The ‘Sentimental Excess’ of Sarah Stiles

The ‘Sentimental Excess’ of Sarah Stiles

The ‘Sentimental Excess’ of Sarah Stiles

The ‘Sentimental Excess’ of Sarah Stiles

And they did. After bouncing around the boroughs, followed by a brief marriage that landed her in Washington, D.C., and a lot of couch-surfing when she returned to New York, Ms. Stiles got the fairly steady use of a two-bedroom rental not far from that Upper West Side residence hall. Now she lives there full-time — and officially — with her husband of almost six months, Jeff Dodson. (The second bedroom has been outfitted to accommodate Mr. Dodson’s two daughters, Lily and Addy, who spend part of each week there.)

“This place has major history for me,” Ms. Stiles said.

It began almost 20 years ago, when she visited the apartment as a plus-one for a game night; her future first husband was a pal of the host. Soon, Ms. Stiles became the host’s pal, too. The friendship survived the breakup of her marriage, and Ms. Stiles often used the apartment as a crash pad.

“When ‘Hand to God’ came around, my friend’s roommate was moving out and my friend was spending a lot of time in Los Angeles,” she said. “So, basically, it was my own place for this really incredible time in my life both personally and professionally. I did a lot of growing up here.”

In the fall of 2018, two years after she met Mr. Dodson, who is the head electrician at the Samuel J. Friedman Theater, Ms. Stiles moved from the apartment she loved to the Inwood apartment of the man she loved. Three months later, just about the time she had finished redecorating Mr. Dodson’s apartment, and right before the start of rehearsals for “Tootsie,” her friend called. He was vacating the apartment for good and wanted to sign the lease over to her. “He said that he wanted me to live there with Jeff and Jeff’s daughters,” recalled Ms. Stiles. She was happy to oblige.

Credit…Katherine Marks for The New York Times

“We moved everything in, like, a weekend,” she said. “We repainted. We got some furniture, and now it’s our house.”

Several years and several rentals ago, Ms. Stiles made an unsuccessful stab at minimalism. Recently, she has contemplated following the example of a friend whose apartment was done in shades of cream and gray. “It was beautiful,” she said.


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