A Writing Studio

This is the door to my writing studio, built in 1901 above a root cellar.

studio door
Photos by Brian Thompson

When we moved here it was more of a shed without insulation.


My husband Brian finished it out for me with shiplap siding and we had help installing windows. We’re still finishing a few things–like adding trim and window panes to the old door. We tested the peeling paint for lead and discovered it was clean and clear so we’re keeping it like it is–with its rusty old doorknob, keyhole, and peeling paint.

I like stepping inside and feeling the old history here. We kept the floor original, too:


My room is 13 x 13, an exact square. It has enough room for a daybed/couch, desk, sitting table, and a coffee/tea station–I’m on the lookout for a good one. These are all pieces of furniture that we’ve had since our last place; they’ve been sitting in our basement collecting dust and waiting for a home.

This is an an old, working typewriter that Brian found for me in downtown Seattle:


It’s nestled between an alder scroll filled with drawings from my kids, and an old book of children’s verses. The bouquet is cut bay leaves from a huge bay tree that overlooks our chicken coop, along with a few pieces of eucalyptus, sage, and evergreen branches.

Aside from adding flavor to simmering soups and roasts, bay leaves are supposed to bring good luck, according to the Olde Thompson spice magazine: “Ancient Greeks and Romans crowned victors with wreaths of laurel. The term “baccalaureate,” means laurel berry, and refers to the ancient practice of honoring scholars and poets with garlands from the bay laurel tree. Romans felt the leaves protected them against thunder and the plague. Later, Italians and the English thought Bay Leaves brought good luck and warded off evil.”

I figure I can use all the good luck I can get, so I’m going to keep this room full of bay leaves forever, with some dried ones in garlands around the windows and door.

studio room

Let me just say that this whole thing is over-the-top and makes me scared. I mean, it is so pretty that I feel overwhelmed. I am pretty sure someone cut this out of a magazine and dropped me unceremoniously into it and I’m in awe that I’m hanging out here on a sunny January day telling you all about it and Oh My God I even just spent an entire paragraph telling you about bay leaves and luck and laurels and Why Don’t You Just Kill Me Now with your eye-rolling because I am not Martha Stewart and I don’t do crafts and I will disappoint you.

That is how this room makes me feel. It is the quintessential room of one’s own, and let me just say that I feel like WRITING in it, which is exactly what this whole place is for.

I mean, I’m 40 years old. That’s either very old or very young to have a place at this desk. I am not sure which one it is but I’m glad to be here.

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