|This unadorned interior view of a Cliff May Rancho
reveals the richness of original materials, including birch paneling
and cabinetry in the living room and kitchen, exposed-beam ceilings,
and translucent glass panels.
Long Beach Cliff May Ranchos
Modernism Meets the Ranch House
Cliff May's homes were certainly inspired by the Western ranch house,
but they are unique in their modern interpretation of this California
design. The Long Beach Cliff May's were built in the early 1950s and reflect
the modernist influences of the time with open floor plans, exposed post-and-beam
ceilings, clerestory windows and floor to ceiling glass.
Original Sales Brochure download
Cliff May, Chris Choate and Ross Cortese teamed up to design and build the Californian, the style of home that is most commonly referred to as the Rancho. Click here to download the original sales brochure from the 1950's.
Floorplan Design and Placement
Many Cliff May designs are L- or U-shaped and are positioned to the back
of their lots, a design layout which he envisioned would provide for more
open outdoor space and an enhanced relationship between the homes' interior
and yard. This placement, which was seen in many of Frank Lloyd Wright's
Usonian homes, is revolutionary, and to this day there are few communities
like it. Moreover, because of the minimal "set-back" rules
within the Long Beach tract, owners are able to fence these areas to create
compound-like environments for more private enjoyment of their garden
Appreciation for Design
As more people become interested in design—whether it‘s a toaster or an
automobile—more are wanting their homes to reflect what they value. These
individuals tend to share a common aesthetic and appreciation for form
and function. They are, in large part, the new breed of owners who are
shaping the future of neighborhoods such as the Ranchos. And somewhere
in the great beyond, Cliff May is undoubtedly cheering them on.
Visit the new Cliff May Ranchos group on Yahoo! Looking for original Cliff May windows and doors?
Have a vintage oven or cooktop? This is the place to find (or find a home
for) your hardware, fixtures and building materials.