When does it stop being a Cliff May Home?

For many mid-century modern home lovers, it’s not just a debate with others, but often times within their own minds as well: Preservation versus Renovation. And it often prompts the question: when does a [Cliff May / Eichler / P&K] stop being what it was originally built as? Where is the line?

In many ways this home has been extensively modified from how it was originally built. Windows, doors, and nearly every finish has been replaced with materials that Cliff May could have only dreamed of in 1954. Some of the material choices are, in my opinion, more successful than others.

While we love to believe and act as though these homes are works of art, to be enjoyed for their aesthetics and design prowess, the result is that they are also homes that we live in. And while the notion of transporting yourself and your family into 1950s life, the fact is that we like our homes to be comfortable, accommodate more modern things such as computers and televisions, and even more open kitchen layouts.

So what makes a Cliff May a Cliff May? Or an Eichler and Eichler? It’s the ideas. Modernism is so much bigger than a particular flooring or even custom made windows. These things are often nice bits of original fabric, but it’s really the notion of what mid-century modern living that makes these homes special. Yes, the original Cliff May windows in this home have been replaced, but they have been replaced with full-height glass, preserving the outdoors-in feel that Cliff May was after. There’s still a courtyard and small spaces around the house. These homes are about a way of living and a way of feeling.

With that said, some of the replaced details in this home are little fussy. The simple, Zen-like trimwork of the original has been replaced with more detailed, “luxury” trim and doors. I’m not a fan. But, if that’s my biggest nit, that’s really being pretty particular. Cliff May was known to remodel his own homes rather frequently. His reasoning: there is nothing worse than a home that doesn’t live the way people want.

As of writing, this one is already in escrow after just a few days. If you were working with us you could have seen it the day it hit the market. Don’t hesitate to call us or email.

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