The Adamson House is a popular attraction along the southern coast of California. The Spanish Colonial Revival home has been called the “Taj Mahal of Tile” which helps describe its impressive display of ceramic tile and helps satisfy our innate urge to be creative with language. The house is located within the city of Malibu, which is sometimes called Bu’, which also helps satify our innate urge to be creative with language.
The Adamson House was build in the early 30’s when the tile business was booming in Malibu. Malibu Potteries were the major tile supplier, and they were owned by May Knight Ridge, the mother of Rhoda Rindge Adamson. It shouldn’t surprise you that they were happy to supply the 1930’s home with their “tile and tile accessories”.
The tile is showcased on the exterior by the a tile tub that the Adamsons used to wash their dogs. There is also a Peacock Fountain and Star Fountain. The Peacock Fountain is interesting because they purposefully placed one of the pieces incorrectly, since only god is allowed to be imperfect. (My experience tells me that they didn’t need to go through the trouble. There would invariably be a flaw even if they put the piece in correctly).
Tile is everpresent in the interior, as it lines walls, ceilings, and floors of many of the rooms. There are a number of everyday household items that have been “tiled” as well, including a clock and an entry table. The most popular “piece” is a 60 foot replica of a Persian rug lining the hallway. (There were no pictures allowed in the interior, as you can NOT see).
My wife and I have now visited a number of old homes touring around the L.A. area. One of the most impressive things about the Adamson House is that it essentially contains all the original furnishings. They even still have an old dishwasher that turned the dishes around in the water (instead of turning the water around in the dishes). (It was clearly a flawed design). The house is still furnished with the radio that informed the Adamsons about the attack on Pearl Harbor. Incidentally, our tour guide Glen told us that the government wanted to station some troops in the house following the attack. They ended up compromising by providing a place for them to stay nearby. Later, it turned out that the state
basically took bought the house from the Adamson’s in their efforts to share and preserve it. We thought it was a little odd that they forced them out of the house, especially since some of their clothes were still in the closet!
The house provides a peaceful overlook of the ocean and impressive views of Surfrider Beach and the Malibu Lagoon and Bird Sanctuary. You can pay to park near the entrance to the house, or you can test your luck with the free parking along PCH. As usual, it is a good idea to bring a picnic. You can find some picnic tables by the beach.
If you visit you should also be aware that they sometimes host weddings. That means that if you arrive early (e.g. before 1 p.m or so) you will be less likely to run into individuals preparing for a wedding.