Home Studio Tour

Introduction

Working from home is a big deal right now. I’m very familiar with the perks and pitfalls of creating and maintaining a productive home workspace, as my botanical illustration studio is on the top floor of my skinny London townhouse. As I was recently interviewed by life coach Julia Davies, The Simplicity Strategist, on her blog about my home studio, so thought I’d share some images and ideas here too. Come and take a tour. With thanks to Julia for her questions. 

How do you want your London Botanical Illustration studio to feel?

Above all else, I want Charlotte Argyrou Illustration HQ to be a sanctuary and a haven of order, calm and productivity. The rest of the house is subject to chaos due to the small people, but The Studio is a Lego-free zone. Thoroughout my home, you will find plenty of maximalist botanical fabrics and wallpapers, and strong but muted colours. In the studio however, I have white walls, delicate but plush soft grey velvety curtains, and my late granny’s 1960s blue velvet chair. We call it The Chair of Contemplation, and it must NOT have stuff dumped on it. I budge to The Chair of Contemplation when I need to think, away from the laptop, before I send a daunting pitch email or jump on an Instagram Live. The chair is about 0.5m from my desk, but the act of moving into a new space is what counts.

 

What do you have in your studio that may surprise people?

Big ugly machines like a printer and an A3 scanner. You’ll never see those on my Instagram, but they are essential.  

On a more botanical note, there also indoor greenhouses and we often have a lime tree and a lemon tree – both in big white container tubs. Together, they take up about a quarter of the studio space. In Spring/Summer, they go out into our miniature garden, but come autumn they crave the sunlight and warmth that The Studio offers. That’s why I recommend keep elements of your home office mobile. As your work and business evolve your work space may need to adapt. If you’ve filled the room with big bits of furniture, you may need an expensive refit.

You’ll also find plenty of fashion books, a hangover from my former career as a high fashion publicist. Most of the books I was involved with in some way or another or they were kind gifts from brands or publishers. There’s also a wardrobe absolutely stuffed with designed cocktail dresses I have little occasion to wear but can’t bear to part with.

What do you have on your desk that a newbie to working from home might not think of?

All the classics you’d expect from a hand-drawn illustrator – and assortment of pencils, pens, rubbers and sharpeners. The pens and pencils are categorised and arranged in old Diptyque candle jars. The luxurious, wonky typography makes me happy.

I have a paper diary and a weekly planner. The diary contains to-do lists and all the forthcoming week’s tasks are listed into one column on a Sunday night. I then layer each item into my available time. That way, I can see before the week has even begun if I am being unrealistic. I’m never going to complete 20 hours of tasks in 10 working hours. Many people work with a digital diary, but I just can’t categorise my thoughts that way. I’m a pencil and paper girl. 

You’ll also find fabric swatches and pages from magazine ready to be pinned on my giant moodboard. There’s bound to be some old scribbled lists, which a flash of an idea that I’m not ready to file away or recycle yet.  

Is your desk neat and tidy or a foot high with papers?

I’m pretty tidy in the studio. It’s a novelty from the rest of the house. I like to walk in and feel instantly ready to work and not like I have to waste time preparing the space. But during 2020 lockdown, I’m sharing the space with my husband. He loves a pile of papers on the floor – my nemesis! I NEVER EVER EVER put client work on the floor. Nothing good can come from that. 

Do you always work at your desk, or elsewhere too?

Illustration work is always at my drawing desk in the studio. My paper needs to be flat, I need arm space around it, and when my pencil box is laid out, it takes up quite a lot of room. Occasionally I work from the kitchen table – if I’m working on my blog or social media. I never work in front of the TV as I just cannot concentrate that way. Even as a child, I’d do my homework in silence alone, then come and watch TV or be sociable. I just can’t function with noise and distraction and opinions! 

If you could design your dream office, how would that be different to what you have today?  

For starters, my dream London botanical illustration studio would have a north-facing window. That way, you experience a less changeable light (better for drawing) and less intensity from the sun. My studio boasts a big south-facing window, which sounds divine, but is troublesome in summer. The indoor greenhouses that live at my feet adore the intensity of the sun. Each summer, our tomatoes, peppers and herbs all thrive, and the scent is incredible, so I can’t complain too much.

I’d love more space one day. I think any creative work benefits from being able to physically lay out ideas or versions of designs. I’d also adore a proper gallery space, to use for photography and to host meetings or even events.

If you could design your dream office, how would that be different to what you have today?  

For starters, my dream London botanical illustration studio would have a north-facing window. That way, you experience a less changeable light (better for drawing) and less intensity from the sun. My studio boasts a big south-facing window, which sounds divine, but is troublesome in summer. The indoor greenhouses that live at my feet adore the intensity of the sun. Each summer, our tomatoes, peppers and herbs all thrive, and the scent is incredible, so I can’t complain too much.

I’d love more space one day. I think any creative work benefits from being able to physically lay out ideas or versions of designs. I’d also adore a proper gallery space, to use for photography and to host meetings or even events.

Does your office include any particular things that inspire you?   

Yes loads, I have a bookshelf dedicated to coffee table style books filled with juicy inspiration. A few personal development books have slipped in there in the past couple of years too. I find a quick chapter of Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic or Jen Sincero’s You Are a Badass is an effective solution to a work slump. For inspiration and company, I listen to podcasts when I’m drawing because that’s the only time in my life when my mind is freed enough to listen properly. I love The High Low, The Great Indoors and Table Manners when seeking entertainment, anything by Sara Tasker for mindful business advice and my new guilty pleasure…Hosteing Laura Jackson or The Adam Buxton Podcast.

Thanks for joining me on the my home studio tour!

The best behind-the-scenes updates are found on my Insta account

love, charlotte

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