A Space of One's Own

She's no hermit, but Leni Miller runs her administrative-staffing company, EA Search ($1.5 million, three employees, www.easearch.com), out of what she calls "the cave" -- the office space on the bottom level of her four-story floating home in Sausalito, Calif. From her workstation perch she peers out at the surface of Richardson Bay, her view of Mount Tamalpais obstructed only by sailboats.

Miller, 55, previously owned a couple of executive-search and temp agencies that she commuted to in San Francisco. After selling one business during a recession, she moved her office to her home to save money. "What I've come to know is that the kind of creativity that comes from living and working in a quiet environment is huge compared with what happens when you have to go to an office with a lot of staccato energy and noise. My productivity is two to three times higher here."

A satellite dish set up on a nearby dock piling allows for high-speed Internet access. Four computers (two Hewlett-Packards, one Dell, and one Compaq) serve Miller and her assistant as recruiting and writing tools. Miller interviews job candidates and sometimes meets with her advisory team in the upstairs living room.

An unexpected advantage of working on a houseboat: it saves Miller time because most interviewees seem happy to come to her. "Somehow, people are willing to make the trip out here," she says.

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