Our Studio + Office in Old Town Alexandria, VA

When I first started Laura Hooper Calligraphy 15 years ago {more about my journey in this post}, I was working out of my parent’s house, with calligraphy projects strewn about my old bedroom and all the envelope calligraphy going down at their kitchen table. A few years in, I moved to Hermosa Beach and got my first office space. It was a pretty tight fit for me, my assistant, all of my ongoing projects and supplies – but I loved it and was so proud of this big step in my business. It was the first official Laura Hooper Calligraphy space, and we were right on Pier Ave in Hermosa. Almost four years ago, my husband and I transferred our careers & lives over to the East Coast. Before committing to a studio space, I decided to work out of my home to acclimate the business to a new city. As the business started to grow with our workshops, calligraphy supplies & then party goods, I knew I’d be needing a bigger space. Alyssa {my sister and business partner} & I found our new and current space in Old Town Alexandria, VA. We couldn’t be more pleased with our new office and studio. Read more about it below!

Describe the space and what you do there.

When we found this historic building in Old Town & saw that it was fully renovated inside with a clean yet charming feeling, we knew we had to have it! We almost bowed out a couple of times in the negotiations for rent, utilities, taxes, and all the other components that go into renting a space in a historic town/building #adulting. However, we knew it was a special place so we persisted for months and eventually got our new set of keys!

We consider this to be a “working studio” and we don’t operate as a storefront. I do almost all of my work in my office. The workshop space stays open most of the time because my assistant likes to sit in there correcting envelopes/packing orders. We have the shop inventory/packing area in the back. You can read more about what goes on in the studio & at LHC as a whole here.

What made you decide to invest in an office and studio outside of your home?

For me it was mostly about space – getting all of our product under one roof {some of our inventory was in LA} and being able to hold our workshops without renting a space. I also reached a point where I was ready to get back to my home being my home and my office being my office. Once we started expanding our team, I knew my house would be a bit out of the way so it made the most sense to pick a spot more central to our staff and vendors.

What was most important to you when looking for a potential studio and workshop space?

We knew we needed something big enough to hold our workshops plus have enough space for all the inventory and the work itself. We also wanted a space that was aesthetically pleasing – I wanted to want to come to work each day. As a creative business owner, having a clean and beautiful space keeps me inspired and focused.

What drew you to this particular location?

Old Town Alexandria was a no brainer for us. It’s charming, it’s convenient, there’s a coffee shop downstairs {plus gelato!}, and I was spending a lot of my free time in Old Town dining out, taking exercise classes, and shopping.

Why do you think it’s important to invest in the decor of your office?

We prefer to keep the Laura Hooper Calligraphy brand threaded throughout the business – including our studio and workshop space. When students come into the space we want them to feel like they are experiencing our story and aesthetic. We’ve heard many people say they’d want to live in the space, and we feel the same way! We truly enjoy being here & creating each day. We aim to have a cohesive brand experience throughout our website, social media feeds, packaging, and studio.

Where did you get your furniture from?

Our pieces are mostly mixed from CB2, Ikea, Target. Our lovely Smeg refrigerator is one my favorite pieces – to be honest I think it was the most expensive purchase, but I think it goes well with the vintage feel of the building. Also our ever-popular wallpaper is from Mintwood Home.

How often do you get fresh flowers? Where do you get them from?

Fresh flowers are my vice! As I’ve shared over and over on Instagram, I adore spending time in my garden and we love filling our feed with beautiful blooms when they are in season. When my garden is in bloom, I try to bring flowers in weekly and we also get our friends over at Sweet Root Village to include stems for us on their orders occasionally throughout the year. Whenever we have a photo shoot or workshop in the studio we’ll keep the flowers until the last petal drops! Trader Joe’s is a great resource as well.

What do you like most about living and working in Alexandria, VA?

Definitely the charm of both Old Town and our building. There’s so much history here & I love to soak it all up. Plus we are a lot closer for visits with our vendor friends!

Thanks so much for taking a peek through our studio – we hope it offers a bit of inspiration for your own workspace or studio!