Cliff May began designing and building homes in his early-20s, but wasn’t licensed as an architect until the last year of his life (1908-1989).
He spent his boyhood summers at his Aunt Jane McGee’s home at the Los Flores adobe on Rancho Santa Margarita y Las Flores, now a part of Camp Pendleton. He also roamed the Santa Margarita ranch house and the Casa de Estudillo, two other important adobe haciendas.
May expressed a visceral understanding of what made these earthy, old haciendas with thick walls and low roofs so comfortable, when he reminisced about his youth: “The ranch house had eveything a California house should be. It had cross ventilation, the floor was level with the ground,and with its courtyard and the exterior corridor, it was about sunshine and informal outdoor living.”
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