Farnam House – Santa Monica, California - Atlas Obscura
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Santa Monica, California

Farnam House

On a quiet suburban street stands a peculiarly decorated house covered in mosaic designs. 

There are a lot of reasons to have a weird house. Unquenchable creativity, immutable personal style, or a penchant for exhibitionism – for the Farnam House, all three of these traits combined to make for a literally shining work of outsider art.

Decked out from roof to foundation, both inside and out, with intricate and eye-catching mosaic tiles, their mirrored and colorful gloss surfaces glitter brightly in the sunlight. Some neighbors call it an eyesore, while others consider it a fantastic work of public art.

That controversial status means the Farnam House fits right in with the rest of Venice, California.

Whichever side of the debate you come down on, there is no denying that the house is successful as both a distinctive landmark and a commercial advertisement. It’s owned by a husband and wife who also run a decorative tile and mosaic business, and their own house is perhaps the most varied and complete example of the skills and designs they’re able to deliver for their clients.

So while the origins of this loudly decorated house aren’t so noble in their creativity, if getting people’s attention is the objective, that mission has been accomplished tenfold. The house has been featured in national newspapers and television broadcasts, and there are no signs of a slowdown – in media coverage or in the decorations themselves.