When in Los Angeles, a drive up to Malibu on Pacific Coast Highway is one of the best ways to relax - if you're heading to Santa Barbara or San Francisco, even better!
The only thing between you and the ocean are sandy beaches, boulders, or homes hugging the shoreline. Heavy traffic on PCH is simply an opportunity to slow down, view the water and let the scent of the sea wash over you. By the time you reach Malibu Pier, you've slowed to the rhythm of the waves and are ready to appreciate the stop right next door - historic Adamson House.
The stone path gently winds its way through the immaculate grounds and colorful gardens, gracefully leading you toward the beach....
....along the water....
.... the Spanish Revival Style house, designed by popular architect of the time, Stiles Clement and built in 1929 for the the Adamsons. Daughter and son-in-law of Frederick H. and May K. Rindge, they were the last owners of the Malibu Spanish Land Grant. For seven years the Adamson family spent their summers in the home until 1937 when they moved in permanently. Mrs. Adamson continued to reside there after her husband's death until she passed in 1962.
The house is decorated inside and out with elaborate tiles from Malibu Potteries, a company established in 1926 by Mrs. Adamson's mother, May Knight Rindge. After a financially draining legal battle, Mrs. Rindge was searching for oil on her property to supplement her income. It is fortunate for us that she found none. What she did find were rich clay deposits, and Malibu Potteries was born. The 1920's was the golden age of tile making in California with dozens of companies producing decorative tile, and Malibu Potteries is considered by many to have produced the finest work of the era. Sadly, it's glory was short-lived - due to both a fire and the Great Depression, it closed in 1932.
Lush California Pepper trees fluidly sway in the sea breeze. The Spanish influence is evident in the carved wooden benches, doors and lintel and in the thick triple-tile roofs.
Several patios and balconies surround the house, opening up the home for plenty of year round indoor/outdoor life.
Protected by floral iron doors, living and dining rooms open onto a terrace, while above...
...the second floor patio balcony overlooks the swimming pool and Malibu Pier to the southeast. Note the painted detail beneath the balcony.
This fountain overlooks Surfrider Beach, which is popular among - surprise - surfers. The consistency in the shape of the waves of first, second and third point are due to cobblestones washing from the local mountains during heavy rains; some travel for up to five miles down Malibu Creek before being deposited in the ocean. On clear days Catalina Island can be seen in the distance.
Malibu Pier, just around the corner from the colorful lifeguard station, is beloved by local fishermen, restaurant goers and tourists alike.
In 1968 the State of California purchased the estate, and in 1971 the president of Pepperdine University (the school is just a few miles up the coast) moved in as efforts to restore the home were underway. A museum was established twelve years later and finally opened to the public.
Retracing your footsteps brings you to the point at which Malibu Creek empties into the Pacific Ocean: Malibu Lagoon, a unique environment of animal and plant life adapted to both fresh and salt water. Over two hundred species of birds are said to be seen throughout the year, but pollution caused by overbuilding up the creek has become an increasing problem that threatens both wildlife and the beaches.