Required Reading: Heading ‘Upstate’

We’ve been enamored of writer Lisa Przystup’s singular design sense ever since we first featured her sparsely rustic Catskills farmhouse way back in 2017—painted wood floors, a brass kitchen backsplash, and an airy attic guest room included. Ever since—and especially these days—I’ve followed via her Instagram feed, @brass_tacks, for glimpses of upstate life and little-by-little adjustments to her place.

It was on Instagram that we first spotted Przystup’s new bookUpstate: Living Spaces with Space to Live, out this month from The Monacelli Press—and we were eager to get our hands on it. When our copies arrived, Julie and I leafed through at our respective houses, poring over Przystup’s own house and that of the book’s photographer, Sarah Elliott (@selliottphoto), which bookend the selections, plus 10 more from Ghent to Hudson, Ancram to Delhi.

Przystup and her husband made the move northward for more space after a decade in New York City, so it’s partly from personal experience that she writes in the book’s introduction, “A home upstate can mean just that: room. Room to breathe, room to spread out, and at its most literal, rooms (as in many)—acres of bedrooms, ambitious backyards, winding banister staircases that lead to second and third floors.”

Have a peek at just a few such spaces from the book—then order a copy for yourself.

Ancram Project from Upstate Book by Lisa Przystup, Photo by Sarah Elliott Above: The carefully composed, “perfectly symmetrical” Ancram house of architect Mimi Madigan, with a clean-lined wood stove and an upright piano, made in Amsterdam.
Hillsdale Project from Upstate Book by Lisa Przystup, Photo by Sarah Elliott Above: Elliott’s own place in Hillsdale, a 1790s Greek Revival farmhouse where she lives with her husband, Dan. Renovating it meant dealing with lead paint, followed by no fewer than four coats of new paint and restoring every window. Here, a living room with a sheepskin, wide-plank floors, and a vase by Clam Lab.
Accord Project from Upstate Book by Lisa Przystup, Photo by Sarah Elliott Above: A sculptural lounge chair in Don Howell and Ray Camano’s 1830s house in Accord. (Note the plaster walls—they’re skimmed with “Don’s own recipe: rabbit-hide glue, slaked lime, pigment.”)
Hamden Project from Upstate Book by Lisa Przystup, Photo by Sarah Elliott Above: A freestanding sink in the Hamden kitchen of photographers Andrea Gentl and Martin Hyers, with hints of the couple’s bric-a-brac collections—the very bones of the place included. (The floors, for example, were sourced from a barn in Vermont.) Not pictured: Andrea’s “witchy apothecary,” jars of herbs and incense collected in their travels.
Bovina Project from Upstate Book by Lisa Przystup, Photo by Sarah Elliott Above: Inside the bed and bath of Sara and Sohail Zandi, just across the street from their Bovina restaurant, Brushland Eating House.
Craryville Project from Upstate Book by Lisa Przystup, Photo by Sarah Elliott Above: In the Craryville home of James Coviello, antiques connoisseur and design director for Anna Sui, a “flock of cuckoo clocks—twenty dollars for a box full.”

Hamden Project from Upstate Book by Lisa Przystup, Photo by Sarah Elliott Above: Autumn upstate, outside Andrea Gentl and Martin Hyers’ rebuilt house.
Upstate Book by Lisa Przystup Above: Upstate comes out October 27 and is available for pre-order now via Amazon (or look for it from your local bookshop).

More books to read this fall:

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