When Kathryn Gallagher was 11, the career demands of her father, actor Peter Gallagher, forced the family to leave the Upper West Side of Manhattan for Los Angeles. About a decade later, the demands of her own emerging career – particularly a role in the Broadway revival of "Spring Awakening" in 2015 – meant a move back to Manhattan. And she knew exactly where to land.
"I thought to myself, 'If I want to live in New York, it has to be the Upper West Side, which is home and where the best bagels can be found,'" said Ms. Gallagher, now 28, a current Tony -Nomination for her performance in the musical "Jagged Little Pill" and a member of the second season of the Amazon series "Modern Love", based on the New York Times column. "This is my neighborhood."
First she rented a studio apartment on the fourth floor of a walk-in building near Central Park West, the fulfillment of every "young-woman-in-the-city" dream she has ever had. There were tall windows, exposed brick, moldings, and just the right amount of wear and tear. But with the three or four (or more) daily walks her dog Willie Nelson requested, the stairs up and down became tedious.
Kathryn Gallagher, 28 years old
Job: Actor and songwriter
Design to life: “It is very helpful to have a mother who is an interior designer. I inherited my mother's sense of style, but added 50 points for crazy madness. "
Ms. Gallagher is an avid student of life. Their conversation is peppered with phrases like “hard lessons”, “a learning journey” and “learning curve”. So it's no wonder that two and a half years ago when she was looking for a new apartment, she had picked up enough wisdom to persevere with something close to the ground, but with the cheeky charm of the walk-up.
One such place she found at the end of a long, rainy day of searching with her mother, Paula Harwood, an interior designer.
“The moment I walked in, I thought, 'When this was a family house, they used to gather here after work to smoke a pipe and have a whiskey, and there were books on the walls.' I made a whole Imagination for the life that used to be lived here, ”said Ms. Gallagher.
"This is a one-room apartment that should never be a one-room apartment," she added. “I see it as a library and lounge. I love it."
It is true that there is more vertical space than horizontal, and Ms. Gallagher, an avid cook, has "a criminally small" kitchen. But what is really a lack of counter space, measured by the vintage mirror over the fireplace, the fireplace itself, the Tiffany-style ceiling pendant light, the French doors that separate the living room from the bedroom, and the massive wooden front door?
"I'm obsessed with the door," said Mrs. Gallagher. “Nobody's messing with that door. This door saw many things. "
When moving the apartment together, Ms. Gallagher came to an important conclusion: Mama really knows best. After all, it was Ms. Harwood who resented the folly, as she put it, of moving in overnight. “She said, 'You won't know what you need for six months. Don't buy everything at the beginning, ”said Ms. Gallagher.
For example, she recently had radiator covers made. "I thought to myself, 'Of course I need them." But it took me a long time to realize that they were an option at all, "she said, noting that she was using the newly available flat surfaces to hold books. "I am very happy about it."
The only thing she insisted on shortly after signing the lease was a red velvet sofa. "And my mother said, 'Are you sure?" "Said Ms. Gallagher. “Because when you get a red velvet couch, everything else has to be chilled out. You can't get an orange chair or a purple rug. ""
As if. The red velvet, tufted cut in tuxedo style makes its strong statement, while a carpet with a leaf pattern in sage, cream and blue tones offers appropriately quiet support. "It's the kind of couch that in the 1920s someone with curly hair in a long silk robe would sit on it, smoke a thin cigarette and drink a martini," she said.
To complete the scene that she conjured up so seriously, an Art Deco bar cart with mirrored shelves is just a few meters away.
In moments of uncertainty in life and at work, Ms. Gallagher's first instinct is to nest. “I never thought I'd spend so much time in the apartment,” she says. "But since the pandemic, I've found that I love it more and more and have found little ways to personalize it by putting things in every corner that make me happy."
The list includes tarot cards, guitars, and magazines. On and around the fireplace are large amounts of crystals and candles, as well as vases that once held congratulatory bouquets on opening night, then candy canes for the Christmas season, and now dried flowers.
On the wall behind the sofa hangs a photo of Mrs. Gallagher's maternal grandmother, who was a member of the now defunct ballet company at Radio City Music Hall; an original piece by Erté, a gift from the same grandmother; and a pin-point image of the four leading actresses in "Jagged Little Pill," sewn from Ms. Gallagher's dresser, Dyanna Hallick.
On a wall in the bedroom there is a handwritten card by Alanis Morissette, whose music forms the basis of “Pill”: “Kathryn: Thank you for your courage and your willingness and grace and strength and vulnerability. Dear Alanis. "
Peter Gallagher, who according to his daughter is "super handy", took on the role of the picture hanger and also installed a clothes rail in a closet from the family's old apartment to turn it into a cloakroom for Mrs. Gallagher.
"I had my dad on FaceTime when I resealed the bathtub and put in an air conditioner," she said. "I think he was prouder of me for installing the air conditioning than of my nomination for Tony."
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