Melissa Pate, son Hudson, age 2, and Pookie answer the door at their home in the Redfield subdivision in Dunwoody. Pate grew up in the neighborhood and moved back to raise her own kids there.
Melissa Pate, son Hudson, age 2, and Pookie answer the door at their home in the Redfield subdivision in Dunwoody. Pate grew up in the neighborhood and moved back to raise her own kids there.

Melissa Pate admits her return to Redfield struck her as odd at first.

She’d grown up in the north Dunwoody neighborhood. She was 6 when she moved in with her parents, and still remembers when she could pick blackberries for pies from parts of the subdivision now filled with two-story brick homes surrounded by manicured lawns bright with azaleas and flowering trees.

Pate has seen other parts of the world. She lived in Los Angeles for a while, she said, and went to school in Florida. “I’ve been around,” she said.

Then, last year, when she and her husband and their two kids were looking for a place to live, she decided to move back to Redfield. It felt like a good place to raise children.

“It felt weird coming back,” she said. “It was strange because it just felt like I hadn’t moved on. But I’m glad we moved here. It’s got a good community feel.”

Long-time residents say much the same thing. They describe Redfield as the kind of neighborhood where kids join the swim team at the Redfield Swim & Tennis Club and their parents join tennis teams. It’s the kind of suburban community that holds competitions for Christmas decorations, Easter egg hunts, Halloween parties and the occasional pool party.

“It’s a very friendly neighborhood,” said Bob Pile, a lawyer who’s lived in Redfield for nine years. “It’s as social as you want it to be. We have these progressive dinners. There’s a lot of kids.”

Jan Phillips at his home in the Redfield community in Dunwoody. He won the neighborhood association’s Yard of the Month award.

Felix Prinzo, who lives catty-corner across Redfield Lane from Pate, says he was among the first settlers of the subdivision that now straddles Chamblee-Dunwoody Road. His family moved into Redfield in 1978. Asked how long he’s lived there, Prinzo had to stop a moment and do the math. 35 years. When his family moved in, there were only a few houses on a couple of streets, he said.

Now 11 winding streets bear names starting with “Red” that identify them as part of the Redfield community. Redfield Road intersects with Redfield Ridge and Redfield Drive. Redstone Lane leads to Redbark Way and Redstone Terrace. Just about every street ends in a cul-de-sac.

Prinzo was a corporate transfer, coming to metro Atlanta with job at U.S. Steel. When they were looking for a new home, they liked what they saw in Redfield. “We saw a lot of kids getting off the school bus,” he said. “We had kids and it looked like a good neighborhood.”

Turned out, he was right, he said. “It’s been a great neighborhood,” he said. “Still is.”

Jan Phillips feels much the same. He lives on the portion of Redfield Road across Chamblee-Dunwoody, the part known as Redfield Three. He’s lived in his Tudor-style home since 1983. His carefully-tended front yard bears a big sign proclaiming it the Redfield Garden Club’s Yard of the Month.

The Redfield subdivision straddles Chamblee-Dunwoody Road in Dunwoody and takes in a dozen streets, according to a map shown on the Redfield Swim & Tennis club’s website. The neighborhood contains 11 winding streets starting with “Red” and Coronation Drive, according to the map.

He likes the mix of people in Redfield, he said. He’s retired from IBM — “When we moved here, there were a lot of IBMers here,” he said — and his grown children have moved away. But there are still plenty of young couples with children all around him. “The neighbors are mindful, respectful and care for each other,” he said. “Our neighbors are not just neighbors, they’re friends.”

They look out for each other, he said. “Two words come to mind: considerate and respectful,” Phillips said. “They’re always checking on you.”

And they take care of their community, too, he said. “Another nice thing about Redfield is people have maintained their homes, made updates to both their homes and their yards,” he said. “People have invested in the community so you have a pretty consistent, vibrant area to live… You’re either growing or dying. This neighborhood is still growing.”

Pile plays bass in a rock band jokingly named the Bad Neighbors. Four of the five members of the band live in Redfield, he said, and they’ve played for parties down by the community pool.

Asked to describe his neighborhood, he told a story about the time his water line broke and his family had no water to their house. His next door neighbor volunteered to help. He had a coupler and rigged a water line from his house to Pile’s house. When he opened the tap, the Piles had water to get through the night until a repairman could come.

“That’s just the kind of neighborhood it is,” he said. “People look out for each other.”

Joe Earle

Joe Earle is Editor-at-Large. He has more than 30-years of experience with daily newspapers, including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.