Hencoop Hospitality my feather boa!

If Virginia Woolf and her sister Vanessa Bell ( a painter and interior designer) Founders of the Bloomsbury Group, or Set, as they were known, and who gathered around them other like minded intellectuals, philosophers, artists, and influencers, could be considered frivolous by any group or gender, than I’ll eat that feather boa. I’ll do it without reservation, in protest to the outrageousness of the coinage.

Above: Allbright . London. Photographed by Tina Hiller

It’s only a wonder to me why it has taken us so long to embrace and proliferate, women’s only social and co-working clubs. Certainly we work differently than Virginia and Vanessa did at the turn of the 20th century, and Me Too wasn’t yet a movement, though it was a harsh reality, whatever the reason, a few pathfinders have helped to get the ball rolling.

From The Wing, which I have written about several times now, and if I am allowed to brag a bit, my firm, Elaine Construction is responsible for constructing in Boston’s Back Bay, to dozens and dozens across the country, women only co-working is in full swing.

Above: Make Lemonade . Toronto . Canada

Admittedly, it was the design of The Wing which first caught my attention. To my eye, it’s luscious interior is like a movie set that I could imagine Jan Morrow of Pillow Talk walking onto and sitting right down with a cup of tea and a bag of samples for her next project. It’s perfection. There are others which are worthy of mention for their jaw-dropping interiors including: Allbright . London, The Hivery . Mill Valley . CA, Make Lemonade . Toronto . CA, and Paper Dolls . LA . CA.

Above Left: Paper Dolls . LA . CA and Right: Paper Dolls Founder Jen Mojo

The names are as inspiring as the interiors and their missions. Allbright an ode to Madeline who famously stated: There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.” so often quoted these days it would be hard to imagine anyone not familiar with it. The Hivery which elicits images of the Queen Bee buzzing around in control of her kingdom, and believe me, I’d be happy to Make Lemonade out of Rachel Kelly’s brainchild of a work space. I loved making paper dolls as a young girl, so Jen Mojo’s concept, born out of a dinner club that gathered regularly, brings a smile to my face.

The Hivery . Mill Valley . CA by Design Renegades
Design Renegades Founder . LeAnn Wanninger

The fact that all these spaces were designed by women, and in the case of The Wing . Boston – built by one too (yeah!) is a source of collegial pride. Allbright was created by London Based firm No. 12 Studio, founded by Katie Earl and Emma Rayner, is a stunner.

Above Left: The Hivery . Right Top: The Hivery Main Studio. Right Bottom: The Hivery Founder . Grace Kraaijvanger.

LeAnn Wanninger of Design Renegades is responsible for the clean, bright lacquered white desk tops, lucite accents, and happy yellow pops of color that make up The Hivery, and have women making the trek from the heart of San Fransisco and other Bay Area locales to get creative and get working. Grace Kraaijvanger its founder is driven to explore: “what create and supports a courageous women”. This space might just provide the bird’s eye view to answer that question.

No. 12 Studio Founders . Katie Earl and Emma Reyner

The inspiration and pride I feel for these spaces abounds. I hope you find a little of your own inspo today.

Rachel Kelly . Make Lemonade Founder.

Winging It: co-working on the fly

When I was in my 20’s I used to pack my bag in the morning with my work shoes, my lunch, my workout clothes, toiletries, and head out to the T – that’s public transportation here in Boston. I would often add to this a cake, a tray of cupcakes or bags laden with cookies and other baking delights.  Oh for the days where I had THAT much time on my hands.  Not only did I bake, but I worked out 5 days a week.  My gym didn’t allow for overnight storage so I carried everything on me – like a pack mule.  I thought I was going to be a princess – it had come to this.

To be fair, though my circumstances have changed considerably since I was in my 20’s, I am still rather like a pack mule – though what I tote around has become much larger, and slightly less frequent with my house flipping.

wing 7

Audrey Geltman and Lauren Kassan co-founders of The Wing decided it was disrespectful to have to change in a bathroom between meetings, to have no place to gather ones thoughts, prepare for a meeting, meet with potential business partners, talk, listen, engage, have a glass of wine to unwind or gear up for the night ahead – a place that was all about women – for women, exclusively.

wing 2

So The Wing was born, first in the Flatiron District, then in Soho – plans for one in Washington D.C., and I think California – sadly, not Boston.  Would you pay $2000. clams for a place to shower, store your clothes, listen to a lecture, attend a book signing or throw a baby shower?  I think I might.  Particularly if I could buy it off in food and drinks while entertaining clients.

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The designers of this hip space are from CdR & Co. , Chiara de Rege and Hillary Koyfman. It is really no surprise that the space drew me in – aside from its decidedly practical side, it’s pinks, pale grays, and gold accent are tops on my happy place colors.  Then they go and add a powder room in the perfect pink poof of a paint and attached Coco Chanel’s name to it and voila, it was love.  They painted the floor, ceiling, and all the doors and casings in one of two pink tones – genius.  It’s a womb of a women’s room, and I feel calm, relaxed, and certain that I will emerge rosy cheeked, and fresh.