The Cloud Room: 24 Karat Workspace
Sitting down with Holly Merrill in The Cloud Room, I face east as the setting sun slowly drops down the horizon behind me. We look past the beautiful balcony available to members. We settle into a series of couches, allowing those drinking at the house bar to stay seated. The bar, an excellent addition, provides a restful space to unwind while completing final tasks or merely to relax and just pass the time.
The easiness of this vibe allows our conversation to meander. During this first meeting I am surprised, not by her tattoos, which wrap around her neck and her arm, but by how quick she is to move the spotlight to the truly impressive company she keeps. She motions to creator Liz Dunn, introducing her as both the mastermind behind the organization of the space, as well as lead visionary on all things Cloud Room.
She talks very little of herself, mainly of the vision of Cloud Room. She credits the staff with bolstering the inclusive wifi workspaces available to members for a fee. This may be the “what” of the service they provide but not the “how”. The comfortingly plush decor, absent of pretension, the multi-seated open room- this allows the space to function as a place of business but feel like a personal invitation to something more.
Holly is humble and charming, as if she has lived a longer life than she has.
Her joys in life are poignant and important to highlight here, as they reflect her contribution to both Cloud Room and this community, as well as her own philosophies.
She beams brighter in the sunlight as she talks about her children. Her point of pride in them is that they are truly good people. In a world where many are raised to want to be rich, righteous or indignant, imagining her adult children as striving for more than this is easy, seeing her. They are equally self effacing, intelligent, and kind; hard workers, conscientious contributors. With Holly here helping other generations of determined creators move their ideas forward, it comes as no surprise that she describes them as good people. She too is a good person, though perhaps too modest to ever ascribe herself such monikers.
The successes of all these things hinge on a tell-tale feature.
Her superpower, she says:
She is just as curious about our endeavors and connecting us to the Cloud Room members as we are of the space. She strikes me as the prized messenger of an elaborate kingdom and her tidings, dear friends, are good.
There is a preconception about the Seattle freeze, which even she encountered after living elsewhere and moving back. But, she says exposure to the people for whom Cloud Room provides work space proves there are many good people here trying to make a difference.
From this place she discusses Cloud Room's future, its voice in combatting city problems such as homelessness, income inequality, and its potential for providing a place for this discourse. She mentions a list of upcoming on-site events where people will be meeting to form a dialogue on the issues with actionable resolutions in mind.
She mentions the Golden Repair meals that were held by one of the members, opening the door for opposite sides of the issue spectrum to discuss their opinions. The golden repair she says," Is a Japanese custom with ceramic to repair cracks or breaks with gold, making something even more beautiful and valued."
Cracks and breaks will happen. When those days come and a member is met with a setback, he or she can be assured it is Holly or the team helping them realign with their own goals. It is this collaborative support of the Cloud Room vision that makes the space unique, but also makes it difficult to comprehend just how much Holly herself has contributed to the effort.
I think that is the way she would like it. If the Cloud Room were a ceramic piece, she would be neither clay maker nor potter, she would be sometime after firing but before a gallery. In any cracks, you will find some piece of her.
Her wisdom, ability to read people, see the big picture, take the responsibility but not the credit, help make the Cloud Room and its members successful. Her role is to strengthen the separate parts of the community but also to knit them together. What would otherwise be disjointed, separate visions find a harmonious balance in Cloud Room. It is that gold winding throughout that helps keep the vision at the center of the endeavors. That gold, surely, is Holly, kindly shaking hands and making sure the organizations that call Cloud Room headquarters feel right at home.
24/7 for members
Lounge Open Daily to the public 5PM-10PM
Contact The Cloud Room at +1 (206)739-9004