Cliff May’s second house: Lindstrom 1933

Lindstrom House, Talmadge Park, San Diego.

Lindstrom House, Talmadge Park, San Diego.

May built his second house in 1933 with financial backing from a local grading contractor, O. U. Miracle. The house sold for $9,500 to Captain William Lindstrom. A year later, Architectural Digest featured the Lindstrom’s house in its 1934 issue. For a young man in his twenties, May was beginning to enjoy phenomenal success as a builder of houses. In fact, soon after the Lindstrom house appeared in Architectural Digest, other magazines featured May’s houses including American Home, California Arts & Architecture, and Sunset.

By 1937 May had constructed over fifty houses and several non-residential buildings in the San Diego area. His early houses were very much based on the nineteenth-century ranch houses he had come to know in his childhood. Generally, May designed his houses as asymmetrical, one-story dwellings with a low-pitched roof and wide overhanging eaves. One room deep, it was crucial that the house take an L- or U-shaped configuration to form a patio or courtyard in the back so that the rooms of the ranch house faced or opened into these areas. Like the California adobes of the nineteenth century, May’s houses did not include an interior hallway. Instead an exterior corredor or covered veranda served as the primary hallway of the house. May also designed his houses so that they presented a blank façade to the street, however, he modernized his ranch houses with the use of large picture windows for the rooms facing the back.

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