TAAGLAA: Mosaic Tile House

Story by Lilian Zhu
Staff Writer

Photos by Ella Jayasekera
Staff Photographer

Disclaimer: This is a story from the March issue and was written before the “Safer at Home” orders were issued. Tiger does not condone staff violating these procedures, and encourages readers to follow them.

Among the quiet homes in Venice Beach, Los Angeles, one particular house is covered wall to wall with the most unique composition of colorful tiles, statues, and art. Curated by couple Cheri Pann and Gonzalo Duran and opened for public tours in 1997, the Mosaic Tile House creates a-one-of-a-kind atmosphere, merging stained glass with clay to create whimsical furnishings that seem as though they have come straight out of a childhood daydream. 

The Mosaic Tile House does not shy away from embracing an eccentric, almost chaotic, design. Splashes of color and a variety of pipes, shapes, and tiles peek out from the road, beckoning visitors in. Both the interior and exterior are carefully designed with stained glass and broken dinnerware, boldly showcasing the owners’ dedication and creativity towards their home. 

As Ella and I stepped through the gate, dozens of different glass-tiled murals greeted us and the contrasting blue and orange flooring transitioned into red carpeting. We felt an overwhelmingly therapeutic feeling as we entered the house. Perfectly melded into the mosaic front yard design, a low overbranching orange tree and a variety of garden vegetables stood to our right, and assorted buttons, beads, and shells lined the porch window, leaving no area vacant. The style of the house felt vintage-y, through the O’Keefe & Merritt stove, yet youthful because of the mosaics. 

After purchasing the home 1994, Pann and Duran planned on adding a studio at the back of their house and renovating their kitchen into a traditional Mexican style. However, with the combination of the unflattering porch and yard and long duration for the construction of the studio, the couple decided to add in the design of mosaic tiles on various walls around their house to create a more interesting appeal as well as a fun hobby. 

Pann and Duran’s kind and welcoming nature made their home feel like our own. The intimate love and care between the owners was apparent, as it was manifested through the different mosaiced walls and Pann’s countless portraits of Duran. Walls that are not mosaiced are painted intricately and include quirky quotes such as, “A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle.” 

The Venice Art Walk from the Los Angeles Times discovered the couple’s passion. Soon after, visitors from all over the world gathered to see the mesmerizing house for themselves, especially after the Instagram boom of the early 2010s. 

Since the beginning of the tours, Pann and Duran have introduced new components to the house, such as a caterpillar-like bench covered in mosaics, and designing the porch was to cultivate a cave-like experience for younger children. 

Using mosaics in the most innovative ways, the Mosaic Tile House’s scattered placing of tiles and foreign objects transforms the art form into one of their own. A mere two miles from the coast of Venice Beach, this is a rare experience, and a photogenic trip worth adding to one’s bucket list.

Hours: Saturday 12:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Address: 1116 Palms Blvd, Venice, CA 90291
Price: $

Visit Mosaic Tile House’s website here

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