Writing Room Envy — Vita Sackville-West

Jan 9, 2014 |

Occasionally I come across a photo of an author’s writing space and find myself overcome with delight and envy. Usually I just sigh at the hopelessness of ever having such a magical space, but from now on I will share these photos, maybe once a month, so that we can all study them for clues on how to make our own writing nooks more inviting and inspiring.

First up, we have Vita Sackville-West (1892-1962), who seems most notorious for having been Virginia Woolf’s lover, but she also was a celebrated poet, novelist, biographer, and expert gardener. In the 1930s she and her husband Harold Nicolson purchased Sissinghurst Castle in Kent with the plan of restoring the gardens.

[click photos for larger view]

Vita claimed the Elizabethan Tower as her own personal space. Can you even imagine? Actually, for all the allure of Internet-free solitude in a tower worthy of Rapunzel, it’s not hard to imagine the cold and damp creeping in. But I’m sure Vita had a servant build a fire, making it all toasty before she even stepped through the door.

She wrote in the small room (small?) at the top of the tower so that she could have views of the garden she’d personally brought back to life. Apparently this was her “sanctuary,” and she rarely allowed others inside. I find this room so very appealing–it manages to look elegant and comfortable at the same time.

I could never replicate this look in my own office, but I have noted the rugs and flowers. I have a nice wood floor, but no rug. This must be corrected as soon as possible! And wouldn’t it be nice to have fresh flowers on my desk from time to time? (A nice silk arrangement would be more practical, but would it be as satisfying?) And though I don’t have much wall space, I could hang more pictures.

I’ve never read anything by Vita Sackville-West, but her writing space has inspired me. As soon as it arrives in the mail, I will dive into All Passion Spent. Perhaps it will prompt a “Tea and a Book” post? Stay tuned to find out . . .

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