Safety Harbor, Florida is a pretty typical small and quiet beach town. In town you’ll find lots of inviting green spaces, a beautiful shoreline great for fishing, as well as cute shops and restaurants. Nothing out of the ordinary here! However, visitors and residents of this town might not even realize a fantastical neighborhood art house sits right under their noses…Set within a residential space you’ll find Whimzeyland—a privately owned home turned extreme art experience.
How it all began.
Originally known as the “Bowling Ball House,” Whimzeyland is the culmination of years of work by artist couple Kiaralinda and Todd Ramquist. Ramquist and Kiaralinda met in a 7th grade art class and have been a driving artistic force ever since. They purchased their Safety Harbor home in 1985, with the first modifications being made after the couple spent time traveling and seeking out inspiration from around the world. The first iterations started with changing the original basic beige to multiple bright colors, beginning the evolution of the property into the artistic experience it is today.
The bowling balls got introduced after the couple were at a flea market and came across a sign for 10 free bowling balls. Ramquist and Kiaralinda snatched them up, brought them home and painted them, then began placing the balls around their property. That first find got the ball rolling so to speak, and
Up Close and Personal
It’s difficult to take in a space such as Whimzeyland, with all its different mediums, colors, and layers, and understand how to even begin such a project.
“Creating Whimzeyland happened slowly and organically,” says Ramquist and Kiaralinda. Luckily the home is in a non-deed restricted area, so Ramquist and Kiaralinda encountered very little push-back while building Whimzeyland.
Even though Whimzeyland is technically a private residence, people are encouraged to walk around and experience the grounds. Ramquist and Kiaralinda refer to those who simply drive by as offering “smilage,” but “most [people] stop and walk up through the smiling jesters onto the mosaic sidewalk and discover a world that some of our visitors say they would live in if they were only brave enough to do.”
While creating and living in a space such as this isn’t for everyone, Ramquist and Kiaralinda have zero regrets about turning their home into a world renowned art space. “We have made many friends through the years that we are still friends with because they love the unusual and fun nature of our house and all the things we do there,” says the couple.
Their love of the arts has led them to opening a community arts and music center in the city. “Safety Harbor Arts and Music Center lovingly known as SHAMc [was built in 2012]. It is our other extreme ‘work of art’ and a lifetime legacy.”
So what’s the secret to creating such a massive and cooperative project like this without splitting up? It’s all about passion and a little yes-anding.
“It is an ever evolving work of art that we live in since we have always said “YES” to each other about anything we have ever wanted to add or do to Whimzeyland. We have a unique passion for what we do.”