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.”
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…