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Carefree California: Cliff May and the Romance of the Ranch House Hardcover – September 4, 2012

4.8 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Jocelyn Gibbs is the curator of the Architecture and Design Collection at the Art, Design and Architecture Museum at UCSB. Nicholas Olsberg was formerly chief curator and director of the Canadian Centre for Architecture, and is the coauthor of Between Earth and Heaven: The Architecture of John Lautner.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 276 pages
  • Publisher: Rizzoli (September 4, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0847837823
  • ISBN-13: 978-0847837823
  • Product Dimensions: 10.3 x 1.2 x 10.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,049,688 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
This book - published subsequent to UC Santa Barbara's richly documented museum exhibit of the same name - shows and tells the story of one of the primary creators of the iconic "California lifestyle," and it does so in the lavish way that only the holder of the Cliff May Archives could.

The book places May at the center of the story of the development of the ranch-style house, illustrated with all manner of original material including vintage photos, marketing material, presentation drawings, and floor plans. Helpfully the book places May's work in its historical context, showing how his custom work expressed and defined the laidback lifestyle of midcentury affluence, and how his tract ranchos - numbering over 18,000 across the western states - leveraged prefabrication and the franchise model to offer the same opportunity to those of more modest means.

In this Olsberg and Gibbs' book is a perfect companion to Daniel Gregory's `Cliff May and the Modern Ranch House' (Rizzoli, 2008). Where the earlier book displayed the richness of May's genius primarily through large, color photos, 'Carefree California' tells the rich back story and places May's significant contribution to midcentury residential architecture within its larger context.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
For many of us in our mid fifties or so, the California reported to us in our youth seemed almost to be another planet. For those of us uninterested in buttoned-down lives we understood - or perceived or simply imagined - this farthest western state to be the place where who we were might more easily bump into real opportunity. In a significant way, this book is about the life some of us might have had.

Cliff May was born in San Diego, and the enhanced serendipity of California is exactly what happened to him. Across his career he designed and built, mostly in the Los Angeles area, the standard for ranch houses and a major template for mid-twentieth century contemporary houses. He gathered great acclaim not only for his houses, but also for his careful study of settings and topography. He did not spend one day in an architecture classroom.

A publication of the Art, Design and Architecture Museum at UC Santa Barbara, "Carefree California - Cliff May and the Romance of the Ranch House" presents a treatise that reclaims the term "ranch house," which has too long been a generic realty description for any nondescript one-floor house,

More than a century back, however, in still largely unsettled California, the ranch house was a very specific style of house, literal in its nomenclature. In response to the California migration that started in the 1920s, both native and transplanted architects began updating the concept of the ranch house while maintaining the cultural implications such houses had. In many real ways, the ranch house carried the embodiment of California Living east of the Mississippi.

In May's philosophy the ranch house, when properly designed and built, causes its inhabitants to live life in a new way.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Fabulous, From past to present. still enjoying it each read. Interesting how past ideas still hold fast for today lifestyles.
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