Wednesday, August 28, 2013

cliff may 1953 rancho-style mid-century in long beach - #1

The California ranch is quintessentially mid-century modern. And, Cliff May is considered the father of the ranch. Lucky for me, I live just a few short miles away from Long Beach and some of the largest Cliff May housing tracts in the United States (okay I made that up, but I think for sure it may be).

Cliff May Ranch Long Beach, CA 1953

Step inside. And feast your eyes.

In Cliff May and the California Ranch House by Laura Gallegos (2005), she explains how Cliff May was profoundly influenced by the adobe rancho design. He grew up in a traditional rancho which is one level, has tons of natural lighting, and is typically built around a central courtyard or atrium with covered breezeways and walkways. Sound familiar?
  
Okay, the rancho connection seems obvious now in hindsight but I did not know that. 

Lucky me. Two Cliff May open houses this past weekend. The first one is a really traditional mid-century.

Cliff May Ranch Long Beach, CA 1953

Cliff May Ranch Long Beach, CA 1953

Awesome, right? Zillow always reveals the particulars: constructed in 1953, 3 bedrooms, 2 baths and about 1,200 square feet. Recently, someone added a teeny amount of square foot to the back of the house. I'll show you where. Zillow also reveals that according to property taxes, the original owner or close to had this house through about 2007 when they sold it for $599K. It is currently listed for $669K and is a very beautiful, cleanly turned out home.  

The interior courtyard is roomy and very typical. The house features the original windows.

Cliff May Ranch Long Beach, CA 1953

Cliff May Ranch Long Beach, CA 1953


Perfect mid-century modern living room. I dig the concrete coffee table. And am very attracted to the grey thick loop shag.

Cliff May Ranch Long Beach, CA 1953


Would you like a little Eames with dinner? Someday I will own one of these chairs.

Cliff May Ranch Long Beach, CA 1953


This particular home has been featured in a Santa Barbara Cliff May retrospective as well as this Cliff May book, Carefree California: Cliff May and the Romance of the Ranch House. The pictures on the Kramer's real estate listing show the home staged for the previous owners perhaps, as the furniture is completely different. And also very tasteful as well.

Cliff May Ranch Long Beach, CA 1953


Polished concrete floors. Wonder if the crisscross pattern is from the carpet tacks? I kind of like it.

Cliff May Ranch Long Beach, CA 1953


Plywood is honestly so beautiful.

Cliff May Ranch Long Beach, CA 1953


The kitchen is a bit of a treasure. This is where the square feet were added. Everything is upgraded and a remodeler installed boomerang Formica counter tops. Get out of town!

Cliff May Ranch Long Beach, CA 1953

Cliff May Ranch Long Beach, CA 1953

Pretty cool, right? Plywood I do believe and very authentic.

Cliff May Ranch Long Beach, CA 1953

Cliff May Ranch Long Beach, CA 1953

Cliff May Ranch Long Beach, CA 1953

Back patio off the kitchen. 

Cliff May Ranch Long Beach, CA 1953


If you look at the floor near the slider, you can see where the 2 feet or so were added out to the edge of the eaves.

Cliff May Ranch Long Beach, CA 1953

Hold onto your hats. I am going to show you the CUTEST kids bedrooms on the planet. Seriously. Not kidding.

Boy's. Neat locker storage. My son would squirrel away all his treasures in this cool piece of industrial art. Even now at 15. 

Cliff May Ranch Long Beach, CA 1953

Cliff May Ranch Long Beach, CA 1953

Cliff May Ranch Long Beach, CA 1953

Cliff May Ranch Long Beach, CA 1953


Girl's bedroom. Wow. Nice lighting. And bunk beds.

Cliff May Ranch Long Beach, CA 1953

Cliff May Ranch Long Beach, CA 1953

Lucky. The 9-year-old girl inside me is jealous.

Cliff May Ranch Long Beach, CA 1953


Mom and dad are doing okay too. More industrial storage against right wall. That is an old fashioned library card catalog. Clever decorators.

Cliff May Ranch Long Beach, CA 1953


Cliff May Ranch Long Beach, CA 1953


Awesome house!

Cliff May Ranch Long Beach, CA 1953

Cliff May Ranch Long Beach, CA 1953


A young couple was walking through this house at the same time as me. I bumped into them outside on the sidewalk and asked them if they were targeting mid-century moderns? I told them mid-century is my personal favorite architectural style. Um. Understatement of the year.

I have one more Cliff May to show you. Tomorrow. Probably.

Real estate listing courtesy of Doug and Rochelle Kramer.

Addendum from Rochelle Kramer:
The pattern on the concrete floor is left from the original 9 inch square VAT tile that covered the floor. No matter how much polishing one does, the marks for the tile remain. I think they add character. The interior wood is birch ply. It was installed by the previous owner in a manner that is consistent with the original birch. Boomerang pattern Formica countertops were the original material used in the kitchen although it was in yellow. More than a decade ago Formica re-issued the pattern in this swell shade of Skylark Blue. The door at the kitchen is a set of the original Cliff May style French doors.
Thanks Rochelle!

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19 comments:

  1. The house is incredible but the interlocking pavers on the driveway are just plain wrong! I would have used a more authentic 50's type of hardscape material for the drive but otherwise it is perfect!

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    1. Your interlocking pavers comment is coming at an interesting time. We installed similar ones in our front courtyard. Kinda on a whim. What is great about them is they let the water percolate through and they never crack. Our house is on a clay/sandstone cliff that is constantly moving and shifting. We are working on a kitchen remodel and the interior patio is ridiculously cracked. The contractor suggested the front pavers be put in the interior because he predicted more extensive cracking. I know it isn't authentic but so practical for Southern California. So I debate. Thank you for your comment!

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  2. I love the laminate kitchen counter tops. Seriously to die for and functional. Going to be on the lookout for lockers for my sons room. Away with all the crap! :)

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    Replies
    1. Yeah, that locker idea is a good one. The little boys and their crap. The leggos. The matchbox cars. The little dinosaurs. Big boys have their share too...

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  3. I suspect that the pattern on the concrete comes from a wood parquet floor being there originally. I live in a house in the area that was built in 1954 (not a Cliff May, sadly) and a lot of the houses around here had parquet floor at one point. I've heard it was an upgrade offered when they were building the houses in my neighborhood.

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    1. We had wood parquet too but I didn't think to look at the concrete when it came up. We had a dishwasher installed poorly and it did a slow leak throughout the house. It ruined 50-year-old parquet floors. I shed a few tears. I wish I had thought to just polish the concrete and be done with it. Good idea.

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  4. Fantastic place! The pattern on the concrete is from standard tile- the concrete breathes differently through the grout as opposed to tile. I have some of the same thing; the guys who did my polished concrete floors explained it. Carpet tacks do something far more obnoxious- they leave divots. I love the boomerangs on the formica, but they should've done a built-in fridge and cooktop.

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    Replies
    1. That completely makes sense on the tile! I bet tile was an option with a Cliff May Rancho. I'll have to Google that. :)

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  5. I have the Gallegos book, and I love looking through it. How much better to just drive to Long Beach (where I have several cousins, incidentally) and see them in person. Absolutely, amazingly beautiful!!!

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    1. Well if you ever make it out here and you do not tell me...there will be hell to pay. I'll take you to visit the Eichlers in Orange and the Mays in Long Beach!

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  6. I love how you captured the unique and quirky details of this home. It is bursting with personality. By the way, this home was prominently featured in the 2012 book, Carefree California: Cliff May and the Romance of the Ranch House by Olsberg and Gibbs and is available through Amazon and the usual places.

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    Replies
    1. A famous house!!! Even better. We were lucky to see inside for ourselves. Thanks for sharing it!

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  7. Ah, you called me a clever decorator! My heart bursts. :) You really did manage to pick out my favorite parts of every room. I will especially miss my son's room; it is my favorite.

    Thanks for the nice write-up. We are going to miss the house very much, but looking forward to our next project!

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    1. You ARE a very clever decorator. Your daughter's room made me sigh when I walked into it. Your son's room is utterly perfect. I love the stencil on the closet.

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  8. LOVE the couch- could you share where you got it! I live in the Ranchos as well - this house is just BEAUTIFUL.

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    1. It's the Tillary sofa from West Elm. It fits the space very well, but the back rests aren't attached, just weighted, so if you get one, it really needs to be pushed up against a wall.

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  9. The vinyl stickers in the boy's room is off the shelf from Blik (www.whatisblik.com). It's called Boodalee City. I have the Eames vinyl stickers on our Jack-n-Jill closets.

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  10. I am renting and I need a small amount of laminate to replace what was damaged on our counter top. Do you have any left over laminate from your kitchen renovation that I could purchase from you?

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