It would be tough to argue that “Michael Imperioli: Hunt for the Perfect Apartment” packs the same punch as “Lincoln Rhyme: Hunt for the Bone Collector.” The latter is a new NBC crime series with Mr. Imperioli playing a no-nonsense old-school detective, a role that necessitated relocating to New York from his home in Santa Barbara, Calif.
Still, Mr. Imperioli’s search for a desirable place to park himself had its moments — not, perhaps, of high drama, but of “isn’t it a small world” coincidence. In the interest of ratcheting up the suspense, that saga will be kept under wraps for a paragraph or two.
Mr. Imperioli, an Emmy winner for his portrayal of the feckless mobster Christopher Moltisanti on “The Sopranos” (he also wrote several episodes of the acclaimed series), moved to Manhattan from Mount Vernon, N.Y., in 1985, and with the exception of a stint on 43rd Street and Eighth Avenue, gravitated toward apartments in the West Village and TriBeCa. Still, for reasons he can’t explain, Mr. Imperioli knew that someday he would live in a particular section of the Upper West Side, an area he valued for its architecture, ambience and very settled population.
“Downtown has a lot of new buildings and people who are transplants,” he said. “Up here, it feels the way New York felt when I first was in the city.”
The time seemed right for Mr. Imperioli to fulfill his residential manifest destiny when he joined the cast of “Bone Collector.”
It was love at first sight, several months ago, when he and his wife, Victoria Imperioli, walked into a one-bedroom sublet on the 10th floor of a prewar co-op. Actually, it was love at second sight, and here’s where the coincidence comes in. A year or so earlier, the couple had been to the building to check out an apartment in the same line on the 11th floor.
“The time wasn’t right for us then, and we kind of forgot about it,” Mr. Imperioli said. “And then when we started looking again, we walked in and said, ‘This is the place we really liked.’”
The view of the Hudson was the big lure. “It’s awesome,” said Mr. Imperioli, who also liked the scale of the building. “I don’t like those giant, giant places where you feel you’re in an anonymous environment. But it’s not too small. You have your privacy.”
And while he values the thick walls indigenous to a prewar, there are certain sounds that are just fine with him, for example, the gleeful shouts from a nearby schoolyard. “Hearing kids at play is really nice,” Mr. Imperioli, the father of three adult children, said with a warm smile, adding: “And they’re not out there at night!”
Michael Imperioli, 53
Occupation: Actor and writer
Away from the mob scene: “In New York, you’re always around lots of people. You need a place like this apartment to protect yourself and to recharge.”
He wanted the apartment’s décor to be conducive to the activities that fill his days away from the set of “Bone Collector”: reading, memorizing his lines and writing. (He has adapted his debut novel, “The Perfume Burned His Eyes,” as a play that will have a performance at Joe’s Pub in late March.)
Fortunately, help was close at hand. In addition to being an entrepreneur, Mrs. Imperioli is an interior designer. The project was a breeze thanks to a client who was both absent and trusting. (“I didn’t need to tell her what I like,” Mr. Imperioli said. “Not after 24 years.”)
Thanks were also due to a big storage unit with accessories and furniture (lots of Second Empire) from the couple’s previous residences, offices and a theater they once owned.
“The deal was that we wanted this to be like a fancy hotel suite,” Mr. Imperioli said.
The overarching look is Hollywood Regency. In the living room, the glammed-up classical theme is supported by busts of Mercury, Athena and Michelangelo’s “David,” as well as lampshades with a Greek-key design and animal prints on the rug and on a pair of side chairs.
Gray dominates. It covers the tufted sofa and the tufted love seat, the ottoman and a velvet cushion giving the living room the feel of a soignée study. It all feels just right to Mr. Imperioli, who wanted a space where he could also play the guitar (he has a 1966 Fender Jaguar).
Mrs. Imperioli’s fondness for primary colors and luxe textures found an outlet in the bedroom: The damask curtains, the draped fabric above the headboard, the covering on the chaise longue, the tassels on the lampshades, the geometric pattern on the cushion in front of the Buddha shrine where Mr. Imperioli mediates daily — all sunny yellow.
A marble bust of Dante’s muse Beatrice sits on a table by the bed. “It’s just incredible,” Mr. Imperioli said. “It’s just a phenomenal piece.”
Phenomenal, too, he thinks, is the 19th-century German painting of the Virgin Mary and her mother — “I believe that’s who it is”— that hangs on a wall in the bedroom. “I found it in a thrift store,” Mr. Imperioli said. “Pretty wild, huh? I gave it to my wife for her birthday.”
The length of his lease is tied, in part, to the fortunes of “Bone Collector.” But for the moment, Mr. Imperioli has settled in nicely, assembling a shelf of books from local stores and rare book dealers; a particular prize is an inscribed copy of the novel “Shosha,” by his favorite author, Isaac Bashevis Singer.
“My younger son thought the apartment would feel generic, but when he came over he saw that the style and objects were similar to what we have in California,” Mr. Imperioli said. “This place really does feel like home.”