Last week, the internet surfaced a cheaply constructed rainbow apartment-for-rent in Downtown Los Angeles: an ode to Trapper Keeper empress Lisa Frank, designed as an advertisement for Hotels.com. Naturally, its novelty made the SponCon go viral, and the space, available only for stays October 11-27, was booked out immediately.
But after being inundated with tagged posts, Instagram design influencer Amina Mucciolo noticed something strange about the promotion. Mucciolo is the brain behind her own rainbow explosion apartment, and many of the design elements in the Hotels.com space, she believes, mimic her own rental. (It does not help that the spaces share a kindred layout.) In a 27-minute long YouTube video, Mucciolo details the similarities between the two apartments, and chronicles a series of events that she believes has lead to her eviction—all, she believes, because her brightly colored apartment it is located in the same development as the Lisa Frank Flat.
Jezebel reached out to Mucciolo and Hotels.com and will update this post if either party responds.
Mucciolo designed her apartment, which she dubbed Cloudland, back in 2017. In that year, she posted a handful of DIY videos on YouTube outlining exactly how she transformed her space into the pastel rainbow creation. Photos and a house tour of her apartment have been readily available since then, and Mucciolo was the source of more than a handful of headlines for her whimsical, unicorn-inspired homestead. Because of Cloudland’s ubiquity on design blogs, it’s challenging to believe that someone on the Hotels.com or Lisa Frank team didn’t see her space in the process of location scouting.
According to UncoverLA, Mucciolo’s landlord partnered with Barsala, a luxury brand that books out empty apartments for promotional experiences, and the company reserved a space in Mucciolo’s building for the Lisa Frank partnership.
Throughout the vlog, she claims that her landlord is essentially “trying to capitalize,” on her original designs by recreating them with Lisa Frank products in partnership with Hotels.com, instead of allowing a tenet to occupy the space. She believes that her eviction is related to the fact that both apartments are in the same complex. “They’re trying to evict us so they can profit from something we did,” she says through tears.
On Twitter, Hotels.com responded to Mucciolo, writing that her “situation” is “unrelated to the Hotels.com Lisa Frank Flat.”
A few hours later, Mucciolo thanked her followers for their support and added that her relationship with her landlord is tenuous because she pays rent erratically, due to mental health struggles. In the past, though, her landlord “always accommodated every late payment,” adding that “this last time we needed to pay late but were refused.”
Everyone, including the landlord’s lawyer, thought the reaction to a late payment was unreasonable, says Mucciolo. “It all became clear when we saw the Lisa Frank hotel which completely ripped us off,” she said.
Because of her alleged predicament, Mucciolo has launched a GoFundMe to help pay for her legal bills and assistance in finding a new place to live. At the moment, she has raised over $11,000 of her $20,000 goal.
Update (10/15, 9:58 a.m.): A representative of Hotels.com provided Jezebel with the following statement:
The Hotels.com Lisa Frank Flat was inspired solely by Lisa Frank and designed in partnership with Lisa Frank using her iconic signature prints and characters, many of which were originally developed in the ‘80s and ‘90s. The flat was created for a two-week pop-up in a space that is used only as a short-term rental and no tenant was asked to move or leave for this collaboration.