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Adamson House

Adamson House
Malibu, California

I’m sure I’m not the only person who has driven by the Malibu Lagoon area and saw a fancy tiled sign for the Adamson House in front of a walled waterfront property and wondered what might lay within. You can only gain access into the house over the weekend via special guided tours, but the grounds of this amazing beachfront oasis are open to the public almost every day. Colorful ceramic tiles entice from the walls outside and then can be seen in every aspect of this beautiful home from fountains, to the walls and window frames, planters, and even down to the elaborate patio floors. The house itself looks lovely from the outside but it is the detailed ceramic tile accents and the stunning location on the shores of Malibu that really make this a magical hidden spot.

The site of the home sits alongside the Malibu Lagoon on land that once was the site of an early Native American tribe. Built in 1930 for the daughter of a wealthy ranch owner on land that was originally part of a Spanish land grant encompassing what is now Malibu, Adamson was intended to be the ultimate beach house. The Spanish Colonial Style home sits on a picturesque property that at one point was the most valuable single real estate holding in the United States.

The amazing decorative ceramic tiles throughout the property were created with local clay at the nearby Malibu Potteries, a now defunct ceramic factory owned by the same family. The use of the tiles on the facade of the house, surrounding every window and doorway give the place a distinctly Mediterranean feel. The back porch showcases the tiles to spectacular effect from the large tiles alternating across the floor, to the walls around the doors and windows, and culminating in the grand Peacock Fountain overlooking the lawn and the ocean beyond.

The grounds around the house are equally impressive with large swaths of bright green grass cut with winding paths exploring the property. There is an impressive collection of rose bushes along the driveway slightly weighed down by the gargantuan blooms. You could wander down stone stairs edged with pleasing flowers and enjoy views of the ocean from well placed benches, or view the adjacent Malibu Lagoon from the Boathouse. One of my favorite details was the mural painted on the back of the Visitor Center that perfectly recreates the view as if the building wasn’t even there. It was touches like this that showed real respect and admiration for the beautiful location where the house was built.

Final Rating: I was a little worried I was missing out, not being able to tour the inside of Adamson House which is surely amazing to see. But once you walk through the walls surrounding the property the whole scene is enough to take your breath away. The tile work alone is spectacular and worth the visit alone, but the beachfront location, gorgeous grounds, and attention to detail all combine for a spectacular sensory experience.   FOUR BLOOM RATING

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