When flotsam and jetsam came to her aid

When flotsam and jetsam came to her aid

 She would read, toss a ball to her dog, Stella, and watch the tide lap in and out.

Sometimes the tide yielded treasures. One summer day — she remembers she was wearing a vintage cotton dress — the water washed in a pair of tiny iron toys, a bull and a man in a broad-brimmed hat. Another time she found a battered typewriter, so mired in the mud that she could salvage only a few keys.

Both personally and professionally, Lutz is enchanted by what old objects reveal about past lives, and to her these finds were thrilling. “They felt like notes in a bottle,” she said. “I love imagining where stuff like this comes from and how it got here.” Four years ago, having had her fill of loft living, she moved to a railroad apartment in a 1930s row house in neighbouring Greenpoint. But the relics of those dreamy hours by the water made the journey with her. The bull and the man in the hat sit atop her large wooden desk. A salvaged letter A from the typewriter is on display in a shadow box she built from a discarded drawer, sharing space with eccentric treasures like a two-inch-high glass jar holding the whiskers of a departed cat. Her apartment commemorates her years in Williamsburg: Nearly every piece of furniture was rescued from local streets.

Once she found a bed frame, draped with a pebbly white crocheted spread. “The frame was in pieces, thank heaven,” she said, “because I couldn’t have carried it otherwise.” Another time, after a lively night out with friends, she discovered a 60-pound mahogany bookshelf that she lugged home atop her slender back. “Being a little drunk,” she explained, “gives you superhuman strength.”

Other finds included a black rotary telephone bearing the number CI 8-1296 that had mysteriously made its way to Brooklyn from City Island in the north Bronx, and a small doll with stringy blond hair and a missing foot — “wounded and bereft in an interesting way,” said Lutz.