The Tiny Houses of Famous Writers

When you’re a writer and an avid reader, it’s easy to get lost in the lives of authors. What do they eat, read, say, think? But the most delightful discoveries my recent stalkings searches have produced are the writing cottages and sheds of iconic writers.

All this time, writers across the globe (mostly in England, it seems) have been setting up perfect spaces for me and my fellow 5’1 and unders to sneak into and claim as home. Okay. I’ll admit that it’s one thing to write in these spaces and another to reside in them, but if we can live in the words of writers, I’m pretty sure we can cram ourselves into their sheds.

Here are a few writing hovels I’ve bookmarked for tiny house potential.

Roald Dahl’s Gipsy House Writing Hut


Dahl’s writing hut might be the most famous of the writing sheds on this list. Inspired by Dylan Thomas’s clifftop shed, Dahl chose a garden setting for momentary escape from domesticity and to write many an unforgettable book. As a fellow cozy clutterbug, I can’t imagine a better place to curl up with a good book, or pen and paper, zip myself into a sleeping bag, collect my chocolate wrappers, and get the crock pot going.

I would also happily take the real-life caravan (and Dahl’s kids’ playroom) immortalized in Danny the Champion of the World. The best tiny house is a mobile tiny house.


Frederick Douglass’s Growlery


Inhabiting Douglass’s stone cabin (reconstructed in the ’80s) might mean a complete interior renovation, but you’d be getting a tiny house attached to a ton of history. An abolitionist, orator, former slave, and the author of the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, Douglass found his ideal secluded spot on his Cedar Hill property. At the Growlery, he read, wrote, and collected his brimming thoughts. I’d light a fire, pull up a stool, and be inspired to growl in this little house behind a hill.

Virginia Woolf’s Monk’s House Writing Lodge

Sad things were written in Virginia Woolf’s beautifully situated writing lodge, including her final note to her husband. But I’d take the good with the bad, soak up the space where the writer of one of my favorite stories, Orlando, penned many of her major works, and remember her genius. Set among orchards and flower beds on the English countryside, the little lodge is a peace-seeker’s paradise. I’d be thrilled to enjoy petit fours with my tea every day of my petit life here.

Philip Pullman’s Oxford Writing Shed

Philip Pullman declared that only creative work shall be done in his writing shed; I hereby vow to devote every minute of my waking and sleeping life to creativity. Can I live here now? The exterior of the shed alone fills me with all sorts of wonder. It’s unarguably a fitting place to write His Dark Materials, which Pullman did at exactly three pages a day. I don’t mind peeling wallpaper and I’d never let the cobwebs grow in this 12×8 blip of concentrated imagination.

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