Homer's Travels: Adamson House

Friday, August 03, 2007

Adamson House

We have a busy few days this weekend. We started with a visit to the Adamson House in Malibu. We had driven by the house several times before we finally looked it up to see what it was. The house was owned by a wealthy family who owned all the Malibu coastal land back in the 1890s through the 1930s. The Adamson House was built in 1930. You can read more about it here.

We drove down early on Friday so that we could do the garden tour which is given only on Friday mornings at 10:00 AM. Our docent was a Homeopathic Doctor. She was a little out there. Actually, we was way out there. One of the guys in our tour described the garden tour as the surreal tour before the real tour of the house. I can relate. The docent, Jesse, would thank the "Goddess" and she talked of the medicinal value of some of the plants in the garden. She did know the name of the plants but it was hard to listen to her without laughing. To top it off, the garden wasn't that impressive. The flowers were typical California plants that most people have in their yards at home. I guess if you were visiting from outside of California it might be interesting. The only tree that I had not seen before was the so-called Cow Itch Tree (Primrose Tree). The Australian tree has seed pods that cause skin irritation.

After our strange garden tour we went into the house. The house was originally a beach house and is relatively small. They did not permit photography in the house so I don't have pictures. The house is famous because of the Malibu Tiles. The Rindge family built the tile factory and manufacture exquisite colored tiles. When the factory was destroyed in a fire only six years after it was founded, the great depression prevented it from being rebuilt. The tile can still be bought today but it is extremely expensive. The tile also utilized chemicals that are not allowed today like Cadmium and Cobalt. Cobalt can be radioactive and the State Park service has gone through the house with a Geiger counter to make sure it is safe. The tiles on the floor, walls, and ceiling are beautiful. One cool set of tile was a Persian Rug pattern on the floor complete with fringe tiles. The wife thought she could live in the house today.

The house is on the beach and adjacent to the Malibu Lagoon. Sadly the lagoon is polluted and the water is unsafe to swim in. Outside the house the views of the popular surfer's beach were awesome.
Surfers, and one golfer, were enjoying the sand and ocean. The haze diminished the views a bit today. Pictures are permitted outside. Here are some pictures.

After the tour we returned to Oxnard, had some lunch at In and Out and some ice cream at the Marble Slab. Even though the gardens were underwhelming, the house was cool and worth the short trip down the coast.

On Saturday I'll be doing my weekly hike - this one to Sandstone Peak - and on Sunday we go see the Pageant of the Masters.


  1. Cobalt and Cadmium are still commonly used in glazes. There are uranium glazes (red) at the Adamson House, but cobalt is not radioactive.

  2. Anonymous: There are some forms of Cobalt, Cobalt-60 specifically, that are radioactive.

    1. True, but Cobalt 60 is not used in these tiles. Uranium glazes are.
      There is a really good YT video covering the radioactivity of these tiles. It's fascinating.


  3. Yes, but cobalt-60 is not in the tiles.
    There is a very interesting YT video about the radiation from the tiles: