On ‘Ratched,’ Sarah Paulson Checks into the Adamson House, One of Malibu’s First Homes

Real Estate

Love it or hate it, there is no denying that “Ratched,” Ryan Murphy’s latest foray into streaming, is a visual masterpiece! Each hairstyle, costume, and set seems to be prettier than the last! And don’t even get me started on the locations! Perhaps the most picturesque site used is the Mexican resort where Nurse Mildred Ratched (Sarah Paulson) and Gwendolyn Briggs (Cynthia Nixon) are shown living in 1950, two years after the main events of the series, at the end of the Season 1 finale, titled “Mildred and Edmund.” Cast and crew did not travel south of the border to film the resort scenes, nor did they make use of an actual hotel. Instead, a bit of Hollywood magic was employed to create the retro Mexican lodging within the Thirty Mile Zone. 

Mildred and Gwendolyn’s heavenly retreat is actually a mashup of two different locales – a historic Malibu mansion-turned-museum known as the Adamson House and a private West Hills residence that formerly belonged to actor Francis Lederer. I have long been familiar with both spots and recognized them as soon as I laid eyes on them in the episode.

Constructed in 1929, the Adamson House, a California Historical Landmark, was one of the first homes to be built in Malibu. The Spanish Colonial Revival estate was constructed for Rhoda Agatha Rindge Adamson and her husband, Merritt Adamson, on a 13-acre parcel of oceanside land gifted to the lucky couple by Rhoda’s mother, Rhoda May Knight Rindge (yes, mother and daughter shared the same first name!), the last owner of what was known as the Malibu Spanish Land Grant, aka the 21-mile-long (formerly 27-mile) coastal enclave that today makes up the ‘Bu. The elder Rhoda and her husband, Frederick Hastings Rindge, purchased the 13,000-acre seaside tract, which they later expanded to 17,000 acres, in 1892 and made their home near what is now Serra Retreat. Though Frederick passed away in 1905, Rhoda and her children continued to live in the then-remote seaside haven. Fiercely protective of her privacy, her family, and her land, Rhoda refused to sell or lease any parcels for the next two decades, making the Rindges Malibu’s sole occupants until the mid-1920s!

For more Dirt on “Ratched’s” Mexican resort, click over to the Gallery.

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