Tag Archives | Kerstin Martin

Studio Tour: Kerstin Martin

Modern Creative Life Presents Studio Tours

When I started my own business 18 months ago I decided to rent an external office space. As a web designer I can work from anywhere but I wanted a dedicated professional location, it made me feel like I had a ‘proper’ job and eased the transition from decades of corporate life to self employment. I think mostly I was just worried that I would live in my pajamas all day and never leave the house! However, one year into running a successful and growing business I realized that I was ready to move into a home office and allocate the rent money elsewhere (like our mortgage). Best decision I made! While I miss some of the interaction with my former business community, which I still visit, I adore working from home.

I converted our third bedroom, which is quite small, into a cozy office den and I love it. I grew up in a 1.5 bedroom apartment with my mom and two siblings and because of this and my tendency to compromise space for location I am used to making the most out of a small room. My studio is in many ways a perfect reflection of who I am and it is filled with many personal items from my family and my travels. I love lighting candles in here and listening to my favorite playlists on Spotify or my preferred London radio station (thank you Internet!). Having easy access to my kitchen is another perk, now I can make myself a coffee or a healthy snack at any time. In the summers you can often find me doing some al fresco working on the balcony. Another plus is being able to go for spontaneous lunches or walks with my husband on those days when he also works from home. He has is own office corner in our guest room and I treasure being able to spend more time with him.

Having never been much of a 9-5 person I love how working from home allows me to find and honor my own rhythm, which in turn has made me more efficient and happier. Oh, and I also got myself an office assistant! He still needs a bit of training though, I think 🙂


How we get work done around here!


My view when I work. I always keep fresh flowers on my desk. There are many reminders of my mom here, who passed away unexpectedly last November: I made the turquoise penholder at a workshop I attended with her when she visited me in Massachusetts, the horseshoe and picture on the right used to hang on her kitchen wall, we bought the colorful cup at our favorite shop in London. My dad painted the picture in the red frame and my sister made the gold frame for me which holds a couple of polaroids from the tulip fields in Skagit County, taken during one of my mom’s visits. The blue glass paperweight is a present from my husband from a romantic weekend in Venice, Italy, about ten years ago. Office assistant on the right, hard at work 🙂


I love this diary with its weekly overview on the left and room for notes on the right. I try to keep my desk as clutter-free as possible.


My summer studio! Another thing I love about working from home is moving my office to the balcony when the weather gets nice. Even here I am surrounded by memories of my mom because creating a little oasis on our balconies was ‘our thing.’ When she visited she always sat in the chair to the right 🙂


The wall behind me when I’m working. I took the photo on the left at my favorite London market, the dandelion on the right during a walk with my mom in my hometown of Cologne in Germany. My mom gave me the cow about 15 years ago. The box in the middle is from her apartment, she bought that at the same London which we both loved visiting. The smaller box to the right is also from London, the three wooden letters on top of the box say YES and are a present from my friend Madelyn Mulvaney.


When I worked in corporate offices I never liked it when my desk was pushed against the wall because I don’t like sitting with my back to the open room. I need open room in front of me, ideally next to a window. Hence this configuration of my tiny space. My studio tells many stories: wall art to the left comes from my mom’s apartment. Antique wooden dresser from Bath, England, where I was living in a tiny apartment. Wooden box and old scale in front of my desk from Columbia Road Market in London. Office chair from Amherst College where I was the academic coordinator for the German department. I found this chair from the 1970s in their storage and I love it, it’s very comfortable. Sid Dickins tile on the wall to the right, a present from a close friend in Vancouver. And, of course, my office assistant being his usual efficient self! 🙂

About the Author: Kerstin Martin

kerstinmartinbioKerstin Martin is a Blogger and Squarespace Web Designer who specializes in creating stylish and affordable websites for small businesses and solopreneurs.

Originally from Germany she now lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her American husband and fluffy grey cat. She muses about life’s inner and outer journeys on her blog at www.autumndiaries.com

What’s Next? Change. Or maybe not. by Kerstin Martin

“Bad news. The landlord pulled out, we are not getting the apartment.”

When I got this text message from my husband I felt the sense of disappointment wash over me. I had been so sure that this apartment was meant for us. We wanted to downsize and save money for our big move back to the US in a few years and this apartment fit that plan perfectly. Sigh. “Maybe we need to have a radical rethink on everything,” I messaged back.

Radical rethink. My husband took these two words literally and before we knew it we quit our jobs in London and planned our relocation to the Pacific Northwest. All we had was a very modest amount of savings and the kind of kerstin martin lake viewfaith that makes you persevere through the challenges that inadvertently show up when you decide to completely uproot your life before you even thought you were ready to do so. We were in our early 50s and financially it was a huge risk but we knew: without risk you cannot create the life you want. And we wanted that life to be in the Pacific Northwest.

When we told our families and friends that we were moving back to the US, no-one was very surprised. Since my husband and I got married in 2005 we moved every single year, from England to Massachusetts to Washington State back to Massachusetts to Germany to the UK. And a few local moves in between. I got a green card and eventually my U.S. citizenship. My American cat got a European pet passport and my car traveled across the U.S. twice and then to Europe and back again via the Panama Canal.

It seems that this is what I do; I’ve moved more than thirty times in as many years and after all these decades of traveling and moving around my gypsy soul still gets excited at the thought of new beginnings and all the possibilities they bring.

So when you ask me “what is next?” this answer is usually this: change. A move, a new job, a different furniture configuration, a new creative project. Perhaps this is how I survive the hard times in life, like the recent unexpected passing of my mom, I move on by redefining my environment and creating new opportunities that sometimes merely serve as a distraction but never fail to lead me to fresh opportunities down the road less traveled.

Last month we reached our one year anniversary in our new home here in the Pacific Northwest and the familiar itch to move is making itself known again.

We want to stay in our beloved town but how about exchanging our condo for a house with a small garden so I can grow some vegetables? I don’t have much of a green thumb but surely I can learn that, right? And hey, why don’t we build a house, something we’ve been talking about for a long time! I will admit, we get quite excited about these ideas KerstinBalconyand we could probably pull it off if we really wanted to.

However. Lately I have noticed something else mixing in with the excitement: a longing for stability and grounding that makes me want to stay right where we are. We currently own a lovely and spacious condo with a nice balcony and lots of light from our big windows and south-west exposure. After one year everything is dialed in and organized, all the pictures are on the walls and we are very comfortable. Our condo is also affordable and we could potentially pay it off in the next 6-7 years which I know would give both of us a lot of peace of mind. And I will admit, that peace of mind looks very appealing to me right now.

And so I said to my husband “Let’s just stay.” No change.

And so that’s ‘our next’ for now: no move and enjoying what we have here and now. Oh, what novel concept! But it feels good and right. Until, of course, we change our mind 🙂

About the Author: Kerstin Martin

kerstinmartinbioKerstin Martin is a Blogger and Squarespace Web Designer who specializes in creating stylish and affordable websites for small businesses and solopreneurs.

Originally from Germany she now lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her American husband and fluffy grey cat.

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