An enormous L-shaped wood desk dominates the main room; an open door, decorated with a tongue-wagging leather Javanese mask, leads to an alcove with a small writing desk facing a window. Paintings, photographs, and drawings, acquired during years of world travel, fill the walls. "If we were to leave this town, this is what I would miss most," says Delbanco, surveying his space. "I'm unwilling or unable to write in public spaces. I love this room. It's full of rich and resourceful things. I don't feel confined so much but wouldn't mind if it were twice the size."
Delbanco says he comes to his study no later than five-thirty each morning, when he goes to his desk to compose 500 words. "One must have a habit, be regular in one's pattern," he says. "I don't believe in inspiration arriving in the wind."
"I have everything I need here," says Natalie Bakopoulos of the light-green room with a hardwood floor that serves as her writing space. Bakopoulos and her husband, Jeremy Chamberlin, have offices across from one another, former bedrooms in their comfortable white house on the city's far west side.