The house with mosaic tiles in Venice reflects the love and obsession of the artists

Nestled east of Venice Beach, among a row of unassuming homes, stands a unique marvel: The Mosaic Tile House. This artistic retreat created by Cheri Pann and Gonzalo Duran is an explosion of creativity and color.

Since they bought the home in 1994, the couple has meticulously covered every inch of the house with art, from bejeweled bathtubs, strings of bottle caps and fragments of glass cups to steel dragons that wrap around the home’s railings.

Inspired by Alice in Wonderland and The Wizard of Oz, the artists offer a unique, immersive experience with ever-changing stories and images around every corner for visitors to explore. Photo by Olivia Richard.

The house attracts a wide audience thanks to its viral fame on social media. Tourists can walk on Saturday afternoons for $20.

Chen Lu from southeast China took it all in and traveled the world exploring artists’ masterpieces: “I’ve been to Barcelona and this house reminds me of Gaudi’s work and art.”

Married in 1994, Cherry Pan and Gonzalo Durnan have used each other as artistic muses for nearly 30 years. Photo by Olivia Richard.

The creators themselves see the house as an expression of their love.

Pan and Durand’s journey together began in 1992 in a way that seems almost fated for two artists: across the paint counter of a local art supply store.

“I bought paint and he sold paint. And I reached across the counter and started kissing him,” Pan recalled. Their spontaneous relationship has since blossomed into a shared life of art, transforming a once “ugly” brown house into a living masterpiece of tile, steel and glass.

Both are trained artists. Pan has been working with paints for almost 63 years, while Durand, who specializes in painting and constructing automatic sculptures, has a master’s degree in fine arts from the Chouinard Art Institute.

Every inch of the house reflects a decades-long, ever-evolving series of “sweet” designs, Pan says. “I do the tile and tell him what I think. … And then I let him go and he’s doing the forms.”

At The Mosaic Tile House, the couple has transformed the outdoor portico into a garden of glass, steel and trinkets collected from around the city. Photo by Olivia Richard.

“What you’re seeing is a style called Picassiette,” says Tammy Macalla, an artist and past president of the Society of American Mosaic Artists.

Picassiette, which translates as “stolen from the plate,” is a mosaic style created in 1938 by French artist Raymond Isidore. It features ceramic shards, broken vessels and other found objects in a mosaic design.

“It takes great skill to create balanced and focused work in this style, and I love the work they’ve created,” says Makala. “It takes an eye for art and an understanding of many different elements of art to create such a balanced look.”

Called the “Love Tub,” the two artists transformed a rusted pewter clawfoot tub destined for the trash heap into a beautifully mosaic-decorated bench. Photo by Olivia Richard.

Pann’s vision for the house is expansive.

“It should remain open to the public as a living studio,” she argued. “It can’t just be torn down, I want it to live on and become something more, something new for the next generation of artists.”

The pair are actively working to ensure the vision comes to life. In the back garden, the couple have dedicated a wall once covered in damaged tiles to the talent and imagination of a group of young up-and-coming mosaic artists. The couple hopes that these new artists will be able to infuse the story of their own lives and experiences into the walls of the home that has for decades expressed their own love story.

The home is open to visitors by reservation every Saturday from 12-3pm. Appointments can be made by emailing Pann and Duran at [email protected].

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