensed to Time Out New York only.photo 2011...

For the past 17 years, photo archivist and visual stylist Jeanie Engelbach (photojeanie.com) has filled her rental with collections of vintage toys, contemporary art and brightly colored furniture. In the process, she has created a vivid collage of sentimental treasures displayed in innovative arrangements. "It's definitely an amalgamation of Pee-wee's Playhouse, Andy Warhol's Factory and Candyland," she explains. "I could never be a minimalist."

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Alphabets (115 Ave A between St. Marks and E 7th Sts; 800-419-3989, alphabetsnyc.com)
Engelbach frequents this gift shop for cutesy decorative elements and quirky presents, such as denture-shaped ice trays and porcelain stag antlers.

Jonathan Levine Gallery (529 W 20th St between Tenth and Eleventh Aves, ninth floor; 212-243-3822, jonathanlevinegallery.com)
Engelbach adores this contemporary-art gallery for its graffiti and Pop-Surrealist works. "He's one of the few people that represents the Juxtapoz artist," she notes, referring to curator Jonathan Levine. "He was the first to bring that subculture of artists to New York City."

Kings County Salvage (103 Broadway between Bedford Ave and Berry St, Williamsburg, Brooklyn; 718-362-0660, kingscountysalvage.com)
This rustic antiques shop sells its wares at both locations of the Brooklyn Flea on weekends, which is how Engelbach prefers to shop for innovative storage solutions such as mason jars and wooden crates. She also finds soda bottles here—another of Engelbach's many collections.

Las Venus (163 Ludlow St at Stanton St; 212-982-0608, lasvenus.com)
"It has really great quirky, functional vintage-modern finds that aren't overpriced," enthuses Engelbach of this retro home-furnishings store. "And the stock changes so quickly, it's always something new."

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