Lisa Przystup has thought a lot about home. Her home, yes, but also “home” in the broader sense of the word. In fact, she wrote a book on upstate interiors that came out today.
“Looking for a house is such an emotional thing,” she says. “It’s that same kind of fictitious precedent, like New Year’s Eve or buying a wedding dress.” Lisa and her husband, musician Jonathon Linaberry, saw 18 properties before finding their 1893 farmhouse in Delhi, New York. It was during the negotiation process, she says, “when the attachment really began.”
Four years later, “we’re in a real relationship with this house,” Lisa says. Though the home had seen numerous renovations by previous owners, there was still work to do to make it the couple’s own. Coming from a small, railroad-style Brooklyn apartment, Lisa and Jonathon craved simplicity and room to breathe—both mental and physical. They started by painting the floors and walls white (a design element Lisa had been dreaming about for more than 10 years), an initial choice that set the mood for the rest of the house. She describes the palette as “earth tones punctuated by other earth tones.”
Though the couple went full minimalism when first decorating, with time, they took to adding more warmth through layers and textures. “This is going to sound hippie-dippie, but you have to get to know your house,” says Lisa. After learning how they liked to live in the space, the pair changed furniture arrangements several times and still enjoy taking on home-improvement projects (just this past summer, Jonathon built a set of stairs, a fence, and planted a new garden). For Lisa and Jonathon, a design process that is continuously evolving alongside its inhabitants is the way to create an authentic, lived-in home.
A natural vintage-hunting devotee, Lisa understands that sourcing secondhand items requires patience. “I’ve been on a three-year-long quest to find a hyper-specific Shaker bed frame that I can’t afford,” jokes Lisa, an experienced Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, and eBay user. “It hasn’t found me yet, but I’m keeping the dream alive.” It’s that approach that’s noteworthy. The art of owning an old home involves taking care with the details—pushing back against capitalist obsessions with newness and convenience, favoring quality and meaning over quick solutions.
“I’m a bit of a romantic,” says Lisa. She cites a rotary phone that belonged to her grandmother and a baby grand piano that has been in Jonathon’s family for four generations as particularly significant items. “It feels like a full circle thing, having pieces that are part of the connective tissue of your life.” In a similar vein, Lisa and Jonathon have intentionally worked to cultivate special experiences with loved ones in the home. “We’ve always wanted to provide our friends and family with the same level of escape and sanctuary we feel here,” she says. A designated outdoor dining area (string lights and all!) has seen many a summer evening full of laughter and music.
“I do not do well with change,” says Lisa, but quarantine has provided a welcome excuse to finally make the transition to living upstate full-time. The pair has relished spending more time in their favorite place. It was a natural progression, as is Lisa’s latest project. Upstate: Living Spaces With Space to Live, featuring gorgeous photography by Sarah Elliott, is an extension of Lisa’s lifelong fascination with interiors, lifestyles, and the emotional concept of “home.”
For more on Lisa and Jonathon’s Delhi farmhouse, plus 11 more beautiful spaces, check out the book here.
Table of Contents
⚒ Do It Yourself
Take your time Resist the concept of “move-in ready.” Racing to furnish an entire house will inevitably leave you with a few lackluster pieces. “If you’re forced to take your time,” explains Lisa, “the pieces you end up getting will be a better fit and have more longevity.”
Troll the resale market Lisa recommends dogged persistence when it comes to finding secondhand steals. When searching for specific vintage items online, “it’s almost like a thesaurus,” she says—search for synonyms of what you’re looking for. When looking for her bentwood dining chairs, she’d often search “curved wood chairs.” Try misspelling a designer’s name and “check more often than you think you need to.”
YouTube is your friend Since moving upstate, Jonathon has taught himself woodworking and furniture-making. “Anything he’s made, he’s done from a black hole of YouTube instruction,” says Lisa. She advises starting off with cheap wood and gradually working toward the nicer stuff. “You have to be okay with making mistakes.”
🛍 Shop It Out
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Hex Tall Grey Cement Pedestal Table by CB2, $219, cb2.com
Linen Duvet Cover by Two Dawson, $280, two-dawson.com
Modernist Table Lamp by West Elm, $179, westelm.com
Simple Candle Holder by Hawkins New York, $32, hawinsnewyork.com
Simple Linen Pillows by Hawkins New York, $85, hawkinsnewyork.com
Originally Appeared on Architectural Digest