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When Kathryn Gallagher was 11, the career demands of her father, actor Peter Gallagher, forced the family to move from Manhattan’s Upper West Side to Los Angeles. A decade or so later, the demands of his own burgeoning career – in particular, a role in the 2015 Broadway revival of “Spring Awakening” – meant a return to Manhattan. And she knew exactly where she wanted to land.

“I was like, ‘If I’m going to live in New York, it must be the Upper West Side, which is my home, and that’s where the best bagels are found,’” Ms. Gallagher said, now. 28-year-old currently Tony-nominated for her performance in the musical “Jagged Little Pill” and cast member of Season 2 of the Amazon series “Modern Love”, based on the New York Times column. “This is my neighborhood. “

Initially, she rented a studio on the fourth floor of a walk-up building near Central Park West, fulfilling any “young woman in the big city” dreams she ever had. There were tall windows, exposed brickwork, moldings and just the right amount of decay. But with the three or four (or more) daily walks required by his dog, Willie Nelson, the up and down stairs have become strenuous.


Occupation: Actor and songwriter

Design to live: “It is very helpful to have a mother who is an interior decorator. I inherited my mom’s sense of style, but added 50 points for wacky madness.


Ms. Gallagher is a passionate student of life. His conversation is peppered with phrases such as “hard-learned lessons”, “a learning path” and “learning curve”. So it’s no surprise that when she went looking for a new apartment two and a half years ago, she absorbed enough wisdom to resist something that was close to ground level but with the cheeky charm of the walk-up.

She found such a place – a bedroom with high ceilings and period details on the living room floor of a townhouse near Riverside Park – at the end of a long, rainy day of research with her mother. , Paula Harwood, interior designer.

“The moment I walked in I thought to myself, ‘When it was a single family house, this this was where they would meet after work to smoke a pipe and drink a whiskey, and there were books along the walls. I created quite a fantasy for the life that was lived here before, ”Ms. Gallagher said.

“It’s a one bedroom apartment that was never meant to be a one bedroom apartment,” she added. “I see it as a library and a living room. I love it.”

It is true that there is more vertical space than horizontal, and Mrs. Gallagher, an avid cook, has a “criminally small” kitchen. But, really, what’s a lack of counter space compared to the vintage mirror above the fireplace, the fireplace itself, the Tiffany-style ceiling pendant, the patio doors separating the living room from the bedroom and to the solid wood front door?

“I am obsessed with the door,” Ms. Gallagher said. “No one is touching that door. This gate has seen a lot.

In bringing the apartment together, Mrs Gallagher realized an important realization: Mom really knows better. It was Mrs Harwood, after all, who spoke out against the insanity of trying, as she put it, to move in overnight. “She was like, ‘You won’t know what you need for six months. Don’t buy everything at the start, ”Ms. Gallagher said.

It was only recently, for example, that it had radiator covers made. “I was like, ‘Sure I need it.’ But it took me a long time to realize they were even an option, ”she said, noting that she was using the new flat surfaces available to hold books. “I’m really excited about this.”

The only thing she insisted on shortly after signing the lease was a red velvet sofa. “And my mother said to me: ‘Are you Of course? ‘ ”Ms. Gallagher said. “. You can’t get an orange chair and a purple carpet.

As if. The tuxedo-style red velvet tufted sectional makes a strong impression, while a leaf patterned rug in shades of sage, cream and blue provides the appropriate silent support. “It’s the kind of sofa that, if it was in the 1920s, someone with curls in a long silk dress would be sitting on it, smoking a skinny cigarette and drinking a martini,” he said. she declared.

In the interest of filling the scene she so seriously conjured up, an Art Deco bar cart with mirrored shelves is just yards away.

In uncertain times of life and work, Mrs. Gallagher’s first instinct is to nestle. “I never imagined spending so much time in the apartment,” she said. “But since the pandemic, I have found that I love it more and more and that I have found small ways to personalize it, putting things that make me happy in every corner.”

The list includes tarot cards, guitars, and journals. Atop and around the fireplace are copious amounts of crystals and candles, as well as vases that once held congratulatory bouquets for opening night, then candy canes during the Christmas season and now flowers. dried.

On the wall behind the sofa hangs a picture of Mrs. Gallagher’s maternal grandmother, who was a member of the late Radio City Music Hall ballet company; an original piece by Erté, a gift from the same grandmother; and a needlepoint likeness of the four main female members of the cast of “Jagged Little Pill”, sewn by Mrs. Gallagher’s dresser, Dyanna Hallick.

On one wall in the bedroom is a handwritten map by Alanis Morissette, whose music forms the basis of “Pill”: “Kathryn: thank you for your courage and your will, your grace, your power and your vulnerability. I love Alanis.

Peter Gallagher, who is a “super handyman” according to his daughter, took on the role of picture holder and also installed a clothes rail in a wardrobe in the family’s old apartment, to make a closet for Mrs. Gallagher. .

“I had my dad on FaceTime when I caulked the tub and when I installed an air conditioner,” she said. “I think he was prouder of me for installing the air conditioning than he was of my Tony nomination.”

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