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  Mid Century Modern architecture in Long Beach
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cliff may home long beach
While the colors on this home reflect contemporary tastes, the design elements are classic mid-century: vertical siding, rectangular windows, double exterior doors, and an interior that opens to a private rear garden.  The rear living room wall in this home is almost all glass windows and doors.  To see the interior of this home  go here.  

Several Long Beach neighborhoods are full of mid-century modern homes.  Perhaps the most well-known are the ones designed by the noted architect Cliff May in the Rancho neighborhood near El Dorado Park.   

rancho mid century home long beach This is the second of three Cliff May floor plans used in the Rancho neighborhood in the early 1950s.  Again, the color choices are contemporary.  Originally the homes would have been white or off-white.

When built in the early 1950s, there were three floor plans in Rancho, all of them of average size for that era -- which means modest by today's standards.   Over the decades many homeowners modified the homes.  Some homes remain close to their original design with signature features of mid-century modern homes: 

- Vertical siding
- Vaulted, cathedral or high ceilings in the interior
- Rectangular windows
- Floor-to-ceiling windows or sliding doors opening to a garden or patio 
- Front facade with few windows 
- Low pitched or, in some cases, flat roofs
 Melding the indoors and outdoors was a basic concept for mid-century modern homes.  But the "outdoors" was often "inward" with the view being toward the private rear garden or interior atriums rather than toward the street. 

Adjacent to the Rancho neighborhood are other developments of mid-century homes.  These, however, have a more mass-produced appearance and few remain untouched or unremodeled by the owners.

Fire pits and wine refrigerators...
Just gotta have 'em!   
See them here

mid century home college park Many features of mid-century-influenced, mass-produced design are shown in this home which is not far from the Rancho neighborhood: vertical siding, thin pillars supporting the porch, wood shingle roof, rectangular windows. Inside, however, this home lacks the open space design and, instead, is broken up into small rooms. 

Another neighborhood closer to the beach, Park Estates, contains significantly larger, custom-built late mid-century homes.   Many of these were built a decade or so after the Rancho homes.  While they still exhibit many similar characteristics they are not as austerely geometric as archetypal mid-century homes.

mid century home park estates long beach This late mid-century home in Park Estates shows the characteristically bold use of stone in a massive wall at the entry.  The interior fireplace is also a wall of stone.  

While some of the homes in Park Estates have been remodeled beyond recognition, the majority are in pristine condition. The lots in this neighborhood are large which attracts many upscale homeowners. When available for sale, the prices in Park Estates in Long Beach match the size and condition of the homes.

mid century chalet style home

Not every homeowner during the 1950s and 1960s wanted the stark, geometric appearance typical of classic mid-century modern design, so builders incorporated other influences.  In this home in Park Estates, shown here, the "chalet style" was an influence that softened the austere modern design.

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