Spanish Colonial Revival Architecture Designed By Cliff May

by THAT Painter Lady

These two video’s are from a San Diego Home tour. I found these video’s online – I didn’t film these so please don’t criticize me for the poor quality. 😉

Cliff May and the Modern Ranch House

I didn’t go on this home tour – but wish I had. I love the Cliff May style homes. Pictures of the interiors of these homes were not allowed – so we only get to see the exterior design and garden areas. Still…. it’s worth watching as they are spectacular little homes.

These have been called Hacienda and or Mexican Style Homes in the video. I’m not sure what they would actually be in architectural terms… they do remind me somewhat of George Washington Smith in detail and architecture.

It’s said that Cliff May designed the same style home over and over.  His “plot plan” for homes were different than the traditional – house in the middle of the lot with a front and back yard.

The homes were designed with a walled in courtyard – this wall actually sitting very close to the street. The garage door sat on the street as well.

A bedroom window may have been seen in this street side wall… covered with his signature grill holding potted plants.

The door (which resembles a homes front door) actually opened up into the courtyard and covered patio area.  The house actually wraps around the lot line – leaving a small back yard.

This design left the home dwellers in complete privacy from the street and neighbors. A sanctuary if you will.

I looked Cliff May up on Wikipedia:

May grew up in San Diego, California. He built Monterey-style furniture as a young man. As an architect May designed projects throughout Southern California, including the regions around San Diego, Los Angeles, and Santa Barbara, California. He is credited with creating the California Ranch-style house in 1932. He never had the need to formally register as a licensed architect.

Cliff May, over the course of his career, designed numerous commercial buildings, over a thousand custom residences, and from model house prototypes more than eighteen thousand tract houses had his imprint. May synthesized Spanish Colonial Revival architecture with abstracted California adobe ranchos and Modern architecture. Robert Mondavi choose May to design his winery in which he incorporated features found in construction of California Missions.

Cliff May died in 1989, at the age of eighty, at his estate “Mandalay” in Sullivan Canyon, in the foothills of the Santa Monica Mountains in Brentwood, California.


John & Judy Tour Hacienda Style Homes in San Diego from John Lawrence on Vimeo.

Western Ranch Houses by Cliff May

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