When it comes right down to it, none of us can get any serious work done with all the distractions and digital trappings of the modern world. You should just be able to turn off notifications on your phone and skip the trip into the office to avoid all the distractions, but it’s not always that simple. When you want to truly disconnect from the world so you can get some actual work done, you need a proper retreat to insulate you from all the nonsense. Any place away from the hustle and bustle of city life could be considered a writer’s retreat, but they’re not all created equal.

Surman Weston Writer’s Shed

When you’re an author and illustrator with a passion for children’s literature and mythology that has no place to work, what do you do? You hook up with a fantastic design firm like Surman Weston—Weston, Surman & Dean at the time—to build you a work retreat smack dab in the middle of your own garden. In theory? Completely ridiculous. In practice? Holy shit do we wish we had a small structure with slatted cedar, plenty of natural light and the proper amount of amenities (sink, fireplace, plenty of bookshelves, skylight, etc.) to cut out all the nonsense and get down to business. Link


Slate Writer’s Retreat Cabin

Put simply, the Slate Cabin is a writer’s retreat perched on the edge of Snowdonia National park in Mid Wales. Inspired “by the very bedrock of Wales, a country built on—and of—slate”, this is a unique single room structure faced with, you guessed it, slate that has enough room inside to escape from all the bullshit of a busy everyday life. It’s a simple, clean workspace filled with natural wood that you can use for some creative recharging or to write one of the next great books from the last decade. Link


Modscape Cabin

What can you possibly accomplish in a month’s time? What about three months? If you’re us, you’d use that time for the Cool Material Motorcycle Build. If you’re Melbourne-based architects and builders Modscape, you’d construct an off-the-grid cabin retreat situated on the southern banks of the Murray River in Tintaldra, a town in northeast Victoria, Australia. Built from salvaged iron for the explicit purpose of blending in, the Modscape Cabin perfectly blends modern aesthetics and design principles with container house chic. Link


False Bay Writer’s Cabin

If your day generally goes anything like ours, by the time you’re on the second cup of coffee your daily to-do list and productivity are already shot to hell because of e-mails, texts, notifications, and visitors with questions you feel like you’ve answered a million times. Turning your phone off helps with the digital, the False Bay Writer’s Cabin from internationally renowned firm Olson Kundig helps with the physical because it has walls that fold up like a drawbridge to lock out the outside world. Sure, you only get 500 square feet of tranquility situated on the San Juan Island, but do you really need more than that when you have the option of shutter decks and you’re supposed to be working, anyway? Link


CCS Diane Middlebrook Studios Writers Cabins

Arranged under a steel canopy that’s designed to maximize the rural Santa Cruz Mountains setting overlooking the Pacific, the Dianne Middlebrook Studios—at the Djerassi Resident Arists Program in Woodside—consists of four sleep/work cabins designed with sustainable features that are built to give you and three other writers the perfect setting in which to complete your next great work. With only the most basic amenities—bed, desk, comfy chair, and kitchen area for coffee and/or wine—this is the space to put pen to paper. We can’t promise that having three other individuals that probably share your penchant for prose, bourbon, and procrastination within ear shot will help your productivity, but it will at least be a learning experience. Link


Brooklyn Garden Studio

Located in the Boerum Hill neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York—look it up on Google Maps, it’s not that far from the Barclays Center—this idyllic studio is the absolute epitome of an escape from the trappings of modern day life. 55-square-feet of pure escapism filled with handcrafted details and modern ingenuity set apart from the modern world in the garden of a Boerum Hill townhouse in Brooklyn. Ultimately, the piece conceived of by a tinkering architect looking to escape from the city would evolve into a testament of what’s possible when you’re more interested in the work and challenging yourself than you are in the economic payoff. In other words, burgeoning architect Nicholas Hunt and his brother Andrew needed a place to work, so they built it for themselves. That’s the kind of bootstraps thinking we appreciate as writers. Link


Coulson Disappear Retreat

If disappearing from the world to get to your creative happy place is your goal, there is perhaps no better option than the appropriately named Disappear Retreat from Coulson. Designed for and inspired by creative work, this 8 x 10 x 9 foot structure is clad in reflective glass that almost completely camouflages it in its surroundings. The ceiling of the prefab structure is also glass, which makes for fantastic viewing of the night sky and a fair bit of inspiration. Even better, Disappear Retreat is available from Coulson in three different options: Bed+Bath, Basic (open floor plan) and Sauna, so you can have three different ways to escape. Link


Jarmund/Vigsnæs Arkitekter AS (JVA) Writer’s Cottage

In a private garden in a residential area of Oslo, Norway is where you’ll find the next great place to retreat—the Writer’s Cottage designed by Jarmund/Vigsnæs Arkitekter AS (JVA). Outside, this small writing annex employs an almost wedge-like shape with faceted angles and plenty of glass to maximize views while still keeping the sunlight in check. Cross the threshold and you’ll find plenty of warm wood, a lofted bed area and a glass desk specially built not to obstruct the view of the outside world. Link

LOCK-PICK-TRAINING-KIT-IF2

[Shop]  You don’t need to be an international man of mystery for there to be value in the ability to pick a lock. Whether you have a penchant for forgetting your keys or just want to be there for friends and neighbors, learning to pick locks is a worthwhile skill. But that doesn’t mean you should go practicing on your front door; officers might not like that. Instead, get yourself this Lock Pick Training Kit, which includes a set of tools and a see-through padlock so you can watch what’s happening while you practice. Not only will you come to understand the inner workings of a lock, but you’ll gain the skills necessary to pick one with ease. And don’t worry, there are keys included in case you get frustrated.