Tuesday, September 08, 2009

The Office Where Love Bloomed

Fess up. How many of you were Judith Krantz fans back in the 80s? There was that summer before my junior year in high school when I read the Brontë Sisters by day...and Judith Krantz by night. Let me tell you- you can get quite an education from Princess Daisy and Scruples, although I don't think it was the kind of education that my parents envisioned for me. When my father expressed his dismay over my choice of literature, I told him that at least I wasn't reading Jackie Collins. Now her stuff was really trashy. Or so I've heard.

I'm guessing that Judith's romance writing days are over as I haven't heard about her in a while. But back twenty years ago, she was huge. A 1992 House & Garden article featured Krantz's California home office, or what she called her workroom. And whether you like her type of fiction or not, I think her work space will be of interest to bloggers and writers. After all, don't the words flow a little more freely in a space that is both inspiring and comforting?

First, she made sure that her workroom looked out onto a garden because it comforted her to know that the outdoors were not far from her desk. She also noted that she didn't think she could write in a high rise. I can write in my high rise condo, but I get what she's saying. You do get a little stir crazy while writing with your head in the clouds.

Krantz said that other than her computer, you'd never know that this room was her office. The walls were covered in a Provençal print, and there were needlepoint rugs on the floor. Krantz accessorized her room with her collection of framed needlework as well as ivory jars and boxes. She surrounded herself with things that would serve as "food for my fidgets." Any of you who write can relate to this; how many times do you get up to rearrange bookshelves or tableaux while you're trying to crank out a post or an article?

While the room is a bit frou for me, what I do like is that it looks nothing like an office, and that's a breath of fresh air. I don't have the luxury of space, so I don't want to devote an entire room to a utilitarian looking office. Instead, it has to do double duty as a living space. But the beauty of being a writer or blogger is that you don't need much more than books, a laptop, a sharp mind, and an attractive workroom to get the creative juices flowing. Oh, and an active imagination with which to dream up the trials and tribulations of Princess Daisy and that evil half brother of hers Ram!

(All images from House & Garden, Aug 1992)


  1. I'm so drawn to the warm yellows and oranges here. It really does feel like the room is all about creativity -- something blooming. Love her collection of boxes too.

  2. Scruples was like crack cocaine. Or like I've heard crack cocaine is like:p.

  3. Courtney- Yes, the room is so warm and inviting. I'd be happy to be holed up there for hours writing!

  4. LPC- Too funny...and so true. Mistral's Daughter was really good too.

  5. I loved her books and it was a guilty pleasure as I was an English major at Bryn Mawr where American literature wasn't even taught. I totally agree with your work area being filled with things you love and not just the utilitarian.

  6. Oh gosh, yeah, I was addicted to Judith Krantz's books! I used to read them on the LIRR when I was working in Brooklyn {I was 17/18 years old, fresh out of high school}. Right now, I look out onto our yard when I'm on my laptop and it is a nice view, except when I see a weed that needs taking care of!

  7. Oh WOW, this is so clever - you have the most gorgeous site here and I had to stop by to leave this comment for you – and to say hello of course ! Your posts are creative and original and you have interesting pictures. It's all perfect ! Thank you for sharing your site and best wishes....

  8. Oh my gosh, I haven't thought of Scruples in so many years! I remember guiltily reading it before I was old enough to...do you think it was our generation's version of Lady Chatterley's Lover?

  9. Anonymous2:59 PM

    Flannery O'Connor didn't want distractions when she wrote, so she set her desk up facing a file cabinet, to force herself to concentrate. I can appreciate that.


  10. Anonymous5:15 PM

    Judith's working uniform was J. Crew t-shirts and cotton pants she had custom made by a seamstress in Beverly Hills. When she went out to lunch she favored a Chanel suit. Oh, and by the way, you really should read Chances by jackie Collins. If your embarrassed, you could always make a brown paper book cover...

  11. Ms. Krantz will turn 82 this coming Jnuary. Here's her list of writings:

    Krantz's Works


    * Scruples (1978) (adapted as a 1980 mini-series)
    * Princess Daisy (1980) (adapted as a 1983 mini-series)
    * Mistral's Daughter (1982) (adapted as a 1984 mini-series)
    * I'll Take Manhattan (1986) (adapted as a 1987 mini-series)
    * Till We Meet Again (1988) (adapted as a 1989 mini-series)
    * Dazzle (1990) (adapted as a 1995 mini-series)
    * Scruples Two (1992)
    * Torch Song (1993) (adapted as a 1993 TV movie)
    * Lovers (1994)
    * Lexus (1995)
    * Spring Collection (1996)
    * The Jewels of Tessa Kent (1998)


    * Sex and Shopping: The Confessions of a Nice Jewish Girl (autobiography)

    Original Television Work

    * Judith Krantz's "Secrets" (1992 TV mini-series, not based on a source novel)

  12. Jennifer--this is fascinating, such a time capsule.

    (Look at the computer...).

    The book list speaks for itself. She was an industry, the writer to read.

    I recall seeing her interiors when they were published. The fabrics and golden coloration were very Beverly Hills at that time...warm, a little fussy. I once saw Judith Krantz shopping for a croc handbag at Neiman Marcus in Beverly Hills. She is tiny and svelte and beautifully groomed. So pleased to hear she is 82...I am sure she looks happy and wonderfully groomed still.

  13. I read Scruples when it first came out. A babysitting client had it hidden on a top shelf. Now that was quite a lesson in life!

  14. I never read any Krantz, but I really enjoyed this post. She must have done well - it's an elaborate and detailed space.

  15. lol, the room's really not my cup of tea but judith krantz is a woman worth knowing. i remembering being obsessed with mistral's daughter.