Upstate with Lisa Przystup

Lisa Przystup, author of UPSTATE and the brilliant florist beyond Brass Tacks, shares the practices she relies on to feel most at home wherever she goes. And with an insatiable curiosity about how others live, and the choices they make to feel most at home, you can expect inspiration and eye candy at every turn. You might just want to make the move upstate after reading. Or at least start arranging flowers at home.

How do you start the day? 

Wake up, turn the white noise machine off, lay in bed and check the weather/check my email/scroll through IG (obviously less than ideal but I’m working on it), then I head downstairs and pour a cup of coffee with a splash of oat milk—I always drink it with a couple squares of dark chocolate (nibble chocolate, sip coffee, repeat).  Then I put WNYC on and hop on the computer for a beat to go through emails—after that, it’s time to have some breakfast, which is usually hot cereal with a bunch of toppings (flax seed, a nut of some sort, dried or fresh fruit, coconut, some brown sugar, all topped with half and half or oat milk) OR just a good old fashioned bowl of cereal OR yogurt with granola. 

Tell us about your new book, Upstate. How did it come to be?

The concept behind the book was already in place when the publisher approached me to author it—that being said, I’ve always had a thing for interiors: specifically the different way everyone makes a house a home. 

We've heard you say that "getting to know your house" is important. Any tips on how to do this?

Super simple: live in it :) When I said that I think I was specifically thinking about our experience moving into our house—we’re both nesters at heart so we moved pretty quickly to get everything set up but we put everything in place before we knew how we were going to be living in the space—we hadn’t had the time to get to know it, to really live in it. If you’re patient and are able to sit for a beat and do this first you’ll make decisions that make more sense and fit into how you live in and use your home, how you host in your home etc. When we lived in Brooklyn our small railroad apartment made it so that there were only a limited number of places to put certain things so the smallness of the space made it so that we had less choices, which was easier in a way.

What are some of your favorite objects in your home? 

A wasps nest my husband gave me for my birthday a couple years ago. A tumbleweed I found in Arizona (I rode cross country with it in my lap because the whole rest of the car was packed full). Handmade twisted beeswax tapers from Il Buco Vita—they’re super special and unique—a type of medieval candle called “duplero.” Collections of rocks and shells. A painted chest and set of onyx wine glasses that belonged to my husband’s mother. The dresser in our bedroom that my husband grew up with. Paintings from my godson.  

What are you listening to?

WNYC, The New Yorker Radio Hour, Wait Wait...Don’t Tell Me, This American Life, My husband’s EP, A Celebration, John Prine, S.E. Rogie, Elizabeth Cotton, A.A. Bondy’s older stuff, Rex, Howlin’ Wolf, Mulatu Astatke.


What are you watching? 

What We Do in the Shadows. Also just finished watching The Chair and starting to rewatch Arrested Development.


What are you reading? 

Crying in H Mart, Best American Essays 2020, The New Yorker


What are you cooking?

Grilled trout (we keep it super simple and stuff them with lemons/rosemary/olive oil/salt + pepper, sometimes capers).

Anything with the last of summer fruits and produce: grilled peach/corn/basil salad, tomato salad, grilled eggplant dish from Dining In.  

This delicious chicken dish from bon app. 

What practices do you have that support you feeling your best? 

Going on trail walks, sitting in the sun, pond swims, reading, daily workouts.

Do you have a favorite ritual?

Coffee in the morning. Taking our dog for a walk on our favorite trail near our house. Sitting in the sun that finds its way to the side of our house everyday in full force around 3:00/4:00. Making a floral arrangement from foraged stuffs from around our house, flowers from local farms, and when I’m lucky, stems from a friend’s mind blowing cutting garden. 

What is the most interesting thing in your kitchen? 

A 1.5 litre bottle of opened and untouched Yellowtail wine that was in the lazy susan corner cabinet when we bought the house. That or the wall-mounted wood towel drying rack my husband made. Oh and the cast iron griddle that sits across two burners on our stovetop, which was my husband’s grandfather’s (he would always make pancakes on it at their family cabin and now we use it to do the same). 

Go-to meal that you make for yourself more often than not?

Midnight Pasta from The New York Times—a super simple dish that combines all my favorite salty things: capers + anchovies plus garlic and red pepper flakes. So easy. So satisfying. I also love making tomato and garlic rubbed toast with sardines and white beans. 


What are some of your favorite spots upstate?

Hollow in Delhi for honest to goodness legit GOOD coffee, amazing pastries and breakfast sandwiches.

The Delhi Farmer’s Market for fresh seasonal goods from local farmers. 

Russel’s in Bovina for the best no frills classic BEC and slices of crazy good heartwarming pie from Magpies. 

The Stonehouse Shop in Delhi for a thoughtfully curated selection of beautiful things (including the most gorgeous rugs). 

Wild Common Wine in Andes for everything from the most gluggable oranges to hard to find treats like Chinola. 

Wilson’s Bread in Andes for amazing bread (seeded and non-seeded alike) and mind blowingly delicious chocolate croissants. 

Clementine Vintage in Andes for so many vintage gems. 


Favorite furniture shops? 

Craigslist. Facebook Marketplace. This + That in Delhi.


How do you end the day?

Light some incense, put on sweats, make an end-of-the-workday cocktail or pour a splash of wine, cook dinner, do the dishes, crawl into bed.  

Upstate: Living Spaces with Space to Live by Lisa Przystup with photography by Sarah Elliott.

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