Our friends Colin and Sarah Cabalka have been quite busy the past several years: launching a full service creative agency, a photography business, and, just last year, their most ambitious project yet: a family! We caught up with the creative duo (trio?) in their Portland, Oregon home to talk creativity, kids, and coffee.
How did you meet?
Sarah: Colin was up here from LA visiting a mutual friend of ours! He moved up three months after us meeting, haha. He said he’d move up for a few months and it’s been six years! It’s really been the best six years!
Both you and Sarah work in creative fields, telling stories. What were the paths that led each of you to your professions?
Sarah: Colin was a huge part in that! He had all this amazing camera equipment, and so I got to learn from him on his own cameras. He’s an amazing teacher.
Traveling to do creative work for hospitality companies and staying in fancy places sounds amazing. What’s the hard part that no one on Instagram thinks about?
Colin: Oh it totally is awesome and a huge honor to work with amazing people all over the world - but there’s definitely a cost to it. Missing the comforts of home: our close friends, a normal schedule, and our daily routine, I miss the good food in Portland and coffee, too!
What does a typical day on the road look like?
Sarah: We’re honestly kind of slow at traveling! A four hour drive will take us six. We’re usually not in a hurry unless it’s to make a flight. We have a plan, but hold it loosely. We don’t try to cram a bunch of stuff into our day. If we do a handful of things each day—and felt like we really got to experience them—then we’re happy.
How about a typical day at home?
Sarah: I take care of our 8-month old daughter at home, so our days are pretty simple. Since it’s summer, we try to spend time outside as much as we can. She’s also still pretty easy to take around, so I kind of just do what I need to do and she tags along!
Speaking of home, it’s amazing. Tell us about it (and the coffee table, and the vintage map above your couch etc.) Any favorite pieces/collected items/etc?
Colin: We collaborated with some amazing brands on our home, and feel so privileged to display their craftsmanship and design in our spaces! To name our top three: Harkavy Furniture, Schoolhouse Electric, and Perch Furniture.
Sarah: The map is pretty cool! I also love our rug. It was handmade in Arizona from when we got engaged. So every time I see it, I think of that.
Why did you choose Ratio?
Sarah: It’s so beautiful! It’s so nice to be able to press a button. Have you tried to make a pour over while holding a wiggly baby? It’s hard!
Colin: I’ve always had a thing against convenience if it causes quality and design to suffer, because it felt like the convenience came at an unwanted cost. Ratio came along and upped standards for design, making a product that both allowed for convenience as well as a good coffee experience.
Not to mention—I’m laying here in bed, listening to the Ratio brew coffee—and that classic coffee brewing sound...(gurgle gurgle gurgle)...it just makes me smile.
What’s your preferred brew?
Colin: We make a 50 gram carafe every morning. Water halfway just below the halfway point between the semicircle and the moon. We brew into the thermal carafe to keep it hot, and drink it slow all morning. Usually we end up with extra coffee and throw that in a container in the fridge and drink it cold later! Grounds go in the garden or composite. No waste!
Sarah: For me, it’s less about the preferred brew and more about the ritual of waking up and drinking coffee. We always drink it together at home to start our day.
What’s next for your family? (Personally, professionally) Be it upcoming projects/moves/vacations, or even long term dreams!
Colin: Long term I think we want to live close to the earth; maybe have some land, embrace a simpler lifestyle, and teach our children how to use their hands and hearts to make the world a better place. That sounds cliché, but it really is important to us.
Right now, I’m looking at my dream job: my daughter! Raising her with Sarah has been the most delightful, adventurous, and meaningful thing I’ve done in my life yet. I’m working to find a way to stay home more. My dad was a stay at home dad, and he left a huge imprint on me that gives me the same desire to be with my kids like he was for me.
Sarah: Oh, gosh. Colin said it perfectly. We just want to spend time together. We honestly have so much fun!