Lisa Przystup, Brooklyn NY
Words by Natalie Shukur
Images by Winona Barton-Ballentine
Lisa Przystup is one of those unicorn-like people. The kind that, in New York, you find yourself connected to by all manner of brilliant seemingly unrelated yet somehow interwoven souls. Her influence spans many circles, disciplines and industries, considering that she's had her hand in the worlds of hospitality, writing, fashion and floristry over her eight years in NY. From the outside, Przystup appears a larger-than-life character (she moonlights as a model, too) but when you hang out with her, that intimate, "I've known you for a million years," feeling is palpable, and you quickly fall head-over-heels. She is unpretentious, puts you at ease, and makes a mean mezcal cocktail. Her railroad apartment in Brooklyn's Greenpoint neighbourhood is cozy and full of rustic charm, from her husband Jesse's (aka The Bones of J.R. Jones) musical instruments to handwritten notes tacked on the wall, and antique signs and maps that speak of wanderlust and good old times. When Przystup isn't at her current copywriting day job, you'll find her and Jesse at their upstate retreat in Delhi, New York, which they have spent the past year lovingly restoring and endlessly whitewashing to the point where Przystup is accustomed to being perennially streaked with paint in unexpected places. Delhi is where she forages for wildflowers, entertains friends, and finds a place to ground. We visited her at home in Greenpoint one evening just after the eclipse, as the light was fading and summer was coming to a wistful end.
In your own words, tell us about what you do...
Well, right now I'm working a good old-fashioned nine-to-five because until this year I hadn't had a physical in 15 years. Before that I did some plate-spinning--freelance copywriting for J.Crew and freelance writing for Garance Dore plus various other spots, and flowering for myself (I started a little floral business that I ran out of my apartment called James's Daughter Flowers) and that all felt really, really good. And now you're back to writing, what inspired the change?
Health care. Also, as much as I love working with flowers I was just not ready to take the full leap--paying through the nose for a studio space and running a team--I wasn't ballsy enough to take the financial risk and felt a little like that man behind the curtain in Wizard of Oz (read: fraud-like and without the confidence necessary to lead a team). It felt like the right time to settle down for a moment and let my bank account enjoy the pleasure of a steady paycheck.
What is most exciting you at the moment?
My husband and I are new homeowners--we have a wonderful old farmhouse (c. 1893) that is a necessary solace in both our lives. What's the soundtrack to your life right now?
Hmmm...at the very moment, A Prairie Home Companion. As of late, Nikki Lane. Sam Cooke (forever and always) and my husband's music, The Bones of J.R. Jones.
Living between Brooklyn and upstate New York, what do you love about each neighborhood and home, and how does the balance suit you?
Each place makes me appreciate the other even more. Without the sound of garbage trucks at 2:00 am picking up the stench of old seafood from the restaurant we live above and the daily commute that makes a sardine's lodging look roomy, I would never appreciate the rolling green hills and endless skies and quiet of upstate. The freedom of upstate makes me appreciate our cozy railroad apartment and the fleeting magic of the city.
Without the sound of garbage trucks at 2:00 am picking up the stench of old seafood from the restaurant we live above and the daily commute that makes a sardine's lodging look roomy, I would never appreciate the rolling green hills and endless skies and quiet of upstate. The freedom of upstate makes me appreciate our cozy railroad apartment and the fleeting magic of the city.
Which materials, textures, colors and silhouettes do you like to surround yourself with at home?
Warm things--sheepskin throws and the dream of Ben Ourain rugs. I'm also really partial to creating a monochromatic landscape with earth tones these days.
It appears you like to entertain! What makes for the perfect dinner party?
Deep breaths and a perpetually full glass of wine.
What's your weekend routine?
Wake up without an alarm. Coffee first, just like any weekday. If we're upstate and the weather is being kind, shuffle onto the porch and sip aforementioned coffee, then probably pick up a paintbrush and start painting some shabby wall in need of a whitewash. If I'm in Brooklyn, maybe a walk in the neighborhood to get a sweet treat from this amazing bakery called, appropriately, Bakeri.
Do you have a bedtime routine or ritual?
Crawl into bed; turn on white noise machine
What can't you live without?
A white noise machine. Chocolate and coffee. Warmth. Above:IN BED Peach duvet set__
What are you currently reading?
The Twelve Mile Straight by Eleanor Henderson.
What are you most looking forward to in the near future?
A family. Freedom to create what I want when I want.
See more from Lisa here.