Merle Norman House

Known As
Mediterranean Revival, Streamline Moderne, Art Deco
Ellis G. Martin
June 10, 1996
2523 Third Street
Santa Monica, CA 90405

This home is a striking and rare example of Mediterranean Revival style with rich overlays of Depression era Moderne and 1930s Streamline design elements. Cosmetics magnate Merle Norman and renown architect Ellis G. Martin created this lavish and iconic Santa Monica Registered Landmark and Mills Act property.

Unlike its Victorian and Craftsman neighbors, this  Mediterranean Revival style residence features a tiled and hipped roof with bracketed eaves caps the stucco structure. The asymmetrical façade’s entry is located in a large port cochere with rounded arches.

Norman commissioned her dream home to be built on a lot rising above 3rd Street two short blocks from Main Street with views of the Pacific Ocean from a series of quixotic and lavishly appointed chambers. The property contains: a sequestered courtyard through the porte cochere; an original sweeping stairway leading to a loft-like living room spanning the entire front of the home, with tree top and ocean views; a library; a formal dining room, and period tile kitchen; an enormous master suite with ocean views; separate sitting rooms (or sleeping chamber); his and hers 30s luxe tile baths; and a circular dressing room/office with scalloped vertical plaster detail. The home also has two guest rooms on the first floor with an intact grand moderne bathroom, and a separate guesthouse equipped with a full kitchen. The home exhibits an extensive use of carved rafter tails, corbels and wrought iron.


  1. “City of Santa Monica Designated Landmarks,” revised Nov. 10, 2014.
  2. Santa Monica Landmarks. “Landmark 41, Merle Norman House, 1935,” 2011.