When we think of Upstate New York, we think of Lisa Przystup. She’s one of those rare gems that can genuinely do all the things. From writing to florals to having effortless style, she’s our go-to for lifestyle inspiration. Przysteup and her husband, Jonathon Linaberry (also an incredible musician) left the bustle of NYC to live in the most charming of Catskills farmhouses. Finding beauty in simpler things, Przysteup is the type of human we’d love to kick back within an Adirondack, enjoying a healthy pour of red, surrounded by nature.
In today’s interview, we get the chance to chat with her about what motivated her first book, Upstate: Living Spaces with Space to Live (photographed by Sarah Elliot), and her journey in getting there.
Without further ado, take a seat with the glorious Lisa Przystup!
First things first—you just came out with your first book, Upstate! Tell us all about it:
The idea was to share a handful of upstate homes and sort of drill down to what makes living up here so special and how the space it affords (especially from my perspective coming from the city) influences how you create a space and how you live in that space.
What inspired the book?
I wish I could say I came up with the concept but to be perfectly honest, what really happened is that the publisher approached me with the idea so I really had nothing to do with dreaming up the wonderful scheme.
What do you hope readers will take away from Upstate?
A sense of warmth and home. A big, fat slice of inspiration.
What was your favorite part about writing the book?
Getting to meet all the homeowners and spend the day chatting with them. You learn so much about the story of a home when you get to hang out for eight hours with the people who turned an empty house into one—to me their stories are almost as important (if not more) than all the design details. The story behind each decision, each piece of furniture is filled with so much intention, history and thoughtful meaning than their immediate aesthetics imply.
Spoiler alert—you live upstate! What drew you away from NYC and what do you love most about your beautiful home?
NYC is a really, really hard city to leave and there’s a very good chance we’ll be back at some point. That being said, the impetus behind us tucking away into the Catskills was the reprieve and reset it gave us from the relentless energy of the city. Just to be still and quiet is such a necessary thing. I think what we love most about our home are the memories we’ve created hosting the people we love. It adds an intangible layer of love and warmth that stays long after friends and family have left. Oh and the light—I love seeing the way the light travels through the home throughout the day. Also eating dinner outside in our backyard in the summer (at a table my husband made, no less). That’s pretty special too. Also, also: the sound of the wood screen door slamming shut.
Tell us about your journey as a writer and how you wound up here:
It feels like an epic one. I grew up loving books—excessively, obsessively even. They gave me worlds on worlds to collapse into and a feeling of freedom and wide possibility. Naturally I ended up also loving writing—telling people’s stories, putting together a beautiful sentence…all of it. I got an undergrad degree in mass communication and creative writing with a minor in english lit and then a master’s in journalism, moved to NYC and waited tables while pitching, pitching, pitching (if I had a dime for every “JUST CIRCLING BACK ON THIS!!!” email I sent to an editor who never wrote back I’d be rich), networked and interned and eventually after about four years of never really getting anywhere decided it was time to be a grown up about things and gather my transferable skills and find a job with health care so I started copywriting for fashion brands: Moda Operandi, J.Crew, Club Monaco and did some writing I cared about on the side (and had a small floral business on the side too—it felt refreshing to pitch flowers instead of stories to my old connections and people are more inclined to say yes to those somehow). I can’t say when it happened or why but at some point all those seeds I planted in my endless string of follow-up emails turned into relationships with editors and I was able to gain some traction as a published writer. I’m dogged in my pursuit of things so maybe there’s something to be said about stepping away and not putting all your eggs in one basket that allows the powers that be to open the door a crack.
What are your creative passions and what fuels them?
Endeavoring to make beautiful things: whether it’s writing/storytelling, making an arrangement, taking a photo, setting a table…creating those moments makes me really so happy. Not sure what fuels them exactly—it’s just sort of a knee jerk thing.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Wow. That’s a hard one. Nothing immediate comes to mind really. So many gems here and there…I guess if I had to pick something it would be to worry less about what other people think about you (which is easier said than done).
What are five things you can’t live without right now?
Chapstick, coffee, good light bulbs (really digging these pink ones right now), steel wool, and a crazy warm jacket (and moisturizer—I know that’s six but it’s really worth mentioning).
What’s a daily ritual giving you solace right now?
Pouring a glass of wine. I kid. (Kind of). I’d say lighting candles and/or incense and putting on some nice music at the end of every day—it helps signal the shift from working to relaxing, which is a real challenge working remotely as there’s no physical change in location to help aid that transition.
What’s next for Lisa Przystup?
Gosh I don’t know but just thinking that there might be something next on the horizon makes me pretty excited.