1955 Cliff May RM3212
We first moved to Harvey Park in the spring of 2014. We heard about the neighborhood from a friend who had just gone under contract on a Cliff May. We knew nothing about the neighborhood or the famed architect, but were intrigued by the unique design of the homes. Since we weren't yet ready to buy, we found a rental to call home. It was a 2 bed, 2 bath RM 2111. We traded in all of our old, bulky furniture and began collecting mid-century furnishings to better suit the house. Having a yard meant that we could finally get a dog.
Six months later, on a walk with our dog, we noticed an estate sale company staging the house just three doors down. A coveted corner lot 3 bed, 2 bath RM3212 with a garage and carport. It turned out that the house itself was going to be sold off-market. We expressed interest, but were up against a flipper who had already put a cash offer on the table. Luckily for us, the homeowner didn't like what the flipper had planned for the home (tearing down the den, among other things) and she gave us the opportunity to purchase it. As we walked through the home with her, she told us all the things she wished she had done. So when it came to ripping out the carpet to expose the hard wood floors, she asked if she could help.
We began our restoration process immediately. The house had great original bones, so our goal was to bring it back to a clean slate. We exposed the hard wood floors, sanded down and painted the walls white, and removed the wall to our addition so that light from our floor-to-ceiling and clerestory windows could easily flow throughout the space. We opened up the space even more by replacing the three-quarter wall surrounding the kitchen with an island. The washer/dryer that was in the kitchen was re-routed to an expanded master closet. We kept all the finishings a minimal palette so that the home's architectural features would be the focal point.
Like many of our neighbors we chose gray for the exterior, but painted the window frames black instead of the more popular white. We finished out the design by building a new horizontal fence , complete with a row of vintage decorative breezeblocks.
We feel so lucky to have been the caretakers of this home for a little over two years. We love its history, its design, its timelessness.
To see before and after photographs, click here.
Cliff May (1909-1989) is best known as the father of the California ranch house, which grew to popularity in the 1940s and 50s. "I rebelled against the boxy houses being built then," he said. "The ranch house was everything 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." In 1952, May and his associate architect Chris Choate, developed a suburban tract home that was met with great success. They then formed the Ranch House Supply Corporation to sell their designs to licensed builders throughout California. In 1954, they expanded to include the West and southern portions of the United States, including Denver.
Harvey Park, Denver, Colorado
Harvey Park is a neighborhood located in southwest Denver. Built in the 1950s, it is known for its array of mid-century modern architecture. Our enclave of 170 Cliff May homes is the largest tract outside of California.