In Kelly Devine’s Apartment, Even the Furniture Has to Audition – New York Times

Subsequently, she tried Midtown on for size, then Chelsea. At one point, while working on international productions of “Rock of Ages,” Ms. Devine put her worldly goods in storage and leaned on friends with a guest room or foldout sofa.

Now she’s the one with a spare room and a spare sofa. A few years ago, Ms. Devine and Mr. Rigby sold their one-bedroom on the Upper West Side and moved half a mile north to the two-bedroom condo.

“The one-bedroom was the first place I’d ever owned, and I got really excited about decorating it and doing it up,” Ms. Devine said. “That led us to wanting more space.”

Name: Kelly Devine

Age “I’m a totally fully grown woman. I’m not 20, and I’m not 60.” Occupation Choreographer Backup Plan “If I didn’t do what I do, I’d be an interior designer. I love helping friends decorate their homes or dressing rooms. I love the hunt for the really cool piece, the thing that sets that little corner on fire.”

The washer and dryer Ms. Devine prayed for must wait for another day and another apartment. Ditto the open kitchen. (A weight-bearing wall and a fragile budget got in the way of that particular dream.) But there’s a wall of exposed brick and a balcony brushed by a big tree. When Ms Devine checked out the place for the first time, the tree held a blue jay and its nest. “I thought, ‘Well, that’s a good omen,’” she recalled.

Ms. Devine’s own nest is a study in pleasing contrasts. Cozy coexists with industrial, angular with curvy, slate gray and black with pops of bright color, like the orange atomic age chair in a corner of the living room and the vivid tones of the wall-to-wall paintings. Most of them come from the Affordable Art Fair, a show of contemporary, accessibly priced pieces that is held in cities around the world. One exception is an arresting poster-sized photograph of the 16-year-old dance student Kelly Devine in a deep backbend.

“If I tried to do that now,” she said ruefully, “I’m not sure I’d be able to walk the next day.”

Ms. Devine and Mr. Rigby got rid of the two bulky French doors that opened onto the balcony and installed a single door with one large pane of glass. “Now you see the outside immediately, and you feel you can touch the tree,” said Ms. Devine, who oversaw the design of the shelving and storage in the office/guest room, then got down to the serious business of choosing furniture and accessories.

“I won’t stop until I find exactly the right thing,” she said. “Sometimes I’ll order three types of things, and the winner gets to stay.” She recently auditioned several disparate objects to add interest to a spot near the fireplace. Alas, none filled the role.

Because of her many years working in the theater, Ms. Devine understands the importance of collaboration. And that’s why she likes to advance the story that her husband is on the decorating committee for the apartment. Maybe it’s true. Who can say? “But at the end of the day, I’m the chairman and C.E.O.,” Ms. Devine said.

Still, in the matter of picking a sofa for the living room, Mr. Rigby was taking a back seat to no one. “I think we looked at every single couch in New York City. I didn’t know if the marriage was going to survive,” Ms. Devine said. Fortunately, before the couple came to blows they went to Paris, where they found a gray sectional they both loved.

Finding a dining table for the narrow space outside the kitchen proved equally nettlesome, though it didn’t require the use of frequent-flier miles. “I’d been in a kitchen store and seen a cream-colored countertop that looked like someone had poured a bucket of paint in the center and let it bleed out over the edge,” Ms. Devine said. “It was the coolest thing, and I wanted to replicate it, so I started calling concrete shops. A lot of people thought I was crazy. They didn’t know I knew what I was talking about.”

Finally, someone understood and produced what Ms. Devine was after: a gray table with an undertone of blue. Already, it bears the marks of many celebrations: over here, the outline of the greasy plate that held a pile of chicken wings at a Super Bowl party; over there, the trace of the bottom of a wine glass; over there, another outline of a wine glass.

“Wineglass stains are very popular in our house,” Ms. Devine said. “We do like our wine.”


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