Category Archives: Spaces

A Room of One’s Own

Inspired by The Art of Manliness’s recent post on the libraries, studies, and writing rooms of 15 famous men, I decided to dig around on the internet and find some rooms that inspire me as a reader, agent, and attorney.  I’m currently on the hunt for a suitable office space but often find these spaces to be exorbitantly overpriced or too sterile.  For the past year I’ve had the pleasure of working at the beautiful SOHO offices of The New Press and around various coffeehouses, court libraries, and sometimes from *gasp* home.  My goal is to find a space that is near my home, quiet yet inspiring.  If only the landlord would let me paint the walls purple…

Here’s Virginia Woolf’s writing room off the garden, one of the many rooms she wrote in:


Photograph: Eamonn McCabe


This seems like an absolutely lovely space, albeit sometimes distracting with its large windows and proximity to the world outside.  Woolf was constantly being interrupted or distracted from the activity in the garden, the sounds of children from the school next door, or my personal favorite, from her husband Leonard sorting apples above the room.

A modern take on the room or rather, Manhattan duplex of one’s own, takes a cue from publishing maven and founder of Open Road media, Jane Friedman.  You have to visit the Wall Street Journal site to check out the video of her stunning duplex, filled with over 10,000 books– actual physical old-school books, not e-books (though I personally love e-books).  But here’s a picture of one of the walls of her place:


Photographs by Dustin Aksland for The Wall Street Journal


Friedman calls the functional tree-sculpture the Tree of Life and fills it with objects of personal importance.  When Friedman started Open Road, she actually had the business running out of her duplex (much like Toms shoes’ co-founder turned author Blake Mycoskie’s company, which ran out of his apartment in the early days).

Actually, if cost were not a factor, I think the most fantastic office in the world would be in a treehouse.  You’re up in the air, somewhat removed but then you’re part of the tree, which incidentally, reminds you of paper.  It’s at once very comfortable and grounding.  There’s really something beautiful to be so close to nature.  I think a lot of modern offices and homes and spaces are taking a cue to that and allowing nature to infringe on our personal space.  Indeed, I find myself most inspired while outside and often, while in college and law school, could be found reading under a tree when there wasn’t a tornado warning (see St. Louis) or blizzard (see Boston).

Probably one of the more famous treehouse offices is the Bayan Treehouse Office, occupied by Rocky Rockerfeller (principal of Rockerfeller Partners Architects).  I think I’ll let the picture speak for itself (and Rocky’s picture and expression probably gives away how much he loves it):



I am drawn to the clean lines and modern feel, yet the proximity of nature reminds you of the past–look, this tree has been here longer than this treehouse has!  It doesn’t hurt to have 360-degree views to clear the mind.  Sometimes just staring at nature can calm one (there have been studies on this!).

What rooms or places do you find most inspiring?

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