Mission Tile West

Santa Monica Family Finds Unique Use for Tile

Mosaic-covered home now a local landmark

unique use for tileOne day, Aziz and Louise Farnam’s 15-year-old son wanted to glue a periwinkle-blue molded ceramic tile to a low concrete retaining wall in front of their Santa Monica home. Thirteen years and millions of tile pieces later, the entire façade of the 1930s bungalow has been transformed into one colorful, shimmering mosaic.

The family’s obsession with tile mosaic art actually began much earlier. Louise and Aziz were both exposed to stunning tile art on the walls of buildings in their native Iran. Then, Louise began creating mosaic lamp bases, mirror frames, plates, vases, bowls, and tabletops as a hobby. Slowly, the tile art crept outside, first covering the retaining wall, then the walkway, then the exterior walls of the home.

By 2005, Louise had started her own business crafting custom mosaic items, and continuing to add mosaic tiles to the outside of the house had become Aziz’s pet project. He found the work therapeutic, especially as the recession began to affect his business. He gave himself the freedom to apply tiles as the mood struck him, without worrying about a single unified theme. Today every inch of the façade is covered, with different vignettes melding into one another in a riotous frenzy of colors and shapes.

Some of the highlights of the mosaic mural include:

  • A psychedelic Hollywood Sign with plates for O’s
  • A stylized synagogue with symmetrical doors
  • A portrait of Amiel’s pet macaw
  • Shamu
  • A life-size apple tree

In addition to the big designs, there are also a multitude of little decorative tiles scattered around, from Delft-style windmills to Celtic roses, kittens, and sea creatures, making the house kind of like a “Where’s Waldo” experience.

The Farnams’ home has been featured on TLC and won a design prize of $10,000. Their home is already a local landmark. Neighbors say passing motorists routinely slam on their brakes to get a better look or park illegally to take photos. It is inspiring how one family’s project of artistic self-expression has come to give joy to so many other people.

Covering the exterior of your home in mosaic tile may not be on your list of home décor must-dos, but there are still plenty of other ways to use tile to make your home more beautiful and to let your personality show. Mission Tile West can help. We have a huge selection of all kinds of tile and we can guide you through a project from conception to tile selection to installation and beyond. Come visit our Santa Monica showroom—or stop by the Farnam’s home—to get inspired.