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By admin • April 29, 2017 • 0 Comments

The living room floor slopes in Laura Osnes’s fifth-floor walk-up on the Upper West Side, baffling Lyla, the resident Chihuahua, making guests question their alcohol intake and necessitating the removal of the rolling desk chair.

The kitchen is of a size that invites unfavorable comparisons to a postage stamp, and the dishwasher is 35 years old (that would be Ms. Osnes’s husband, Nathan Johnson). But there is a deck, high ceilings and exposed brick — and thanks to the five-flight climb, absolutely no need to join a gym. It’s all very “Barefoot in the Park,” an association that delights the apartment’s occupants, who, while approaching their 10th anniversary, seem as much like newlyweds as the characters in that Neil Simon play.

“We’re very happy here,” said Ms. Osnes, 31, a two-time Tony Award nominee (for the musicals “Bonnie and Clyde” and “Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella”) and a star of the Broadway musical “Bandstand,” which opened April 26.

When Ms. Osnes triumphed in a reality show talent competition and won the lead in the 2007 Broadway revival of the musical “Grease,” the prize didn’t include help in smoothing the way from her home in Eagan, Minn., to the mean streets of Manhattan. “It was like, ‘See you in New York for your first rehearsal,’” recalled Ms. Osnes, who was knee-deep in wedding plans at the time.

She and Mr. Johnson, an actor turned photographer, came east to scout the territory and found a one-bedroom on the 31st floor of the Orion, a shiny new high-rise condominium near Times Square. The unit’s owner was offering a year’s lease, and the newlyweds grabbed it, lured by the view, the unsullied surfaces and the location.

“It was super close to the theater I’d be working at,” Ms. Osnes said. “There were laundry facilities a floor away, and a doorman. And they served continental breakfast. Moving here with a job and a brand-new husband and a great apartment set us off on the right foot.”

But after a year, the couple wanted to see some trees and save some money, and it so happened that a cast mate from “Grease” was vacating her one-bedroom rental and looking for someone to take over the lease. Ms. Osnes and Mr. Johnson were willing and eager.

“We were ready for a change. We were ready for the New York experience,” said Ms. Osnes, who wasn’t sure initially just how much of that New York experience she really wanted. “When we lived in the high-rise and I went to visit friends in walk-ups, I thought to myself, ‘I will never do this. Why would anyone live like this?’ And then, a year later, I found myself living in a five-flight walk-up. It’s funny how your attitudes change the longer you live here.”

Ms. Osnes and Mr. Johnson exude a sunny optimism, a can-do and make-do spirit. Faced with less than meager work space in the kitchen — and both avid cooks — they installed a tiny drop-down wood counter in the living room.

Eight for Thanksgiving? Easy.

And with little wall space to hang show posters and a certain disinclination to bring her work home, Ms. Osnes went with show magnets instead. They’re neatly lined up on the refrigerator door.

The apartment is furnished mostly with pieces the couple had on their wedding registry and hauled to New York from Minnesota. They’ve since replaced the sofa and bought an accent chair, both gray, as well as an off-white rug, and they recently hired Mike Harrison, an interior designer, to add some polish.

Mr. Harrison successfully pushed for more throw pillows on the sofa, painted an accent wall colonial blue, hung a round mirror on the brick wall to give the living room more depth, and moved around a few pieces of art. But he knew better than to mess with the liquor cabinet, which is the domain of Mr. Johnson (his wife drinks nothing stronger than tea).

Mr. Harrison also stayed away from the wall unit, which holds Ms. Osnes’s very special property: 10 binders of Playbills (arranged chronologically, starting with the “Man of La Mancha” Broadway revival she saw during a trip to New York as a high school student in 2003) and a selection of board games, including Yahtzee, Life, Sorry, Scrabble and Clue. Be warned: Ms. Osnes takes her Scrabble very, very seriously.

“Laura is incredibly talented at it, but she doesn’t want to brag,” Mr. Johnson said, adding, “I no longer play Clue with her; I know what the outcome is going to be.”

As soon as the weather turns fine, the fun and games move to the deck. Early on, the couple had it resurfaced and bought a grill. Now, a favorite handmade rug from the Citizenry, a home goods website, has come outdoors for the season.

“Even though other people around us have decks, it still feels really private,” Ms. Osnes said. “We love having friends over, and when Nate grills, our place becomes a real hang.”

Because they live on the top floor, it is sometimes easy for Ms. Osnes to forget the building has other occupants, so she might just burst into song.

“Sometimes I’ll see people in the hall and they’ll say, ‘Oh, we heard you singing yesterday,’” Ms. Osnes said. ‘And I’m like, ‘I am so sorry.’ And they’re always very nice and say, ‘No, we love it.’”

Of course they love it. Who wouldn’t?

(Source)

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