40 Inspiring Workspaces of the Famously Creative–via Buzzfeed, (+1 via Here)

Maureen O’Neill, a talented artist and friend living in Tarboro, NC, wrote yesterday to pass along a link she knew I’d love, and oooohhhhhh was she right. “40 Inspiring Workspaces of the Famously Creative,” originally posted on Buzzfeed by Summer Anne Burton. URL links to all below. I also asked Maureen if I might post a photo of her own studio space, and she obliged with this luminous photo.  The Buzzfeed post follows. Enjoy, and let me know what you think.

Btw, I’m still digging out from The Move and other writing deadlines but will be back on my own blogging two feet shortly… Meanwhile thanks Maureen, and of course Summer Anne and Buzzfeed!

Maureen O'Neill Studio, Tarboro, North Carolina
Maureen O'Neill Studio, Tarboro, North Carolina. Photo Maureen O'Neill


40 Inspiring Workspaces Of The Famously Creative

From tiny writing desks to giant painting studios, the only thing all of these creative studios have in common is that they inspired their successful inhabitants to create greatness.

Summer Anne BurtonBuzzFeed Staff

1. Mark Twain, author and humorist.

Mark Twain, author and humorist.

2. Georgia O’Keefe, painter.

Georgia O'Keefe, painter.

3. E.B. White, writer.

E.B. White, writer.

Source: artnectar.com

4. Alexander Calder, sculptor.

Alexander Calder, sculptor.

5. Roald Dahl, children’s author.

Roald Dahl, children's author.

6. Nikki McClure, illustrator.

Nikki McClure, illustrator.

7. Martin Amis, novelist.

Martin Amis, novelist.

8. Adrian Tomine, graphic novelist.

Adrian Tomine, graphic novelist.

9. Virginia Woolf, novelist.

Virginia Woolf, novelist.

10. Willem de Kooning, artist.

Willem de Kooning, artist.

11. Chip Kidd, book cover designer.

Chip Kidd, book cover designer.

12. Amanda Hesser, food writer.

Amanda Hesser, food writer.

13. Ray Eames, designer and artist.

Ray Eames, designer and artist.

14. Joan Miró, artist.

Joan Miró, artist.

15. Nigella Lawson, food writer.

Nigella Lawson, food writer.

16. Marc Johns, illustrator.

Marc Johns, illustrator.

17. Susan Sontag, writer and filmmaker.

Susan Sontag, writer and filmmaker.

18. Pablo Picasso, artist.

Pablo Picasso, artist.

19. John Lennon & Yoko Ono, songwriters and artists.

John Lennon & Yoko Ono, songwriters and artists.

20. Marc Chagall, painter.

Marc Chagall, painter.

21. John Updike, writer.

John Updike, writer.

22. Paul Cézanne, painter.

Paul Cézanne, painter.

23. Colm Tóibín, writer.

Colm Tóibín, writer.

24. David Hockney, painter.

David Hockney, painter.

25. William Buckley, author and commentator.

William Buckley, author and commentator.

26. Charlotte Bronte, novelist and poet.

Charlotte Bronte, novelist and poet.

27. Yves Saint Laurent, fashion designer.

Yves Saint Laurent, fashion designer.

28. Yoshitomo Nara, artist.

Yoshitomo Nara, artist.

29. Will Self, writer.

Will Self, writer.

30. Francis Bacon, painter.

Francis Bacon, painter.

31. Anne Sexton, poet.

Anne Sexton, poet.

32. Orla Kiely, fashion designer.

Orla Kiely, fashion designer.

33. Jane Austen, novelist.

Jane Austen, novelist.

34. Lisa Congdon, illustrator.

Lisa Congdon, illustrator.

35. Susan Orlean, journalist.

Susan Orlean, journalist.

36. Rudyard Kipling, author.

Rudyard Kipling, author.

37. Jackson Pollock, painter.

Jackson Pollock, painter.

38. Ruth Reichl, food writer.

Ruth Reichl, food writer.

39. George Bernard Shaw, playwright.

George Bernard Shaw, playwright.

40. Mark Rothko, painter.

Mark Rothko, painter.


  1. I find this blog fascinating. I’m thinking the same holds true for everyone. Some people thrive in utter chaos and others need to have organized space in which to thrive. The only thing that really matters is the outcome!
    On another note I just want to say I love your blogs and they are always the first emails I read. Happy your move is over.

    1. Isn’t it the truth, Judi? I find I have to have everything just so, and one of my favorite procrastinations is re-arranging my desk 37 times before beginning a difficult task or assignment, but then maybe that is part of the process. Thank you so much for your kind words. Frances

  2. I am always relieved when I learn others have “furniture” made from stacks of books. I think my home office space looks like Nigella’s + William Buckley’s. I am getting ready to drastically downsize post-divorce. What will I do with all my books?
    Love to beautiful and brilliant you, Frances.

    1. Love to you, too, beautiful and brilliant MA! Ah yes, too many books. Having just moved, I can relate. the thing is I, like you, LOVE my books and refer to them often. But there is always winnowing to be done. I did a quick search and came up with two posts, one for books specifically from Amber’s Organizing, and another more general downsizing piece from the excellent Apartment Therapy, which I need to re-read myself… Good luck with your downsize as you move into a new chapter of your life.

  3. HI Frances,
    Just curious, but which one of these creative spaces would come close to describing your work area that gets the creative juices flowing? And yes, another beautiful day here in Santa Ynez/Solvang.

    1. Hi Sandy! Well, I kinda have to have it pretty. And of my three “creative spaces” at the moment I’d say one qualifies, and that’s the one in Long Island. The ranch desk is a work in progress, and the New York desk is a metal folding table mess, but we’re working on it… I’m going to post a look back at the old NYC apartment, including the study/guest room, in the next few days… Thank you for writing! x Frances

  4. Loved this ! Thanks Frances. I like to think I am a little bit EB White, but am afraid I am probably a little more Calder. Favorite was Virginia Wolf, and Nigella. What fun. Hope you are happy with the progress, your valley is calling…xo Pete

  5. I am packed and ready to move into Paul Cezanne’s space! Thank you for passing along such fascinating

    1. Hi Sally! Cezanne’s studio is wonderful and has been preserved. You can visit it in Aix-en-Provence. Just don’t try to convince your mother to walk there from town when you don’t actually know how far it is and then she doesn’t speak to you the rest of the day… Just saying. Here’s a link for info: http://www.atelier-cezanne.com/anglais/

    1. Yes aren’t they, Emily. I’m always heartened by how little we truly need, and then I forget it as soon as possible. 😉 Thank you for writing, x, Frances

  6. Thank you for this post.

    It was like spending time with all our favorite friends.

    Love your blog and thoughtful and funny insights.

  7. Brilliant stuff, Frances — thank you so much for sharing….Mine is much more Buckley than Bronte, who surely had someone to pick up after her.

    1. Good point about Miss Bronte, Jon. The Buckleys had rafts of servants, too, I imagine, but they may have been afraid to go in that office of his. And thanks for your kind words – and again to Buzzfeed’s Summer Anne Burton for her brilliance.

  8. As a visual artist I shuffle between a small upstairs space looking at the mountains in AZ. to a large barn space in CT. surrounded by trees and gardens. Although the different studios/locations are influencial, there is still a “sense” of me in each that one might describe as “orderly chaos”. I love them both.

    1. Thank you John L! This post has been such fun. What do you think of asking our creative friends for photos of their workspaces? I’m fascinated by them, “famous” or not.

  9. Thank you so much for sharing this, Frances. I loved so many of these–scrolled up and down several times trying to imagine which space would be my “ideal,” and couldn’t decide. But the one that made me gasp in recognition and admiration was Virginia Woolf’s.

    1. And to think she lived in that lovely place and yet was so deeply troubled. It saddens me to think of it. Thank you for writing dear Sarah.

  10. Interesting indeed. I have to say I was attached to a part of every room. Creative people do touch on infinite levels. From a single small desk to a salon. Wonderful.

  11. Thank you so much for sending these amazing pictures our way. I am always amazed at where talent lives. Cannot stop scrolling up and down finding something new each time. Becky

  12. Frances — thank you for sharing these. So inspiring. Was especially delighted to see Lisa Conglin on this list — she’s the daughter of a friend of mine! Her mother Gerrie is a talented artist as well.

  13. Well..I LOVE THIS! I always love to see where the best work, it speaks volumes and is so special to see that private place where glory/mayhem 🙂 was created…my dad says ‘never trust anyone with a neat desk’…seems true here! Thanks for posting!

  14. Frances … you are such a joy to follow! Many thanks for all you share. As I try to fashion just the right work space, I’ve decided (from your terrific post) that it really must fashion itself!

  15. To have a peek into the life of some of the famous creative people’s work-space is not only a treat but an inspiration. I will not feel so bad when I go to work in the morning and look at my desk.

  16. I also love the “peek” (as Paula has put it)into the lives of these creative people! My husband a CPA has never understood how I can work in a space so full of inspirational “items”! I will be thrilled (as opposed to overwhelmed)when I walk into my design studio tomorrow! Thank you for sharing a glimpse into the lives of these awesome creative people!

  17. I am amazed at the diversity of work spaces… from neatniks to clutterbugs!!I think I fall somewhere in the middle, but if truth be told I more than likely would be classified as a clutternik!!

  18. So cool to see how artists and authors work differently. Some are surrounded by all the things they need and are inspired by. Others like it rather empty. I know I work best when things around me are sparse and in order or out in nature. Really awesome to see this! Thanks for the post!

  19. What a fun trip through pictures of these great artist work spaces. Thanks for sharing.

  20. Love this post! Am afraid to say, or should proudly say (not sure which) but the “famous” B Viz Design studio reeks of Bacon, Buckley, and Calder decor. While I don’t like it, I seem to need a good pile to pull out a masterpiece! When everything is too neat, I become paralyzed.

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