The Murals of Rocky Rische-Baird

Have you driven or walked by the corners of 11th and Broadway and 41st and Piedmont in Oakland and remarked about the murals that depict the Key System Stations that operated streetcars and bus lines throughout the East Bay (and a commuter rail and ferry to San Francisco) from 1903 until 1948 and wondered who this talented artist is in our midst? His name is Rocky Rische-Baird and this native of Northern California who splits his time between the Bay Area and the village of Putney, Vermont. Rische-Baird self describes his art as representative of the unity between nature, self and the idea that the human mind retains past memories.  However it is interpreted, his art has an other-worldly quality that is mesmerizing and  gives us a peek into Oakland’s unique history.  Love them!

Broadway Mural
Broadway Mural
mural on 41st
mural on 41st

Redwood Heights, Worth a Second Look!

Students, parents, neighbors and artists pitch in to create this gorgeous mosaic at Redwood Heights Elementary School.

Wow, this week my son Miles is graduating from Redwood Heights Elementary School! Ten years ago, when my husband and I purchased our home in this neighborhood, I was so excited that my children would be attending my former school. I have been a Redwood Heights parent for the last nine years, kindergarten - 5th grade for both my daughter, Nia and son, Miles. I love my neighborhood, very down to earth, yet full of life.  Recently Redwood Heights home prices took a slight dip in price, making this a great time to consider a move to this neighborhood.

This charming neighborhood, with a neighborhood association established in 1944, is the perfect place to purchase a home. From storybook Tudors to mid-century ranch homes and prices currently ranging between $550,000 - $750,000, this neighborhood is full of value. Redwood Heights residences like myself appreciate this satisfying community with Redwood Heights Elementary School and Recreation Center at the heart. I really enjoy the social nature of the neighborhood -  it is common that folks wave to me as I am driving or walking during my daily chores.

Above you will see the newest addition to Redwood Heights Elementary, our retaining walls are now studded with a handcrafted mosaic mural the vision of neighbors and artists, Claudia Goodman - Hough and Pam Consear.

This summer enjoy the outdoors as the recreation center with “Movies in the Park” at dusk on select Fridays.  Grab a sweater and a lawn chair and head over to 3883 Aliso Ave.

June 25 - The Wizard of Oz

July 9 - The Princess Bride

July 24 - Bolt

Redwood Heights Oaktown Scavenger Hunt Winners 2010

Residents participate in an annual Oaktown Scavenger Hunt put on by parents of Redwood Heights Elementary, just one of many community events hosted by Redwood Heights Elementary School parents.


Visit Oakland’s Own Great Wall

Every first Friday of the month, with the next screening on June 4th, the Great Wall of Oakland presents a curated screening of video art and films from artists in Europe, Canada and the United States. A series of 100-foot by 100-foot moving images are projected onto the back wall of 2201 Broadway.  The Wall faces West Grand Avenue between Broadway and Valley Street, next door to Luka’s Taproom and Lounge in Oakland’s Uptown district.  Don’t miss this dramatic cutting edge motion art!  Click here for more information. GWall

A Home For A Lifetime

I love this photo, taken by Scott Hargis.  This captures, the stunning setting surrounding this amazing home.

Richard was raised in Nebraska and Madeline grew up in Massachusetts. As fate would have it Richard and Madeline met on a blind date in Egypt. Madeline worked for the State Department and Richard for the Caterpillar Tractor Co. They fell in love, moved to Beirut, Lebanon and started their family. The Minards, now a family of 5 were ready to move back to the US and raise Steve, Kathy and John. Out of all of the places on this continent, they chose a premium lot in El Cerrito, California. With no family in the area, they moved to 1764 Julian Court in 1962, planted roots and had a wonderful life.

Richard worked as an engineer for a non-profit and Madeline was in the PTA, was a Brownie troop leader and loved to golf at the nearby Mira Vista Country Club. The Minards 1/2 acre lot produced gorgeous blooms and supreme vegetables, that the family happily shared with all of the Julian Court neighbors. Madeline used the harvest from their garden to cook her favorites: Tabbouleh, Tomato Chicken Curry and almost anything from her beloved Julia Child cookbook. Steve, Kathy and John loved roaming the back yard, digging forts, finding lizards and tunneling through the tall soft grass right before it was cut.

The Minards could have lived anywhere in the world, but they chose this fine piece of land high on an El Cerrito hill.

It All Happens in Oakland!

Save the date!  On April 29 The Oakland Zoo will host a screening of the movie “Return to the Wild, a Modern Tale of Wolf and Man.”  The reception begins at 6:30 in the Marian Zimmer Auditorium at the Oakland Zoo with the screening beginning at 7pm.  The film is appropriate for children 12 and older and the cost is a sliding scale of $10-$20.  Get the details at Pack a lawn chair, dress warm and head on up to Redwood Heights Recreation Center this Friday, April 30 to see the Pixar movie “Up.”  Snacks are available from 6:30 to 8:30 for $4.00 with all proceeds going to the scholarship fund for summer day camp and after school Rockets.  The movie begins at dusk, approx. 8pm.  Call 510.482.7827 for a list of all the Friday night movies through July.

Oakland Museum of California is newly remodeled!  Saturday, May 1, celebrate the transformed museum with 31 hours of continuous free programs and events.  Festivities begin at 11am with a Native American Ohlone blessing, and of course the continued discovery of the story of California.  For more info visit

"The Promise" by Lorrie Fink

Stop by L’Amyx Tea Bar, 3437 Lakeshore Avenue, Oakland, on May 7 from 5-7 pm and enjoy a complimentary beverage and reception launching a solo exhibition of the recent paintings of Lorrie Fink, oils inspired by the organic forms found in nature and the cycles of life.  This Washington D.C. raised artist has been the Bay Area since 1974, with her first solo exhibit at EBMUD Gallery in 2008.

For images or further information about this exhibit, please contact: Lorrie Fink, (510) 326-1990; e-mail:, web site:

Rockridge Affordable? Yep!

Last week I voted 401 Avon my favorite house from Broker's Tour.  With a much smaller house in Temescal selling for over $700,000, this house is priced right.  401 Avon is a huge 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom at 1694 square feet, (according to the MLS) has great upgrades and light.  Henry Mather Green and Charles Sumner Greene were influential of the craftsman era. (Mather and Green combined arts and crafts with inspiration from China and Japan.)  Giving a nod to its Japanese influence, the seller of this property added shoji screens. This property is listed with Leonard Carrillo of Red Oak Realty.

401 Avon
401 Avon

The Joy of Entertaining...

Over the past two months, I have been preparing this beautiful cottage for the marketplace. I think this is the perfect place to have the ultimate dinner party.  Every house has a story to tell and the cottage at 3915 Laguna lets the imagination take flight. For me, the discovery of the history of a home is a labor of love and is as important as the home itself. Christina and Richard transformed their Dimond Cottage into a masterpiece and it is an honor to represent them in the sale of their first home. Each home I market has a story to tell. Please call me when you are ready to tell the story of your house. Click here to view the Laguna Cottage.

3915 Laguna
3915 Laguna

Reinvent your room

Matthew Kowalski is showcasing his art at my office. Red Oak Realty, 2099 Pleasant Valley Avenue in Oakland.  I love the bright colors!

Add a splash of color to your beige room.

Matthew Kowalski: Artist Statement

 “I create my Radical Relief art using found objects as a printing medium. Finding the objects I use is random and up to fate. I am driven by curiosity in my search for and discovery of these tools, society's discards. I get a great sense of satisfaction knowing that I am turning someone’s garbage into gold and making my small contribution to stopping the waste running amok in our world. It makes me feel good knowing that everything we need is here, all around us; we don’t need to make more."