Every morning for 18 years, Bellamy Young woke up in the City of Angels and thought longingly and nostalgically of waking up in the city that never sleeps.
Young is the sort who counts her blessings and determinedly aims for a high tally. So of course she’s grateful for the work that anchored her to Los Angeles, notably her seven-season gig as the ambitious first-lady-turned-president Mellie Grant on the hit ABC series “Scandal.” Grateful, too, for her very nice house in a canyon, her piano, her trees, her garden.
Nonetheless, Young wanted to be a part of it, New York, New York, where she lived for several years after college in an assortment of apartments, and where, in 1997, she appeared on Broadway in the Tony-nominated musical “The Life.”
“When I first moved here, I had what was called a bedroom but was really a closet,” Young said. “I lived in one apartment on 99th Street with utter strangers. My mother still doesn’t know about that. But it was New York, so you’re walking up six flights to a studio apartment and you think you’re fabulous because it has an exposed brick wall.”
Last year, Young, 49, was cast as the elegant, gin-embracing mother of the title character on the Fox crime drama “Prodigal Son.” It was a good part, but that wasn’t the best part: The series would be shot in New York.
Young promptly did a long, deep dive on StreetEasy and deputized some close friends to attend open houses on her behalf in preparation for the July relocation. “I had a very specific dream of what going back to New York would look like and feel like,” she said.
At the top of her wish list were big windows, “because I’ve looked at trees for 18 years and I wanted to look at urban life.” A washer and dryer in the apartment was also a priority because, Young said, “I’m too old to go downstairs to the basement to do laundry.”
She got the cityscape and the spin cycle in a one-bedroom rental with floor-to-ceiling windows on the 19th floor of a high-rise in the theater district. An added dividend was the balcony, or as Young characterizes it, the front porch on which sits a compact glider.
“I’ve got a porch and a rocker like a good Southern girl,” said Young, who is from Asheville, North Carolina.
“All I do is watch Manhattan and her citizens and her drama and the sunset,” she said. “I watch it the way some people watch a fish tank. It’s all really my giant-screen TV. I watch and I happy-cry.”
The style of the home she has in Los Angeles tilts toward the luxe and dramatic: large shapes, bold colors, velvets and metallics. “It’s very Hollywood glamour,” Young said. “You can’t deny the draw.”
But in New York, she wanted a totally different look, welcoming the chance to live a double life of sorts, this one simple and minimalist — tulip table, Lucite chairs, two-tiered rectangular glass coffee table — with a neutral palette and living room walls that are all but bare. The sole exception is a neon “love” sign.
“All my art is in LA, and I was trying to figure out what I could put here,” Young said, indicating a space above the sofa. “I searched the Getty archive to see what they had. Then I thought about commissioning a fancy neon piece, but I didn’t want to commit to that. So I just Amazon-ed a little ‘love.’ And it was delivered right to me.”
“I so enjoy the streamlined design here,” she added. “It’s such a delight to curate an existence, to have a premeditated take on what is necessary and what gives you joy.”
There is, for example, joy in the Yamaha keyboard that Young bought with her boyfriend, Pedro Segundo, a percussionist — “we play it and sing, and that makes this a home”— and the vase of white lilies that she refreshes every 10 days.
“I got a guy on Ninth Avenue,” Young said. “I give him $20, and he gives me some beautiful lilies. That’s my major indulgence. They’re so architectural and dramatic and fragrant.”
She limited what she brought from Los Angeles to a short stack of books, a few photos and some stones, including a heart-shaped piece of rose quartz given to her by Segundo. “When life is confusing or stressful, I can touch a stone and remind myself of happier times,” Young said.
She is now on a first-name basis with Ikea (supplier of the sofa, the dresser, the bed) and CB2 (the metal chairs on the deck), often blearily pointing and clicking in the wee small hours to outfit the space.
Admittedly, mistakes were made. Young meant to select a black-and-tan rug from West Elm for the living room and inadvertently tapped on navy blue. “But the glass on the porch railing is blue, so I was like, ‘I’ll lean into it,’” she said. “So I got navy cushions for the couch from Amazon.”
Then there was the matter of the tableware and glassware from Ikea. When the lot was uncrated, Young deemed the mugs too mingy to hold the volume of tea and cocoa she requires. Fortunately, a highly desirable alternative was just steps away, at one of the souvenir shops in the neighborhood.
“I thought to myself, I’m going to get an ‘I Love New York’ mug,” Young said, holding her new acquisition aloft.
“I’m all for it. Get the message out: I love New York.”