Cliff May ranch houses and their important architectural legacy

Cliff May — Father of the modern day ranch house

Cliff-may-inspired-home plan


Steven Murphy

After our initial discovery of 8 historical plans inspired by Cliff May and now available on, Daniel Gregory, Ph.D., editor-in-chief, was kind enough to connect me with one of the Cliff May inspired home designers — Steven Murphy. Steven was more than happy to “talk shop” with me — as well as compare his Cliff May inspired plan with an original Cliff May designed home. Read on for a virtual tour of Steven’s design, his thoughts on Cliff May and why he’ll forever be an advocate for ranch style homes.

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8 Cliff May inspired ranch house plans from

Cliff-May-inspired-house-plansWe recently wrote about 8 authentic Eichler house plans now for sale… We followed with William Turnbull house plans for Sea Ranch … Today on our list: 8 ranch house plans inspired by Cliff May — available, like the others, from Wow, those historic-minded folk at are working overtime, it seems. While these are not original Cliff May plans — they have been updated for current building codes — they are “Cliff May-inspired” — and that’s important because Cliff May is the father of the modern day ranch house — at least according to Pam’s research. So, just as we bow to Royal Barry Wills when we discuss mid century Cape Cod and colonial homes, we bow to Cliff May when we discuss ranch houses. So, its now very cool to have these 8 designs (with even more variations) working to faithfully to bring the May aesthetic to a whole new generation.

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Three historic Sea Ranch house plan designs by William Turnbulll now available for sale

William-Turnbull-house plan

Architect William Turnbull (1935-1997) was a notable California  architect and in 1965, he was one of a group of , in particular, he was lauded for his 1965-era small house designs at The Sea Ranch, a coastal vacation enclave in Sonoma County, California, about 150 miles north of San Francisco. With the Sea Ranch project — which was architecturally significant in its approach to the adjacent environment, Turnbull and the other contributing architects rejected the modern box-like ranch homes that were being built in plentiful numbers across in California and instead, favored a more rustic style. Could it be these designs foreshadowed the eclectic, hippy funky home designs soon to descend upon American in the 1970s? Seems like it. Recently, acquired three of Turnbull’s historic Sea Ranch cottage designs — and they have made them available to purchase today. If you have a little place in mind for that little cottage of your dreams, perhaps one of Turnbull’s historic designs will fit the bill.

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