LA Fridays with Bob and Tom: Adamson House, Malibu

 LA Fridays with Bob and Tom

Week 4:  Adamson House, Malibu

The Adamson House in Malibu, the “Taj Mahal of Tile” is a feast for sore eyes.  On the National Register of Historic Places and designated as a California Historical Landmark, this beautiful Spanish Colonial Revival house sits on the beach and offers great views of the Malibu coastline. The two-story, ten-room Adamson House was designed by Stiles O. Clements, and completed in 1930.  The house is an outstanding example of modified Mediterranean Revival and Moorish architecture.


We took a docent led tour which is a must to get all the inside scoop on the fascinating history of the Adamson family.  In 1926, May K. Rindge (Rhonda Rindge Adamson’s mother) established a tile-works east of the Malibu pier, which operated for six years until 1932. The factory, named Malibu Potteries, was run by Rufus Keeler, a ceramic engineer, who worked with local artisans to design highly decorative art tile which became known as Malibu Tile.  Much of this tile found its way into the Adamson House which was professed to be the “Taj Mahal of Tile”. 


Specific hand crafted art tile was designed for each room.  We marveled at the breathtaking tile everywhere, from the ceramic wall clock above the tile-topped oak table in the kitchen to the floor-to-ceiling tiled bathrooms. There is a 60-foot imitation Persian carpet made of tile (photo shown above), including small pieces designed to look like rug fringes.


On the exterior of the house, there are three colorfully tiled fountains -- the Neptune Fountain, the Peacock Fountain and the Star Fountain, as well as an elaborately tiled outdoor tub used by the Adamsons to bathe their dogs.  The bathrooms and swimming pool are both clad with Malibu tile, and the dressing rooms have tiled showers with decorative motifs.


One fascinating tidbit shared by the docent was during WWII, the bathroom was used by the United States Coast Guard as a local headquarters to watch over the Malibu coast.


The property is surrounded by gorgeous landscaped grounds where you can stroll and enjoy the magnificent view of the ocean.  Parking is available at a nearby public lot.