we’re alive.

Jul 26, 2006 | Home + Studio Tours

all changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy, for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves. – anatole france

finally, we have internet access! you’ll have to bear with me as this will be a lengthy post (with pictures). where to start. oakland is not portland, oregon. sometimes, well several times in the last week, i’’ve gotten that sinking feeling in the pit of my tummy, reminding me that i’’m a bit misplaced right now and that i’’m new here. it lasts just a few seconds,but leaves a strong sting. it is so different here that it almost feels like we’’ve been dropped off on some alien planet and we’re touring it, amazed and flabbergasted by its differences.

the biggest differences we’’ve noticed so far (this list will make us sound like we are country bumpkins dropped into a real city for the first time. we realize now that portland is small beans as far as true urban cities go):

1. everything is super sized. even the carts at target are enormous. i swear it almost came up to my neck. the parking lots, the box stores, the cars. the highways. all huge.

2. it’’s loud. we hear the sounds of police cars, fire trucks, buses, construction, and even gun shots. we have a great apt with a ton of windows, but we can’’t talk on the phone without closing a couple of them. it’s that loud.

3. it’’s diverse. that’’s been a blessing and a big change from portland.

4. the traffic on the highway is ridiculous. we’ve already learned that we should never, ever venture out on the highways fri, sat, or sun. ever.

5. there are masses of people everywhere. i can’’t get over the sheer amount of people.

6. we found the very seedy part of oakland. prostitutes and gangsters on every corner in broad daylight and we saw 2 men fighting with knives on the sidewalk. we won’’t go there again.

7. people are afraid of our dog, which is ok by me. makes me feel safer.

8. parking is an issue. there are all sorts of rules about where we can park, and we have to pay close attention to zoning, times for street sweepers, etc. we’ve been trying to park the car somewhere for a couple of days and just challenge ourselves to walk or ride bikes as neither one of us wants the challenge of moving the car only to search for a parking spot later in the day. so the walking and riding our bikes will be a good thing in the long run.

i realize this list is sounding pessimistic. here are some positives.

1. our apt kicks ass. we’’ve got some serious cuteness going on in here. we went to ikea to get some essentials. again, masses of people. it was crazy crowded, like the worst disney world line you’’ve ever been in. but we did score some curtains and storage essentials. we’’ve fashioned ourselves a room specifically for my studio and john’’s office. we also have a large bedroom with a bay window for a seating area (and all of john’’s succulants). we have a good sized living room room. the kitchen and bathroom are small, but doable. we spent several days painting all of the rooms and unpacking. i had forgotten what an ordeal it was to unpack and paint. i don’’t remember my legs and feet ever being so tired, not even after that half marathon last year. i need to get back into shape. good thing i have a 3.5 mile track around the lake in front of our apt.

2. we’ve already found a great sushi restaurant (drunken fish) and taqueria in our neighborhood. there seem to be great restaurants everywhere.

3. the people in our apt building are all welcoming and friendly. there’’s a community feeling about this place that feels like it could be something good.

4. we really like our little area of oakland. people are out and about, walking around the lake, hanging out at the local cafes, etc.

5. besides the heatwave, the weather is incredible. cool mornings and evenings. perfect amount of warmth. so much sunshine! we both already have flip flop tan lines on our feet.

6. the best dog park bella has ever laid eyes on is just up the road.

after a hectic week or so, we are starting to settle in and relax. we’’ve got all sorts of plans to explore the area these next few weeks, and all sorts of visitors lined up, too.

my heart is really tugging at me to get in the new studio and start producing some art, so i will get to it very soon.

here are some pics of our cute apt. please keep us in your thoughts as we adjust! really, we’’re doing fine. just a bit shellshocked at the moment. i’’ve got a couple of interviews lined up this week and am hopeful i’’ll find a good fit. and i miss my friends in portland.

here’s a view from our living room into our bedroom. i love the pocket doors that divide the rooms. and you can see our bay window in the background.

i made that bedspread/duvet cover out of a table cloth from anthropologie. i’m pretty sure it’s my favorite bedspread ever. laini has this very exact table cloth!
view into the studio. the bookshelf john made works perfectly.
another view looking from our living room into our bedroom.
you can see the french doors leading to the studio on the right. tons of light in this place. alexandra, notice the rug. it’s perfect. thank you!
living room with kitchen off the left. notice our Oregonian rusty mailbox on the right. we’re oregonians at heart.
i think we’ll be hanging out in these chairs quite a bit. we’re up on the 3rd floor, giving us great views to the park across the street where there are nightly soccer games. and of course, we’ve got our succulants.
this is the backside of the kitchen. that door leads to the roof of the building. it’s pretty cool up there and we can get good cell phone signals up there (not so in our apt).

Sending much love,

Show/Hide Comments (20 comments)
  1. Anonymous

    I love the color of your bedroom curtains! Did you make those yourself…?

  2. Lisa

    Oh My Goodness!! How cute Kelly! Your apartment is sooo beautiful and I just love the way you guys decorated it! You have such a distictive and graceful-flowing style, I LOVE IT!!!! Congrats on the Etsey web site too! I love you and I miss you up here in Portland! I can’t wait to visit!

  3. liz elayne

    this place just looks perfect my dear. you have made it a home so quickly…i love it.
    i am glad you have this safe place in the midst of all your changes. my dear friend, i know that this grand adventure will be just that…even if you have those moments where you pause and miss where you have been.
    peace and light to you on your journey,

  4. Liz S

    Your place is ridiculously cute!!! I can’t wait to see it. So bright and cheery. I love all the colors. Makes me want to have a place that I’ll be in more than 3 months.

  5. Anonymous


    I stole a minute between nursings to check your blog. I L-O-V-E your apartment. It is even cuter than the last one which I thought was impossible to top. You should be a interior designer too- send these pics to House Beautiful.

    Love, Kimmie

  6. Cate

    I have lived in my house for seven (or is eight?) years, and it doesn’t look anywhere NEAR as gorgeous as your place! So bright and beautiful! You have the touch, girl! Congrats. on your move–here’s to discovering a wonderful new world!

  7. melanie

    I love your apartment… and wow, you look so settled already! Love those pocket doors and your bedspread!!

  8. Dana

    Wow! That is some totally serious cuteness in your apartment. I love your statement about the weather being incredible ~ besides the heat wave. That one made me laugh. The knife fight in the street did not make me laugh, though. Scary.

  9. Kristin

    Hello My Dearest Sweetest Sister,

    Like the fellow bloggers, I too LOVE your new home. It is so bright and welcoming! LOVE it! And the paint colors ya’ll chose are awesome! I’m also glad that Bella even found her own little piece of paradise there. I’m mostly stoked by the fact that you are now close enough for us to be able to visit while we go on our annual trips for Scott’s Family visit. We are planning to come out in Nov. for his 10 yr reunion and then again sometime next year (hopefully) for a 2 week houseboat vacation. Which will be great because then Chloe will be with us and She can meet her canine cousin!

    When does John start school? Good luck with your interviews but I know you wont need it! I’m glad ya’ll made it safe and I can totally relate to the garganchuawn Target carts, ours are the same here in NY! I think it’s their way to get you to spend more money!

    Anyways, I miss ya lots and love ya more! Take care and talk to you soon. <3 Kris

  10. Teresa

    You are a fantastically, awesome decorator! I really enjoyed looking at your pictures and probably will look at them 50 times more. I adore every ounce of how you decorated–simply wonderful! I am glad you are settling in so nicely–you are an inspiration indeed–moving and starting fresh somewhere new. How exciting!


  11. Whatsername

    Your apartment is beautiful! How do you do it? Kelly, I know you are going places with your art. I have been having dreams and they are good! And I am keeping you both in my thoughts, I know this is a BIG change.

  12. M

    Congratulations! You two are so lucky to have such a wonderful place. I love the colour of the curtains!! And well done for making the move. I can’t wait to see what your new studio helps you create!!
    Enjoy your new home and remember – you’re home with each other, no matter where you are.

  13. melba

    Your apartment is so Cute!
    I hope you have many joyful, peaceful, and beautiful moments there.

  14. Sarah e.Smith

    WOW your apartment rock! I love your sense of style…and I am envious that you live so close to an IKEA (i could spend my life savings there!!!). It sounds like you are having an fun and interesting time getting to know your new city…with the exception of teh knife fighters and prostitues! YIKES! Hope all is well…i look forward to hearing more of your adventures!

  15. Julie H

    Wow Kelly, your apartment is gorgeous – what a talent you have. And congratulations on making a home so quickly. I wonder if the noise level wil drop a little as summer draws to a close for you? Big hugs to you, I moved many times before settling in my home and always found it disturbing.

    I look forward to seeing more of your art -when the time is right to create on canvas – as opposed to in entire rooms.

  16. kerry

    your new place is absolutely adorable! i found myself so jealous while looking at your pictures… and really excited to daydream about someday finally having a place of my own. best wishes as you adjust! i hope the space is everything you need it to be.

  17. britt

    wow. your apt. is gorgeous! i am amazed you got it together so quick. no wonder you’re aching. the paint choices are fabulous, and all the colors are great! i have the same anthropologie rug – isn’t it darling?

  18. Clare Jane

    LOVE the apartment Kelly! I so envy your ability to decorate. I can’t believe you have furniture that actually matches. I still feel like a college student in our apartment. I’m so glad you guys are settling in. It sounds like a big adjustment and you’ll get the hang of things, but give yourselves plenty of time to adjust. I am still getting used to the changes of living in NYC after all that time in Seattle and it’s been 9 months!

  19. Laini Taylor

    Kelly, your apartment is soooo cute! And nice bedspread! Really, everything is just so cozy and colorful and wonderful. That bay window is divine — I can just imagine the view from it. And all the things you said about Oakland, so true. It’s been nice coming in the other direction, it’s easy to forget all the sounds and traffic and the slight scariness of it (and major scariness of some parts). Funny that people are scared of Bella — we found that, too. I think a lot of low-income people in Oakland are accustomed to ferocious guard dogs. They’re not cuddly with dogs. Poor dogs. And isn’t it weird in Oakland how the rich and poor are so close together? Here’s a walk to take: cross Lakeshore at Mandana (heading south) and right away you’ll be in a nice neighborhood going up into the hills. I used to walk my old dog up there among the amazing houses. I don’t recall what it was called but somewhere up there is a school and a cool little forest trail going uphill to a pretty park. That might be Piedmont; I’m not sure. I’m glad you guys are settling in but we miss you and wish you were here! Have a great rest of the summer. Yes, usually the weather is great — and isn’t the site of the fog breaking of the Golden Gate bridge amazing? There’s a great Indian summer in the Bay Area too. I keep rambling, but have you been to Mt Tamalpais yet in Marin, and the coast over there? You probably did on your long camping trip before, I guess. Anyway, hi to John and fierce Bella! And Oakland!

  20. Alexandra S

    I am completely over the top in LOVE with your new place! unbelievable! My mouth hung wide open as I looked through the photos (& then a fly flew in. I don’t know where it went either.) I’m glad you are happily settling in, changes and all. I wonder sometimes if Portland will end up like the Bay Area and LA with throngs of people everywhere you go. I had forgotten about that! In any event, congratulations! I love everything about how you have decorated, even the wall colors I love. Post more photos!


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I’m Kelly Rae Roberts

Before I picked up my first paintbrush at the age of 30, I was a medical social worker. I followed my creative whispers, and today I’m an artist & Possibilitarian. I’m passionate about creating meaningful art and experiences that awaken and inspire our spirits.

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