Cool Coworking Space Spotlight

Past meets future at LIME TREE WORK SHOP coworking

What do you get when an interior designer and an events planner decide to launch a business? You get a stunningly beautiful place to work, meet and connect. You get LIME TREE WORK SHOP.

A few years before the doors of LIME TREE WORK SHOP opened, founders Sandie Johnston and Cathy Emmins knew several things incredibly well. First, they knew they wanted to launch a business together. Second, they knew the community of Sevenoaks in Kent, deep in the southeast of England, was the place they wanted to do it, having grown up there. And third, they knew each other. They are, in fact, sisters.

Like many professionals in the UK, the pandemic-induced lockdown offered an opportunity for them both to reassess and imagine what their next phase could be.

“That kind of prompted the whole conversation, and we knew that if we're ever going to do anything together, now is the time,” said Emmins.

A community survey confirmed the need for a space that people could use for coworking, hosting events, and networking.

Johnston notes the sisters did their due diligence. “We spoke to other coworking operators. We did loads of homework on the trends of the industry and discovered that actually city centers are not where the new ones are coming on board — the need is in the suburbs. And a coworking space just sort of ticked the boxes of what we were trying to achieve. The rest was improvisation.”

Their first challenge? Find the right space. Their one requirement was it had to already have character. Everything else was fixable.

Originally a coachworks from the late 18th/early 19th century, the building on Lime Tree Walk had the bones they wanted. It was centrally located, delivering on the sisters’ desire to serve the high street of the community, bringing people back to the commercial area.


The building’s early industrial existence evolved into an artist’s studio, an automotive repair shop, and even a carpet and flooring store. Now derelict, Johnston and Emmins teamed up with the property developer to make their vision of a coworking and community space into a reality.

The building was stripped down to its proverbial bones, but built back with its history very much at the forefront. Today, the space is a historic take on what the modern office goer might require, with polished concrete floors, the massive original staircase, and light-filled common areas through windows that inspired their logo. 

Not surprisingly, the beauty and function of the building proved attractive to host events — even more so than they originally estimated. Emmins and Johnston are open to any and all ideas.

“We want to open it to as many people as we possibly can,” Johnston said. “Obviously that's a great way of publicizing our business at the same time. We use a lot of local companies for our events. For example, we’ll do flower arranging and Christmas Wreath making with the local florist, we’re planning a sparkling wine masterclass with the local vineyard, and we've got a seven course Asian inspired pop-up tasting menu with a local chef.” 

Meanwhile, freelancers, entrepreneurs, and small businesses have moved into the work shop, often finding more than just a location — they’re finding collaboration. “We've got two companies upstairs who are working together, and that is kind of Nirvana for us. Other members include recruiters, data analysts, writers, photographers, hedge funds, management and finance. All sorts.”

Looking to the future, the sisters hope to find another location that, along with their development partner, they can transform yet again with the magic mixture of history, community, service, and collaboration.

Now the sisters can add to the list of what they know. “We know we're on the right path to be successful.” 

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