Some people will go to great lengths to maintain ties with their closest friends. They'll babysit, help out by making meals, or they might even lend money. But Clyde Alves (currently co-starring in On the Town) and his wife Robyn Hurder easily topped all that.
"We spent so much time in their apartment, we decided we should get one here ourselves," Alves says. That was two and a half years ago, and now all the couples have to do is run up (or down) a few flights of stairs. That's so much better, Alves says, then traveling to get together.
And there were other advantages, too. At 1,150 square feet, it has two bedrooms (one of them was converted into a nursery for their son, 14-month-old Hudson), a dining room, a big kitchen and a living room. And the rent is much lower than it would be in other parts of the city.
"These old apartments are big," Hurder says. "The nursery was another reason why we moved here. It could have been an office or the baby's room.
"And a lot of the apartments around here are being renovated. The landlord put a Jacuzzi in our tub — it's great for Clyde when he comes home after the show — and also all-new stainless steel appliances in the kitchen."
Other nice touches: A sunken living room with little Art Deco gates on each side of the step that goes down into the room. ("That just feels very original," Hurder says.) And a huge kitchen with lots of cabinets and faux granite countertops. "That's what sold me," Hurder adds. "I'm a big, big cook."
Once they moved in, they got busy with the decorating. "We both did it," Alves says, "but Robyn more than me."
"I have all these hopes and dreams," Hurder says. "I like to have empty picture frames in the dining room because they're kind of abstract. And then, when the holidays come, I can stick things in them. For Thanksgiving, I put leaves in them. For Christmas, I put in pine cones. And for Valentine's Day, I put in them little hearts. And I love the frames; they look like tarnished gold.
"I like a kind of trendy, antique look. But it has to be cozy. I want people to feel that they're in a house — not in an apartment in New York City. I'm from Maine, so I had to buy a fake fireplace. And I want to keep everything in earth tones."
She says the walls of the living room are painted the color of "a very light chocolate milkshake," an armchair is a rich dark brown and the couch is a very pale green.
About that couch: Since they often have friends and family staying over, they made sure to get a convertible that people could actually sleep on. It has a three inch thick Tempur-Pedic mattress and, Hurder says, "it's one of the most comfortable beds I've ever slept on."
"Our style?" Alves says. "We think it's a good mix of rustic and clean lines." "We don't like clutter," Hurder adds. But there is one little bone of contention. "I like everything to be asymmetric; I want everything to be askew," Hurder says. "Clyde wants everything to be lined up perfectly." Then she grins and playfully tosses a small zing at her husband: "It's called OCD."
All this while, Hudson is smiling and laughing and joining the interview with indecipherable baby talk. One corner of the living room is reserved for his toys. "He's taking over," Alves says. "We were going to get a chest to contain his toys, but for now we've designated that corner for him."
"I'm very proud of his nursery," Hurder says. Walking into the room feels like sinking into a very soft carpet. Actually, it's how they sound-proofed the room. There are three Queen sized egg crates (mattress covers) tucked under the rug to muffle the outside sounds.
Next Hurder carefully placed decals of birds and trees on the walls. "My inspiration was a crisp, first fall day. I love that feeling so much that it's what I wanted for Hudson's room."
Now that Hudson is a bit older, Hurder is ready to start auditioning again. She's about to appear in a March 18-22 Encores production of Paint Your Wagon. (Some of her previous shows: Nice Work If You Can Get It, Grease, Chicago and more.)
Alves (among his credits: Nice Work If You Can Get It along with his wife, Bullets Over Broadway, Anything Goes and Hairspray) is hoping for at least a year's run with On the Town. At the end of year, he figures, he and Hurder will be able to buy a home.
"I know we have a beautiful show," he says. "This is a transitional time for us. It's the first time I've been in sort of a starring role in a show like this, and it's the first time Robyn's been a mom. So this is very exciting for us. This is literally the next chapter of our lives."
And when they talk about exciting times, they both remember reading the New York Times review of On the Town.
"We were in our car, on the way to the opening night party," Hurder says. "We were all glammed up. Clyde was in a nice, fancy suit and I'm in a sparkly gown. And the review came out. I said I'd read it out loud and Clyde said: 'If it's anything bad, I don't want to hear it.'" She got to the Critics Choice label and started to read the first sentence. It was such an out-and-out rave, they had to pull the car over. They'd both started to cry with their tears cascading all over their glamorous outfits.
"We've been lucky," Alves says. "But part of that whole luck thing is being certain about what you want and keeping that passion."
"Things just work out when you're in the city," Hurder adds. "The city has energy, and I just have faith that everything's going to work out. The city's been really good to us."