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This week’s Secret of SoCal is the Mosaic Tile House.

Located in Venice Beach, the Mosaic Tile House is the brainchild of Cheri Pann and Gonzolo Duran. What started as a remodel and a bit of nesting twenty years ago, turned into these artist’s most colorful and collaborative masterpiece. As I walked to the front gate, I was greeted by Cheri and led through a tile-covered archway into what felt like another world. Everything I saw was embellished with hand crafted, different colored tiles.

Cheri assured me that their house wasn’t always “this happy of a house,” it was once “an ugly house.” She cringed as she showed me a picture from when they first purchased the house in 1994. As I stood in the entryway, I did a 360-degree turn and noticed a unique Wizard of Oz mural, a kitchen fully adorned in tile, and curtains handmade from vibrantly colored fabric. This was just the entrance.

The more I talked with Cheri, the more character shined through their art. Cheri makes all of the tiles (some are 3D) and Gonzolo does the welding and setting of the tile, not to mention both are amazing painters. Just when I thought the interior tour was over, Cheri looked back at me, smiled and told me “this is the real reason we moved here!”

Behind two stained glass sliding doors was her deceptively expansive workshop. This wasn’t part of the original house; Cheri got her construction license and led the team on this addition (talk about a bad ass). Exploring her workshop revealed her multidimensional talents. I loved all of Cheri’s artwork, especially the ‘evolution of Gonzolo’ portraits.

Next on the tour was Gonzolo’s workshop full of flip-books and intricate, wind-up displays. Gonzolo’s craft for welding was unfathomable; he was able to weld intricate designs into door frames, gates, and window bars. One of my favorite pieces of Gonzolo’s was a fortune cookie that sat just through the front gate. If you looked closely you could see fortunes flowing out of the cookie featuring drawings of Cheri and Gonzolo!

As Cheri guided us along the side of their house, it felt as if  we were walking through a fairytale! Gonzolo painted the wall on the side of the house into a detailed mural. As if the mural weren’t amazing enough, the walls and pathway were a mosaic masterpiece! Everything from flattened, glass bottles to the 3D pieces had me in awe. Each random trinket was something that was once overlooked by others, and was destined to fit perfectly in the masterpiece located at 1116 Palm Ave in Venice Beach — a heartfelt treasure!

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I highly recommend you make an appointment to visit the Mosaic Tile House in Venice Beach- pictures don’t do this amazing location justice. Tours are $12 and are led by Cheri and Gonzolo.

Check back next week for another Secret of SoCal and be sure to follow me on instagram (@ericaadean).

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