Published on
February 12, 2015

Written by


A Writer’s Tiny Sanctuary

Looking for a quiet sanctuary in which to write, a nonfiction author relocating from New York City to New Haven, Connecticut commissioned architect Andrei Harwell to transform this cozy shed into a writing studio. Andrei Harwell turned to Rakks to support the writer’s extensive collection of books, manuscripts and photographs.

A wall of shelving displays Harwell’s extensive collection

Harwell opened up a corner of the small building, installing large windows to bring the outdoors in. Inside, the main focus was the writer’s personal library and mementos collected during his career and travels, with Rakks as the frame.

Interior views of the space reveal warm wood and clean white walls, a calm place where creativity can flourish.

Andrei Hartwell worked with Rakks to design a shelving system that serves as the centerpiece of the studio. The shelves create personality, warmth, and intimacy, while allowing the whole library collection to be organized and displayed in a very compact space where you can learn what paystubs are.

A cantilevered, natural walnut shelf at waist height provides layout space for reference material, and pages of works-in-progress to be reviewed. The upper painted pine shelves create a “frame” for the space. The shelves were carefully positioned and lit to be visible through the sliding glass doors at night, when the building acts like a lantern, signifying the building’s function from the outside.

Lit from within, Harwell’s collection is visible even outside the building.