One might think that the California Ranch has evolved organically, descending from the Spanish Rancheros married to a Modernist design. Although these are the ancestors of the California Ranch, a native of California, Clifford May, invented the style. May, born in San Diego, had very little training as an architect and, having created the low-pitched, sloped-roof California Ranch home in 1932, never needed to officially register as a licensed architect.
He merged elements of the Spanish Revival style with Modernism to produce low-slung, horizontally oriented, pitched-roof ranch houses. Their open and relaxed layout emphasized outdoor living, perfect for the laid back lifestyle and temperate climate of Southern California. His ranch designs took the country by storm after World War II.
This first house sold for $ 9,500. His work attracted attention and the second home he built was featured in Architectural summary in 1934. Many of his homes were built in Southern California, but some were built as far away as Switzerland, Australia, and Ireland. During the 1940s and 1950s his work was featured in numerous publications including Architecture Forum, american house, Californian arts and architecture, Beautiful House, Sunset Magazine, Modernism Magazine, and Southern California Quarterly, among others.
Over the course of her career, May has designed numerous commercial buildings, over a thousand custom residences, and, from prototype model homes, over eighteen thousand two-story homes.
Recently, May’s third California Ranch home sold for $ 7,200,000. Located in Brentwood as Riviera Ranch’s premier equestrian development, it has been called “America’s Most Important Ranch”. Recently, the City of Los Angeles began the historic landmark process for the property. At one point, May himself lived in the house with his family; later it belonged to actors Robert Wagner and Jill St John.
Peter Zimble of Sotheby’s International Realty – Beverly Hills Brokerage, who represented the buyer, said: âWalking into this property is like stepping back 100 years. Working with the buyers, the City of Los Angeles and key historical advisers to plan the rescue of this masterpiece has been an absolute pleasure. It’s great to see that the original charm and historical significance of this equestrian property will be preserved and that the spirit in which Cliff May developed the neighborhood will continue. “