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Inside Steven Alan

Apartment Visit: James’s Daughter Flowers

  • Yesterday afternoon, we trudged through a blizzard to visit florist Lisa Przystup of James’s Daughter Flowers at her apartment in Greenpoint. After an hour’s journey, we arrived at her door semi-frozen and numb with cold. She welcomed us into her warm, cozy home, took our wet coats to dry and brewed us a pot of soothing chamomile tea. In between working on floral arrangements (the apartment, which she shares with her boyfriend, also doubles as her workspace), she chatted with us about her work.

    Lisa’s home is teeming with found objects

    Where are you from?
    I grew up in Northern Virginia, right outside D.C. but I also spent a big chunk of my life in Arizona and miss the quiet grace of the desert every damn day.

    How did you make the transition from fashion writing to flowers?
    Freelance writing is VERY challenging – I’ve always loved writing and reading but making it as a writer is very difficult and I hit a bit of a wall last winter.  It felt like I had lost myself to the frustration of the exhausting process of chasing down editors and sending follow up email after follow up email only to hear nothing back. I found that I hadn’t actually really written anything of substance (aside from emails) in quite some time and I needed to take a step away from it all. I really wasn’t sure what I was going to do but I had written a story for New York Magazine’s The Cut earlier that fall on the Brooklyn flower girls - I had noticed a crew of lovely, earthy, stylish girls all making beautiful things and I thought there was a certifiable trend there. I think that was when the seed was official planted and it sort of grew, quietly and surreptitiously over the summer and trips upstate where I could just walk out the door and cut flowers and play with them for free.



    Tell us a bit about your process. Do you have a clear idea of what you want an arrangement to look like before you start, or does it just happen organically?
    A little bit of both. Sometimes there’s a specific color palette I have in mind and I work around that. Sometimes I’m inspired by a painting or another arrangement I’ve seen. And other times I just end up randomly picking elements out on the fly. I really feel like a newborn in this field and am really looking forward to experimenting and learning more and really challenging myself – I feel impatient and excited all at the same time.


    Top: Lisa’s boyfriend has a band called The Bones of J.R. Jones and fashioned this trunk to serve as a drum for busking. Bottom: A wall featuring some of the couple’s favorite photos.

    You make frequent trips upstate to source flowers. What are some of your favorite stops along the way?
    Any and all antique stores and malls. If I’m in the Berkshires there’s a wonderful bakery where I always get bready treats and a little roadside country grocery store that had the most amazing Reuben – the pastrami practically melts in your mouth and they serve it with a little ziploc baggy of pickled goodness. The Saugerties lighthouse is just lovely.  I usually make a stop in Rosendale and grab a bite to eat at Market Market and also at The Mountain Brauhaus – it sits in the shadow the Mohonk Preserve and the hike up to the Mohonk Mountain House is amazing. The Alternative Baker for the best morning breakfast sandwich and The Big Cheese is indispensable for summertime snacks – best enjoyed on a porch.


    Top: arrangements for a client. Bottom: We instantly recognized Lisa’s Odette jewelry. She is a good friend of designer Jennifer Sarkilahti and served as the model for the Odette lookbook.

    Is there a particular variety you really enjoy working with at the moment?
    Poppies (though I can’t really afford them) and ranunculous – they do the most amazing things all on their own, creating these wonderful twisty, rambling lines.

    What are some of your favorite neighborhood haunts?
    Glasserie for its amazing space and cauliflower (and I don’t even like cauliflower). Ramona, Elsa’s sister bar on Franklin Street, is light, airy, and soaring, and the cocktails are superb. I recommend trying at least three in one sitting.  It’s so nice to have so many new, delicious restaurants opening right around the block. Alameda has fresh, simple, delightful food in a beautiful setting. Achilles Heel is a happy little nook of a bar. Troost is my go-to for morning coffee and afternoon meetings, and they have the best damn backyard ever.  Ashbox is the sweetest little space with the most adorable Japanese woman wearing the best hats. Warm and unpretentious — get every onigiri at least once. The Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory‘s location here is much less insane than the Dumbo location, with the same ice cream. Nuff said.


    Many thanks to Lisa! You can pick up James’s Daughter Flowers for your Valentine today at our Home Shop at 158 Franklin Street in Tribeca.

    - Photos by Connie Wang

    This entry was posted on Friday, February 14th, 2014 at 2:23 pm and is filed under Home. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
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