20 Most Awe Inspiring Writer’s Rooms
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As a college student, you might do most of your writing holed up in your dorm room or library cubicle — hardly an inspirational setting for getting your creative juices flowing. While a great writer doesn’t always need a beautiful setting to create brilliant works (just think of all the texts written in prisons!) it certainly doesn’t hurt. We’ve compiled a list of the most beautiful, inspirational, comfy, and awe-inspiring writing rooms used by great authors for your perusing pleasure. While you may not be able to the afford opulent or cozy writing rooms on this list, you can always dream and these rooms might provide the inspiration needed to kick your writing into gear and finally get that novel published.
- Mark Twain, New York Gazebo: Perhaps one of the most awe-inspiring writing rooms ever devised, one of Mark Twain’s writing rooms was in an enclosed gazebo perched atop an elevation that provided amazing views of the valley and city below. Completed with a brick fireplace and windows that let in light (and the breathtaking view), it would be hard not to feel inspired in the room. Today the structure no longer sits in its original location, but has been moved to the campus of Elmira College where any Twainophile can visit it.
- Ian Fleming, Goldeneye Retreat in Jamaica: All but the most vampiric of writers would love to spend their days writing just steps from a pristine Caribbean beach, and that’s just what Ian Fleming, author of the iconic James Bond series, got to do. He penned many of the novels at a desk in the charming three-bedroom home that sits cliffside, overlooking stunning turquoise waters. Even better, you can rent out the house and use it to do your own writing — provided you have the money to afford it, of course.
- Norman Mailer, Brooklyn Heights Apartment: A twisting maze of sometimes-confusing levels, hallways and rooms, Norman Mailer’s New York apartment made headlines when it went on the market earlier this year. While the apartment’s interesting design, referred to as a “jungle gym at sea,” might not be for everyone, the room where he did his writing certainly would appeal to most. With views that take in the East River and the skyline of Manhattan, it’s a relaxing and enviable space for work.
- Virginia Woolf, Monks House: Famous for advocating that a woman needs a room of her own in order to write, it’s no surprise that this famous writer had one to call her own. At her and her husband’s gorgeous rural cottage, Monks House, Woolf had a small writing lodge on the property that offered beautiful views of the surrounding property, filled with orchards, flowers, and wide open lawns.
- George Bernard Shaw, Writing Hut in Ayot St. Lawrence: The space in which Shaw created some of his best-known works is small to be sure, but few writers would turn it down. Behind the main home, Shaw had a small external office constructed which housed a desk, chair, and even a bed. Furnished with an electric heater, a typewriter, a telephone, and a mechanism which allowed the room to be turned to follow the sun, it’s no wonder Shaw spent hours upon hours in this room working and perhaps taking a catnap or two.
- Roald Dahl, The Gipsy House: Known for his iconic children’s tales as well as his often ironic short stories for adults, Dahl’s writing room looks much as you would think it would. Rather than writing at a desk, Dahl sat in a modified wingback chair to work, keeping everything he needed within arm’s reach– a feat easily accomplished in such a small (though cozy) space. Filled with strange memorabilia and photos of friends and family, the writing shed which he called “The Gipsy House” was immensely private. No one was allowed in, not even Quentin Blake, the illustrator with whom he worked for over 15 years.
- Ernest Hemingway, Key West Home: Papa, Champ, Hemmy, Ernie– whatever you want to call him– Ernest Hemingway wrote his famous works in some pretty beautiful settings. One such place was his home in Key West, featuring porches that wrapped around the space on both levels. Hemingway’s writing studio is in a separate building from the main house, originally a carriage house, and remains today just as he used it with an old Royal typewriter sitting in front of a cigar-maker’s chair. This highly masculine space was the place where Hemingway wrote his greats, from For Whom the Bells Tolls to Death in the Afternoon.
- John Keats, The Old Mill House: The Old Mill House is where Keats wrote his 1819 poem “The Eve of St. Agnes,” his take on star-crossed lovers, inspired by his love for Fannie Brawne. A charming English country home, it overlooks a large lake and a tidal stream, and at the time Keats was in residence was still a working mill. He found the setting inspirational, though he was only to stay for a few months, and visiting writers can today as well as rooms are rented out on a weekly basis.
- Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Greta Hall: This beautifully-renovated English estate still welcomes guests today– though for a hefty cost. Visiting lovers of literature can take in the epic mountain views the property provides as well as see Coleridge’s study, the place where he wrote many of his famous works and talked about so enthusiastically in his letters to friends. With a sumptuous bed and windows that frame the lovely views, this writing room is truly inspirational.
- J.M. Barrie, House on Eilean Shona, Scotland:Writer J.M. Barrie retreated to this lovely hunting lodge to finish up his work on Peter Pan. Situated on a private island, the home is surrounded by gardens, forests, and views of the sea and was said to be his inspiration for Never-Never Land and also inspired his work on “The Marie Rose.” The isolation of the home makes it a perfect retreat for writing, and each room, including those which Barrie used for his work, offers lovely views of the surrounding property.
- Jane Austen, Chawton Cottage: What is most inspirational about Jane Austen’s writing room is that she didn’t really have one at all. In fact, she wrote he most famous works hunched over a small table in the main room of a cottage she shared with several other women in her family; even a simple, most basic writing space can be all a writer really needs if he or she is determined enough.
- Rudyard Kipling, Study at Bateman’s: Kipling created his works from the comfort of grand study in his country home. The room is simple, but beautifully furnished with Indian rugs and a long, well-worn desk at which Kipling worked. As impressive as it may be, it is perhaps jokingly said (perhaps not) that the room was a bit of a prison, created as a place to keep him isolated and focused by his wife, whose portrait stares out disapprovingly over the fireplace.
- Dylan Thomas, Shed at The Boathouse: Dylan Thomas is another writer with an enviable writing shed behind his riverside home in Laughharne. Situated on a cliff-ledge above the main house, Dylan called the space his “water and tree room,” as the space offered a bird’s-eye view of the surrounding landscape. The views of the room were to inspire many of his poems, though his isolation in the space was also to rouse the jealousy of his wife, who accused him of using it to write love letters to other women.
- Edith Wharton, bedroom at The Mount: This Pulitzer Prize-winning author was no doubt inspired when writing her famous book House of Mirth by her own surroundings. Her writing room, a second-story bedroom, overlooked a stunning hedge garden and woods beyond, a view that few writers could afford to enjoy today.
- Will Self, Writing Room: If you have ever wondered who could possibly use a bulk package of Post-Its all on their own, the answer is Will Self. This writer’s space is peppered, or perhaps more accurately, plastered with sticky notes, covering nearly every inch of wall space. Stacks of papers, books and who knows what on his desks and tables create a sort of organized chaos that perhaps better reflects the average writer’s room more so than the stately museum-quality rooms of many famous authors.
- Marcel Proust, Haussmann Bedroom: Proust was a man with some serious health issues, asthma, and allergies forcing him to retreat to a secluded space to write, where he could work shielded from outside dust and noise. The room boasts heavily curtained or barricaded doors and windows and cork sheeting lining the walls — the most famous feature of the room– creating a space removed from the rest of the house. While the rather unattractive and obtrusive furniture that cluttered the room may not be to many writer’s tastes (or even Proust’s, as he admitted), the lengths with which Proust went to shut out the outside world so he could work on In Search of Lost Time are certainly awe-inspiring.
- D.H. Lawrence, Kiowa Ranch: The New Mexico home of Lawrence and his wife during the 1920s is just outside of Taos, and provided a summer retreat for the author. While on the ranch, Lawrence wrote his novel St. Mawr, inspired by the beauty of New Mexico’s landscape, and began The Plumed Serpent. Lawrence spent most of his time not in a room, but outdoors on the ranch beneath a large pine tree, which still stands on the ranch today and was immortalized by Georgia O’Keefe in a painting.
- Charlotte Bronte, Haworth Parsonage: This warm, inviting and impeccably neat room is where Charlotte and, earlier on, her sisters worked on writing. The room is sparsely furnished, but a beautiful collection of books line the walls and a large table serves as a comfy place for writing in the centuries before the invention of the word processor.
- Agatha Christie, Greenway Estate: Few of us will ever be able to afford a summer home, but successful authors like Christie sure could. In the home’s stately library, Christie spent hours typing away, though many of her most famous works were completed in hotel rooms. Still, one has to admire the lovely decor in the home and surrounding scenery, which is still awe-inspiring to those who visit today.
- Stephen King, Attic Office in Bangor: The master of the horror novel, Stephen King, has a writing room that is anything but horrifying. In fact, it’s downright enviable. On the top floor of a Victorian mansion outside of Bangor, Maine, King’s writing room is cozy place, with skylights, shelves of books and an incredibly inviting desk chair. Better yet, the windows overlook scenic mountains lined with ancient towering pines. Practical and modern without being cold, it’s just the kind of writing room every writer dreams about.
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