Let's Dive In

Hello! Long story short: We moved to LA for a couple years, now we’re back in Oakland, thank god.

We’ve had wonderful luck with our CA rentals over the last 7 years. The last house we were in in Atwater Village was cute as could be. Everything about it was like a design fairy read my mind and made it happen which made it kind of…boring. There was nothing to do, nothing to improve there. See what I mean?

Well, okay, I  did  style the front porch.

Well, okay, I did style the front porch.

So when we decided to move back to Oakland, thank god, I knew I wanted to find a space I would be allowed to at the very least paint. 7 years without paint for a designer is Rough. I started looking at listings in February even though we couldn’t realistically move until the end of July (can you tell how desperate I was to get out of LA?) just to get a sense of what was available where and for how much. Let me give you a sense of that and you try not to choke. The 2 bed/2bath 1 parking spot near the lake and around the corner from Whole Foods and walking distance to 19th St. BART Adams Point apartment was $2150 when we got it in 2012, which felt astronomical coming from a MORTGAGE of $1150 in Western MA. Well, now we could rent it for $3550 plus $100 for the parking spot. GULP. (And really we couldn’t rent it, it was rented, but you get the idea.)

So I did a lot of what my step-brother-in-law called Range-Finding, which I love, and came across some lofts, this being Oakland and all. Several sections of the city are neighborhoods of old humungous warehouses, many of which have been converted into live/work lofts. At this point I was spending 2-3 hours a day looking at listings and it had become clear to me that if we wanted to live near Lake Merritt again we’d have to cram into a tiny 1 bed without parking so I expanded my search, opened my mind, and came upon a listing that stopped my heart. I’m not kidding. My heart stopped. Luckily I lived, and there was an upcoming open house, and we were going to be in Oakland anyway, and we went and saw it and what we saw was this:

Here is my husband, sweetly and gamely going along with me as I fall in love with a building.

Here is my husband, sweetly and gamely going along with me as I fall in love with a building.

We took the tour which included over 2K sq ft, 6 skylights, and 4 staircases (only two levels) and at the end I realized there was a door I hadn’t been through so I asked about it and the building manager said, “Oh right, that’s the old vault. This used to be a furniture factory and that’s where they had their vault.” This is the point in the tour when I started shaking. I also started giggling and cooing and I’m pretty sure Matthew knew his fate was sealed at that moment. I knew mine was.

We signed the lease after some weeks of stomach-turning anxiety-provoking waiting for employment papers to come through and I immediately started driving up to Oakland by myself for several days at a time to get a jump on painting and cleaning. I logged 52 hours of driving on Route 5 by myself in the span of a couple weeks and I will not be sorry if I never ever see that highway again. But all in the name of love, right? I love this loft like it were human, which is how a good space should make you feel (I think. You might think that’s weird. I think you’re weird if you do.).

I’ll be blogging on the regs now to fill you in on all the good loft action I’m making over here. As always, if you want more up to the minute action my Insta and especially my Stories in Insta are a good source for that. xoS

Design, Loft, OaklandSarah ReidMoving, loft