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Upstate Update: A Writer’s “Layered,” Eclectic Catskills Farmhouse, Three Years In

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Upstate Update: A Writer’s “Layered,” Eclectic Catskills Farmhouse, Three Years In

November 13, 2020

When we first featured the Catskills farmhouse of writer Lisa Przystup, it was the summer of 2017; the first solar eclipse in a century was about to take over the sky and cast little moon-shaped shadows on the ground; and Lisa and her husband, musician Jonathon Linaberry, then Brooklynites, had just found an 1800s farmhouse on a hilltop in Delhi, New York, to serve as their weekend escape. It became their weekend project, too: painting nearly every interior surface creamy white, DIY-ing a brass backsplash in the kitchen, knocking out some walls. We loved the thoughtful, unfussy, pared-back nature of the place—though, Lisa told us at the time, it was still a work in progress.

So when we spotted updated shots on Jenni Kayne’s site Rip & Tan this autumn, some three years later, we figured it was time for a round of Where Are They Now: Upstate Farmhouse Edition.

What’s changed? “SO much,” Lisa wrote to me via email this week. “I think we had been in the house for maybe eight months” at the time it first appeared on Remodelista, “so at that point we were in that stage where everything feels a little sparse and bare. We were still understanding how we’d be using the house and what made sense for the space. After living in a 500/600-square-foot railroad apartment [in Brooklyn] where it felt like we were living on top of each other and buried under tchotchkes, it felt really good to just take a deep visual breath and leave room for space.

“I started hankering for layers and warmth and texture at about the two year mark—pillows and quilts and blankets and filling out nooks with things. Also this magical thing ends up happening the longer you’re in a space: You start living in it, like really living in it, and making memories and adding emotional layers—bits and pieces of memories, drawings from my godsons, gifts from family and friends, dried bits and pieces from nature walks—and that’s what really starts to make everything feel filled out.”

Another development? Lisa has a new book out this fall: Upstate: Living Spaces with Space to Live, by Lisa herself, with photography by Sarah Elliott.

Join us for an updated walk through the newly eclectic, ever-shifting interiors, and head to Rip & Tan for more.

Photography by Christian Harder, courtesy of Rip & Tan.

Three years ago, Jonathon and a friend painstakingly removed the acoustic ceiling tiles in the kitchen and replaced them with tongue-and-groove pine boards. &#8
Above: Three years ago, Jonathon and a friend painstakingly removed the acoustic ceiling tiles in the kitchen and replaced them with tongue-and-groove pine boards. “I think the aesthetic I was drawn to when we first moved in was very sparse and minimal—a lot of white and earth tones,” Lisa writes. “That felt nice for a bit, but then I started really digging that unexpected quirky vibe that started happening in interiors and wanted to find pieces that would punctuate all that minimalism with pops of color and some eclectic-ish pieces without going overboard or being too heavy-handed about it. Just a smattering of little things to help add character and life to that baseline we had set.”

Case in point: The once-minimal dining nook now displays a few favorite finds—plus curtains made from linen hand towels and checkered cushions on the Thonet chairs (a Craigslist find).

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Above: “The biggest thing we did was knock out the load-bearing wall that separated the living room from the dining room,” writes Lisa of the couple’s impressive list of projects they’ve been chipping away at. “It just cut the space up into really weird, unusable chunks. Now that it’s gone the space is filled with so much more light, and it feels like we’re actually using it to the fullest degree.”

Note the beehive tucked in the corner—a bit of the collected ephemera found on nature walks and on the couple’s five acres.

Taking down the wall &#8
Above: Taking down the wall “also made it so we could bring in a baby grand piano that had been in my husband’s family for generations,” Lisa writes. “It belonged to his Ukranian great-grandparents, and he grew up taking piano lessons on it when he was a kid.” It’s adorned with a sheepskin and found stones and pinecones.
Above: The couple also limewashed the walls downstairs with Portola’s Lime Wash, a subtle update from all-white paint.
Jonathon&#8
Above: Jonathon’s childhood bed was rediscovered and given new life in a guest bedroom, alongside a shelf just big enough for a bedside taper candle.
Things are often shifting within the interiors, gallery-style. Sometimes, Lisa writes, &#8
Above: Things are often shifting within the interiors, gallery-style. Sometimes, Lisa writes, “what happens is we’d move something to paint and then realize that the offhanded place we moved it to was the right place for it. As it turns out, overthinking can really get in the way of things.” Here, the main bedroom.
Dried hydrangeas make for an autumnal vignette.
Above: Dried hydrangeas make for an autumnal vignette.
Evidence of unexpected objects as display: a row of boots, the rope coil from an oversized light.
Above: Evidence of unexpected objects as display: a row of boots, the rope coil from an oversized light.
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Above: “My husband redid the downstairs half bath, putting up floor-to-ceiling shiplap and tearing up the tile to expose the original wood floor. We painted the floor in the really pretty yellowish tan from Backdrop (it’s called Palo Santo) and the shiplap white. The room just feels so much brighter and cleaner/fresh and new.”
The attic—which formerly had been turned into a guest bedroom—received a very  changeover into a home office, &#8
Above: The attic—which formerly had been turned into a guest bedroom—received a very 2020 changeover into a home office, “now that we’re both working from home and not hosting anyone,” Lisa writes. “Jonathon made us a super basic, super cheap desk out of plywood and workhorses. It spans the wall where the bed used to be and offers ample space for both of us to work.”

“The rest of the attic has been turned into a print/music studio for Jonathon—he’s a musician and a printmaker, so now he has a space where he can do both. We were both working at the kitchen table/on the couch/at the dining room table, and Jonathon was practicing in a bunch of random spaces and was working on prints in the attic at a slapdash work station—so committing a whole room [as] a space for work and creating has made a huge difference.”

For the full look inside Lisa’s place, head to Rip & Tan, and for what it looked like when we first featured it, see The Catskills Farmhouse of Two Brooklyn Creatives, Weekend DIY Edition. And check back in a year or two—maybe we’ll revisit Lisa’s place once again to see how it shifts.

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