Lisa Przystup - @brass__tacks on Instagram - is a true homebody. She describes home as being where she’s most comfortable and happiest. So it makes sense her debut book is a look at different homes and interiors in upstate New York - the place she recently made her full-time home. We sat down with her for a moment to talk about tchotchkes, the idea of home as a sanctuary, and how to listen to Mother Earth to know when the seasons are about to change.
Lisa wears The Claire Dress in Smoke Stripe
Your Instagram handle is @brass__tacks - what’s the inspiration behind that?
Oh man...well, so many many years ago I had big plans to start a blog (remember BLOGS? remember having big plans?). The center, the crux of this imaginary blog was the idea of classic, timeless style—I’d espouse the merits of favoring simplicity over flash in the pan trends and feature people, brands, products, pieces that leaned in that direction. The name I came up with was “Brass Tacks” as in “get down to brass tacks”, a phrase that basically means to deal with the essentials, to get to the point. I pretty much got an Instagram account with the intention of promoting the blog but the blog never did happen and the handle stuck. I’ve considered changing it to my name but my last name is a phonetic beast: “Przystup” and I worried that no one would be able to find me (plus I hate change) so here we are.
Your book Upstate debuts on October 27th and features a curated look at different homes and interiors in upstate New York. You’ve described home as being “a place that you return to, a place that we all perpetually yearn for (metaphorically and literally), a place that serves as a sanctuary, a place where the pieces of the story of your life live, the place where your life started. Where you cook, eat, sleep, celebrate, laugh, grieve—a place that has seen you at your best and your worst.” How has your idea of “home” shifted in this past year, when so many of us are suddenly spending a lot more time in our respective homes?
Not much actually. I’m a homebody by nature—home has always been where I’m most comfortable and by default, the happiest. I’m all about nesting, I love the process of creating a self-contained universe, a whole wide world of warmth and layers and tchotchkes (so many tchotchkes), those little bits and baubles are my way of surrounding myself with memories. It’s always been so important to us that we create a space where we can host the people we love and offer the same solace and sanctuary we find in our home to them—even though we can’t really do that now, that idea is a big part of our home’s identity. Simply put, home is and has always been a space where I feel the safest—it’s comforted me when I need comforting just by merit of existing, which is pretty amazing stuff.
You recently moved upstate full-time after splitting your time between Greenpoint, Brooklyn and your farmhouse for three years. What inspired this change and how has it been so far?
The decision to move upstate full time was not really a romantic decision born out of inspiration but more a matter of practicality—we simply could not afford to live in NYC anymore. We had actually had the “something’s gotta give” conversation last fall, COVID just kind of forced our hand. When we bought our house it was with the intention of being up here full-time but we (I) always found a way to rationalize staying (did I mention I hate change?). The one big shift I’ve noticed about being up here is how much closer and connected we are to nature, you notice every small imperceptible shift that comes with the changing seasons. Like knowing summer is here because of the fireflies and grasshoppers or that summer is ending because of the cicadas or that fall is coming because the goldenrod is blooming and the snakes are having babies and the monarchs are everywhere or knowing spring is coming because the birds are back and the peepers are chorusing even though it’s still 40 degrees out.
How do you Honor Mother Earth?
In many small ways—noticing and appreciating what she offers every day: sunsets, warm summer breezes, the feeling of being carried by the ocean, the sound of the waves, the way it feels when you lie in the grass and fully connect to the earth, by planting trees and flowers and plants and caring for them, by listening to what she has to say when it thunders and rains, by being ever aware about how my actions affect her and everyone she holds.
You can preorder Lisa’s new book, Upstate, here! Use the code FALL20 for 20% off.