Upstate: Living Spaces with Space to LiveBy Lisa Przystup, Photos by Sarah Elliott (Monacelli Press, 2020) Buy It Now
Where exactly is Upstate New York? For Hudson Valley residents, it’s the vast area stretching from north of Albany up to the Canadian border and over to Pennsylvania; but for New Yorkers, it’s mainly the areas surrounding the Hudson River, Catskills, and woodlands just above the Capital Region. For author Lisa Przystup and photographer Sarah Elliott, “Upstate” translates to “inside” 12 houses located mainly in and around the Catskills. Nearly all of the luxurious full-page images in their coffee table-sized book, Upstate: Living Spaces with Space to Live feature interiors—even the landscapes shown through these homes’ windows tend to be out of focus so as not to distract from the decor and furnishings. The result is more of a study of how weekend residents from New York City (or other parts of the world) have recreated their confined urban lives within the much more spacious rooms of older rural houses. White is definitely a theme here, with walls, ceilings, trim, and even floors all painted in gallery-like pale tones, which turns all of the furniture, lamps, wall-hangings, and even radiators contained within the rooms into objects to be considered as art. The book’s more colorful homes in Tannersville, Ghent, and Claryville stand out in stark relief next to the predominantly cool white style. There’s not a person or pet included in any of the images, and the lack of any relationship to the wonders of the natural world waiting just outside each interior’s windows and doors takes away from the passionate stories of the families who created these eclectic, showroom-style homes. But with the continuing exodus of city dwellers to “Upstate,” this book may come in handy for those seeking inspiration for their own new interiors.