One of the things I love most about New York is all the stories that are held within an apartment. You know, the why people live in spaces, how they design it, and how spaces make guests feel. As a New Yorker, with my own stories in my grandmother’s apartment many years ago, those shared stories became the center for my family. Now as a woman who puts so much energy into her own quirky space, the desire to get a small window into someone’s space is fascinating.
With spring here and an impending week of warmth laying over the city, I thought it was time to share Lisa Przystup’s amazing Greenpoint railroad with you all…
1. How long have you lived here?
My husband and I have been here over seven years now—I knew it was about that but it still feels crazy to type.
2. One quirky or weird thing that sort of defines the “New Yorkness” of your apartment?
You have to turn the bathroom light on using the switch in the fusebox. We wrapped green painters tape around it so it’s easier to direct people to the proper switch. Also (and perhaps more disconcertingly so) the building shakes every time a larger truck drives past it, causing the bottles on our liquor cart to clink together like a glass chandelier. It always reminds of that scene in Mary Poppins where the admiral shoots a cannon to mark the time.
3. Whats the story behind you moving in here?
No great romance here (aside from the fact that we are 110% in love with this nook we’ve carved out for ourselves). We needed a place to live, we found one. We weren’t looking to specifically live in Greenpoint (or any particular neighborhood for that matter) but this is where we landed.
4. You have a lot of plants, what is the feeling you hope to create by incorporating them?
A mini greenhouse? The landscape of my husband’s worst nightmare? Oxygen? Maybe all three…I just think they add so much to a space—especially in the winter when it’s so easy to forget that things do indeed live and thrive and grow—having a wall of lush, green things makes me happy. Despite having worked with flowers I do not have a particularly green thumb—this is a common misconception among friends and strangers alike. Working with already clipped flowers to make an arrangement is quite different from the ability to nourish something to grow/keeping something alive. All the plants we have gave somehow managed to survive my mediocrity and that’s why they’re still here.
5. When it comes to apartment styling, where do you stand?
Make a house a home, however that makes sense for you. Our apartment’s aesthetic is equal parts mine and my husband’s—we both like a space to feel cozy, slightly eclectic, unpolished and above all like an island in all the whirling madness of life, which in our case has translated to more tchotchkes than you can shake a stick at (something we love but are also simultaneously overwhelmed by). There’s a lot of nature ephemera—shells, feathers, rocks, sticks, etc.—which can be blamed on my compulsive collecting habit and my desire to make almost anything beautiful mine.
6. Three words to describe the way your place feels?
7. How do you see yourself growing in this space?
Well, it’s a one bedroom railroad so I feel like if we end up having a family at all we’ll probably outgrow it pretty quickly…if we don’t, I can’t see the space changing much—although stylistically we’ve outgrown some elements it’s home and exactly what we want it to be.
Thank you so much for sharing your apartment with us, Lisa!!
(Photography by Amanda Petersen for LaTonya Yvette)