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Cliff May Library

Articles and Publications
In 1934, Architectural Digest published a home designed by Cliff May. This was only the second house Cliff May had designed and built. He had little architectural training and little building experience, but he succeeded in bringing his vision to life and to national acclaim. Throughout the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s, May's designs were again featured in numerous publications, including: Architectural Digest, American Home, California Arts & Architecture, Sunset Magazine, Architectural Forum, House Beautiful, and House and Garden.

Today, May's designs continue to be published and recognized for their unique Californian qualities of a casual indoor/outdoor relationship, and the horizontal low-slung profile that harmonizes with nature, rather than overpowering it. In the past few years, Cliff May homes have been featured in several books, newspaper articles and periodicals. Here in the Long Beach Ranchos we are honored to have many fine examples of Cliff May designs recently published in books such as Ranch House Style, The Ranch House, as well as the publication Atomic Ranch.

The goal of the Rancho Style Cliff May Library is to catalog the books, publications and articles where Cliff May designs appear. The list below is by no means exhaustive. We invite you to submit your discoveries as well. For anyone looking to discover the history, design, and architecture of Cliff May, this is an invaluable resource list.




Cliff May and the Modern Ranch House
Dan Gregory (2008)
New York: Rizzoli

  • This book chronicles the work of Cliff May and his influences from California’s Spanish Mexican ranchos to contemporary design that celebrates the indoor/outdoor lifestyle characteristic of the American Dream.

Western Ranch Houses by Cliff May
Editorial Staff of Sunset Magazine and Books (1958)
Reprinted with permission, 1997, Hennessey+Ingalls

  • The entire book features custom homes designed by Cliff May. It also explores the roots and influences of the 20th century ranch house.

Atomic Ranch: Design Ideas for Stylish Ranch Homes - Gibbs Smith, Publisher (2006) Colorful photos of ranch homes from San Francisco to Florida. Many Long Beach Cliff May homes are featured.

Sunset Western Ranch Houses
Editorial Staff of Sunset Magazine in Collaboration with Cliff May (1946)
Reprinted with permission, 1999, Hennessey+Ingalls

Ranch House Style
Katherine Ann Samon (2003)
New York: Clarkson Potter/Publishers

  • "A New Riff on Cliff May", pp. 72-79
    This chapter features a beautifully restored Long Beach Cliff May Rancho.

The Ranch House
Alan Hess (2004)
New York: Harry N. Abrams Incorporated

  • "Lilypond House", pp. 82-85
    Features a 1935 Cliff May designed home in Los Angeles, California
  • "May • Wagner House", pp. 92-101
    Features a 1939 Cliff May designed home in Riviera Ranch, Los Angeles, California
  • "Evans House", pp. 106-111
    Features a 1947 Cliff May designed home in Los Angeles, California
  • "Gimbel House", pp. 116-123
    Features a 1950 Cliff May designed home in Los Angeles, California
  • "Borgeno House", pp. 132-135
    Features a 1954 Cliff May designed home in the Ranchos neighborhood of Long Beach
  • "Eshelman • Bemis House", pp. 216-223
    Features a 1963 Cliff May designed home in Rolling Hills, California


Rancho Estates Sales Brochure
Cliff May, Chris Choate, Ross Cortese (1954)
This is the original sales brochure for the Long Beach Ranchos tract.


Cliff May and the California Ranch House
Research paper by Laura Gallegos (2005)
Graduate Student, California State University, Sacramento



Architectural Digest
1934, 1964, May 1991, May 2005

October 1952, "Low-Cost House"

Sunset Magazine
1936, 1944, 1946

House Beautiful
1946, 1948

Atomic Ranch
Winter 2004, "Cool Californian"
Spring 2005, "At Home in the Ranchos"
Summer 2005, "It's a Dog's Life: Lucky Lucy"
Summer 2005, "Concrete Notions: A pool and new kitchen for a midcentury ranch"

CA Modern Magazine
published by the Eichler Network
Fall 2006, "Cliff May's Rancho Estates of Long Beach -- neighborhood on the rise"

Fall 2007, "Ranch house king Cliff May and the rise of 'hacienda modern'"

Modernism Magazine
Winter 2011-2012, "Cliff May: Ranch House Rising"

Southern California Quarterly Summer 2004, "Designer of the Dream: Cliff May and the California Ranch House"


Blogs and Websites

Harvey Park Modern
Harvey Park is home to 170 Cliff May/Chris Choate low-cost ranch homes in Denver, Colorado.

Rancho Rehab
This blog features a detailed restoration of a Long Beach Cliff May home.

Cliff May Registry
Register your Cliff May home on this site and check out floorplans from a 1955 tract in Denver, Colorado.

Colorado Cliff May
Improvements to a Denver Cliff May home.

Kansas City Cliff May Homes
Five Cliff May/Chris Choate homes in the Kansas City suburbs, including a scan from the their 1955 Parade of Homes.

Kansas City Restovation
Restoring and renovating a Cliff May home in Kansas City.