Carrie Reichardt’s house – known as the Mosaic House – is hidden away on a quiet, suburban street in Chiswick, and is a remarkable sight. A building covered from top to bottom in colourful mosaic tiles. It tells a thousand stories, each reflecting the various influences and artists who have helped to create the masterpiece, ever since the project first began in the 1990’s.
The five bedroom house, owned by artist Carrie Reichardt, is now an ‘uncensored’ public mural. Without the restrictions from galleries that she once faced, Carrie decided to use her home as a canvas, so she could do exactly what she pleased. The house is covered in bright colours and strong political messages and, standing proudly in the middle of an ordinary street in an affluent area – it certainly doesn’t blend in!
You could spend hours looking at the house and you still wouldn’t spot every little detail that is hidden within the tiles. It’s riddled with secrets and stories. Amongst other things, you’ll find various tributes to American prisoners, which represent part of Reichardt’s long running art campaign against the death penalty. Perhaps the most significant memorial is that of Luis Ramirez, who was Reichardt’s pen pal while he was on death row in the early 00s. He somehow managed to send her his prisoner ID card and it is now contained in resin on the back of the house.
You may also spot a blue plaque on the front of the house which, at first glance, looks just like the English Heritage ones that you may have seen elsewhere – but, upon closer inspection, it is in fact fully mosaicked and reads “The Treatment Rooms. 2002 – Now. Lots of people lived here and partied hard.” You’ll also find a giant mosaic recreation of the famous Hokusai Wave on the back of the house, which Reichardt claims is a representation of climate change and rising sea levels.
Besides all the activism, there are also hidden references to Alice in Wonderland and The Simpsons, so we challenge you to find those!
Carrie Reichardt’s house is free to visit at any time. You’ll find it at 4-6 Fairlawn Grove, Chiswick, W4 5EL.
Also published on Medium.