We recently visited the historic Adamson House, home of the family that at one time owned the town of Malibu (plus a bit of the nearby Santa Monica Mountains). I don’t need to be convinced to head up that way, it’s so invigorating just to spend time between the low, mist-watered hills and the cool sea.

We’ve always meant to check out the “Taj Mahal of Tile“, and its Spanish Colonial Revival/Moorish Revival style. There is so much tile, though, I was overwhelmed before our tour even began. It’s beautiful, done in a range of techniques and produced by nearby family-owned Malibu Potteries. There’s so much of it, though, it was hard for me—pattern junkie—to take it in.

I coped by turning my attention to the very big picture. That is, the expansive architecture and beautiful setting. I found it also helped to focus on the very small picture, such as this beautiful, rusted latch on an old chest

Adamson House, Malibu - Photo by Penina S. Finger

and the smart corner tiles that bind together the border pattern on this fountain.

Adamson House, Malibu - photo by Penina S. Finger

In fact, I came home with just two photos of the tiled walls, but an abundant collection of lovely little details.

Adamson House, Malibu - photo by Penina S. Finger

Adamson House, Malibu - photo by Penina S. Finger

The tour of the house, built in 1930, was fascinating. All three of the teen boys who came along with us were just as enthralled as the adults. I love seeing old kitchens, and this one, with one of the earliest “automatic dishwashers” (gutted and used as a basin after it destroyed all the dishes at the first try), did not disappoint.

Photography isn’t allowed inside the house. To see the restored interior (details!), visit the Adamson House website and if possible, the place.

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