where do you feel most creative?

Meet five creative women who use their personal living spaces as professional creative havens.

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by Kaitlyn Wylde

Having access to a functional and inspiring space is of utmost importance for young professional creatives, but not all artists can afford studios and offices. Many creatives choose to do their creating in their own homes which certainly has its perks and struggles.

Leah Pipes Trauth- actress

On the street I live there are no driveways. The neighborhood is one of the oldest in Los Angeles, built in the early 1900s when there were still no cars on the road. The result is almost no traffic on our quiet, sleepy street.The oak trees are older then the neighborhood itself All the past stories that played out in this neighborhood still hum in the air. It is rich with memory. My porch is small, but serene. Set up with two wicker rocking chairs (wayfair.com) , a dark green garden stool (onekingslane.com) , two large ferns in blue and white antique planters (onekingslane.com), and a nature fiber woven rug (Pottery barn). I wanted the space to feel classic, warm, and welcoming like my old craftsman home.   My home faces west so as the sun sets its golden light is filtered through the huge dense trees that line my street. When I’m home, you will almost always find me on my porch at 5 o’ clock. And when I’m on my porch my mind goes completely quiet. I effortlessly am able to let go the stresses of the day, the turmoil of my thoughts. And as my mind goes blank and my body relaxes I’m reminded of the space that can only be entered with out fear or tension. The present. The more time I spend in the present the easier I’m able to find it again. And as an actor navigating that space is essential.   I believe my porch makes me a better artist. As well as a better person. Finding a quiet outdoor space in your home connects you with something deeper in nature, and within yourself. It taps you into a space that is only truth. And what else is our art if not our truth?

Evelyn Garcia- makeup artist

My bedroom is the most inspiring place for my creative work. I live with four other individuals in my apartment so my room is definitely my sanctuary. I can relax and focus there. The colors on my wall soothe and calm me, they make me feel like I’m in paradise!   I decided to put all my makeup and beauty products in one single space. It is easier for me to find everything. I used a lot of clear containers, it helps to find everything quickly. My big drawer is from Ikea, everything is so affordable there! The glass containers to store my makeup are from Muji. The revolving lipstick storage is from Lady Moss Beauty. You can get this online for around $100.   I chose not to decorate because I wanted to keep everything very clean and simple. This storage is inside my built in closest space, so the less clutter the better!I have three huge windows next to this space so the lighting is outstanding! I don’t need my ring light in the day time.

Bee Shapiro- editor/founder of ellis brooklyn

We have an upstairs loft area that’s like my little sanctuary. Since I have a 16-month old, her stuff is literally everywhere! But when it comes to the loft, we’ve tried to keep it as much an “adult” space as possible. We have our books up here and it opens to a sunny terrace with a view of the New York City skyline. There’s a desk of course, and then we have these low red sofas that were my first furniture purchase when I moved to New York over 8 years ago now. I felt very grown up when I bought them at this store in Soho that’s now gone out of business. They’ve been steam cleaned over the years and they’re so comfy that at this point they’re hard to let go of even if they probably need an update.   For creative work, it’s wonderful if you can step outside for a bit when you come upon a road block. With the terrace off from the loft space, it’s great for taking just a few minutes break. Maybe I’ll go check out the basil or tomatoes that we’re growing and how they’re coming along. The peppers on the desk are from the terrace garden actually. In my dream world, I love spare and zen spaces that feel warm rather than clinical. There’s probably a touch of masculinity that I veer towards as well. And I love things that feel a bit worn and loved like this desk, as opposed to something brand, brand new.

Aside from writing, I’ve recently launched an eco and sustainable luxury fragrance and bodycare company called Ellis Brooklyn. We’re still looking for office space in Williamsburg right now so for the time being, we’re holding some of the stock at our apartment.

Sadie Stein- writer

I like to work in the living room, which has good light. I do have a small desk in my bedroom, but usually set up shop at the dining room table, by the windows. I’m a great believer in those big, rectangular trays from West Elm: I keep my pens and pencils, laptop, whatever images or books are inspiring me, and other “office” supplies there, and then can whisk it away when it’s time to use the table for something else.   The dining room table and chairs belonged to my husband’s great-grandmother, initially, although we re-covered the chairs ourselves with a range of vintage upholstery fabrics I found. (Don’t look too closely at the underside of the cushions!) It’s a big, Deco set that can kind of bully things around it; I wanted to stay in keeping with its dignity while adding a little eclecticism. The little “telephone nook” behind my workspace has a twenties table my parents found, and an old dial phone a friend repaired for me. And the seat lifts up — so that’s where the “office” gets hidden away when people come over!   The little desk — which I do use, sometimes, if I really want privacy — was a flea market find. I like being surrounded by things that have personal history and meaning — I find it comforting — and everything on or around it does. Art by friends; a cup that was engraved as a wedding gift, things that belonged to my family. I guess that really defines my aesthetic; I start with things that have meaning, and then the visuals evolve around that. I do try to group things in a harmonious way, of course, but it’s more organic than planned.   I’m not a tidy person, but I find it’s important to have an uncluttered work-space — even if it’s just the space in your immediate vision. I also need to be able to close a door at the end of a work day, whether that’s literal, or putting my “desk tray” away out of sight.  And when I’m working, I like things to hand so I don’t need to think about it: a carafe of water, a good supply of Pilot Varsity disposable fountain pens (blue.)   I also like to have a few really inspiring books nearby: essays or poetry or something else that’s immediately inspiring. The selection changes, for me — right now, it’s MFK Fisher’s The Gastronomical Me, Evan Connell’s essays, and Vivian Gornick’s new memoir — and I find that in those moments when you’re blocked or can’t get your thoughts together, it’s a useful tool. That’s probably the most important thing for me. Well, that and good earplugs — a New York City necessity. In fact, I just invested in a pair of those noise-canceling headphones drummers wear. You have to get them at the Guitar Center. It looks idiotic — but then, that’s one of the primary benefits of working from home.

Felicity Sargent- app developer
It’s essential for me to put the “fun” in functional—so what makes it work are a lot of trinkets and tchotchkes that make me laugh, smile, remind me of home, or a special time in my life.
My workday essentials are simple, water, my pups, and my tattered, tagged-up, high school copy of Leaves of Grass.
The colors on my walls are what keep me inspired. After reading Adam Alter’s book, Drunk Tank Pink, I drank way too much Chartreuse and mixed up a jungle punch of Benjamin Moore’s finest pastel pink and yellow citrine. I like to say that it’s the color of calm creativity. If only I could remember the precise blend….
The desk, chair and mirror are vintage and from my favorite neighborhood antique store, Pippin Home. The “carpet” (if you can call it that) is astro-turf from Amazon. The Andy Warhol Campbell’s Soup Cans were a gift, and the candle holders are from One Kings Lane, but were originally yellow, and I painted them pink.