Here is the scoop: If you drive around Oakland you may stumble upon and admire murals and mosaics on schools and buildings. Public art is part of Oakland’s culture and is what makes us unique. Several of those public displays were done by Pam Consear. A longtime Oakland resident who, after serving in the Peace Corps and teaching in local classrooms, jumped into her passion — creating and teaching art. Her home in Redwood Heights has been a hub for the community: Many paint parties and mosaic master classes were held in her oversized garage and workshop. Her home is a bohemian mix of classic 1930s Spanish Mediterranean and artsy touches. The exterior entry greets you with a custom mosaic-studded arch, and several other displays of whimsy and texture were added to make 3636 Monterey truly one of a kind. There are no words that can articulate what this home has meant to Pam and her girls, but it is her hope that this old beauty will inspire the next owner, as it has emboldened her.
Welcome to Dorothy’s House!
Who’s Dorothy? She was our funny, feisty, fiercely independent predecessor... whom we never met. But we heard plenty of stories from Jeannie across the street, and Joseph next door, and we got to know and admire her through the contents of her house. It’s a long story, but all of her furniture and housewares were included in the deal when we moved in, in late 2005. Her spirit infused the place, from the ’70’s decor we inherited, to the calendar photos on the walls, to the labels on the hardware caddy you’ll see above the workbench in the garage.
I was going through a divorce at that time, and Dorothy’s house provided the softest possible landing place for me. I was so happy to be here that for the first year or two I’d greet the place aloud each time I got home: “Hello, sweet house!” It became a character in this new chapter of my life.
Just as Dorothy made her mark during her 30-year tenure in the house, so my daughters and I set about making ours. Besides switching out the furniture, we had fun painting the walls in bright colors, and tie-dying curtains and bed linens. We added some flourishes—the mosaic work in the archways and house number, the maps collaged on the bathroom walls, and the kitchen knob collection—that remain today.
The living spaces fit our family just right (and was great for annual New Year’s Eve parties and holiday craft sales), but my favorite spot was the garage, which I turned into an art studio. Puttering around, listening to the A’s game on the radio, with the big garage door wide open to the neighborhood—that was my Happy Place. :)
That space hosted many an art camp. Kids used Dorothy’s tools and her vast hardware collection to make found object sculptures. The driveway witnessed countless tie-dye experiments. (You can still see the traces of color.) Groups of friends gathered for Girls’ Night Out art parties with wine and craft-making. I taught painting classes and mosaic workshops there. It was a staging and storage area for my public mural projects, and the neighbors got used to hearing the “tink, tink, tink” of my tack hammer when I sat down to break mosaic tiles, box after box. Curious passers-by often became students, clients, and friends.
Four years ago my new partner moved in, and we carved out an exercise and fly tying spot for him down in the garage-studio. We also started taking walks to the casting pond over on Carson Street, and hikes on the Dunn and Bayview trails up the hill in Roberts Park and Joaquin Miller Park.
Over the years, my girls and I used the heck out of the Redwood Heights Rec Center. They attended the after school program, took ballet and karate classes there, and I eventually became “Sensei Pam,” a fixture in the karate program, Redwood Dojo. And a bit farther up the hill, Jessie’s hiphop class at Oakland Hills Tennis Club was a highlight of my week!
Now that my kids have both fledged, Mark and I are moving back to Portland where we both grew up. It’s time for us to find a new place to call home, and start our new chapter.
Living in this house has been a great gift. There’s such good mojo here, and so much Oakland love! Although it’s hard to leave, I’m excited to pass the creative sprit of this place on to its new family. What will YOUR new chapter bring, I wonder?
Popular with young families and stable, long-term property owners, Oakland's scenic neighborhood of Redwood Heights brings together the best aspects of a suburban bedroom community with the convenience and variety of a major metropolitan area.
Redwood Heights emanates a strong sense of community and family. Many families move in and stay for generations, lending to little neighborhood traditions like popping into Hunan Yuan for an occasional dinner, purchasing hand-crafted gifts from Pot-Pourri and taking in Lincoln Square, which has remained relatively unchanged for the past 25 years. Another anchor is the Redwood Heights Elementary School, a top-performing school that has been educating the area's youth since 1949.
Redwood Heights real estate consists of small but stylish 2-3 bedroom residences distinguished by their diverse architectural appeal. While the styles vary from contemporary to classic, the one feature many of the homes share is stunning day and nighttime views of the sparkling San Francisco Bay.
The community loves the Redwood Heights Recreation Center because it offers a great range of programs for tots, teens, and kids in-between, including gymnastics, guitar, karate, ballet, beading and cake decorating. Classes for adults include aerobics, ballet stretch, Tai Chi, yoga, karate, folk dance, and music. Avenue Terrace (AKA Jordan) Park is another popular recreation spot that offers swings, basketball hoops and a play structure.
Bordered by Highway 13 and Interstate 580, just above Mills College and the Laurel District, home to Holy Names University, Redwood Heights is central to the best of the Bay Area.
Sunday April 30th and May 7th 2 -4 pm
Monday May 1st from 10:30am -1pm
Additional Showings by Appointment:
Contact Deidre Joyner