Writers traditionally retreat to cabins and other isolated spaces to prime creativity and find focus. George Bernard Shaw wrote plays in a ramshackle hut at the bottom of his garden. Roald Dahl worked in a gypsy-style shed for 30 years. George Orwell moved to a remote Scottish island while writing Nineteen-Eighty Four.
Retreats have come a long way since the days when writers crammed into second-hand premises or lived in the woods. Many writer’s studios are now purpose-built and often serve as guest cabins as well. Take my favorite. (Above: Olson Kundig Architects / Photo: Tim Bies). It’s a 500-square-foot getaway with glass walls to draw inspiration from the surroundings on Washington’s San Juan Islands. But I’d be happy with any of these others, too.
This retreat, for a couple, in Garrison, N.Y. by Hudson Design, has living quarters and a loft. Below, a studio for one in Ghent, N.Y., with views of a pond on one side, deep woods on the other. Architect: Cooper Joseph Studio, NY City.
Modular may be the way to go (below). This 92-square-foot backyard office by Sett Studio Homebuilders in Austin, TX also has outdoor inspiration space. Cost? $31,500.