Architectural & Related Design

Mosaic inlay detail on outdoor fireplace of Cheech Marin's residence in Malibu. Designed and executed by John August 1981.

The Marin Project

The Details Are Everything

© 1997 John August 

Cheech was a great guy to work for and had a genuine sense of humor. He originally hired this particular mason to construct a walkway strong enough to keep his house on the bluff and provide easy access to the surf. When the job was over, his only lament was, "gee, all I really wanted was to get down to the beach. Instead I got the Taj Mahal."

The outdoor fireplace was a combination smoker, BBQ, and outside kitchen with the proverbial sink thrown in."Wow, you should put something in there, like a whale or a fish..." Cheech casually remarked about the chimney as he was leaving for work one day. The next morning a template for a dolphin appeared and its image was rendered in picture flagstone literally hand delivered by a quarryman from Arizona. One would have to look closely to see that almost all the contour lines are contiguous on each piece. In other words, the flagstone was first broken into small parts, then the gray lines running as veins through the stone were carefully matched to the exact contour of the dolphin shape. Those pieces were then trimmed, set, and grouted to make the composite image.


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