Other People’s Projects – a mid century sneak peek…

Why do I love other people’s projects so much?

First, it is just plain fun to see and talk about other people’s projects. Mostly, it is a nice diversion from my own home improvement list, but I also love a good (and/or bad) house renovation story.

Second, I love to check out other people’s ideas. It’s motivating and can also help me solve some of my own project and décor issues.

Finally, I love to experience unique and different architectural styles. I especially enjoy styles that I will not likely get to experience first hand at any point in my life.

So, here we are today showing off our first “Other People’s Projects”…


Being that this project is a work in progress, this is just a little sneak peek of some of the cool details. Hopefully, we can go back and check progress in the future.

Ok – finally – about the house…

This house is a mid century modern ranch style home from the 1950s. The interesting thing is that this isn’t just any mid century modern.  It was designed by Cliff May (the visionary) and Chris Choate (the architect).  It sounds like Cliff May is considered a pioneer in the design of the California modern ranch home. This style of housing originated in California (which is likely why we call these houses “California Contemporary” around here). Cliff May wanted to find a way to mass produce homes that had “custom” features – and would be affordable to the general public.  Cliff & Chris came up with low cost ranch homes, made from modular parts, with interesting “custom” details, that could be configured in a variety of floor plans. We are lucky enough to have a neighborhood here in Colorado with a number of these homes.  I love the style but don’t feel like I am hip or cool enough to pull off mid century modern myself.  So, I am excited that I have friends who can pull it off!

Each modular part has this signature stamp on it.  I think it says “patent pending”. I suspect the patent is no longer pending after 60 some years later :)


Our friend’s house has all the features of a Cliff May/Chris Choate modular home – as it should – since it is a Cliff May/Chris Choate modular home.

Starting with the outside…

The private courtyard is situated between the house and the garage – accessed from the living room and from the master bedroom. I didn’t get a proper photo, but they’ve got a great courtyard – private, comfortable, bright.  It is still winter here in Colorado so the lounge furniture was all still stored, but you could tell that it is a really relaxing space. Hopefully, next visit will yield a full photo of this lovely area.


In the meantime, I snapped a few close ups of the new concrete pads and soft blue grey river rock that fill in between.  I love this look – all modern and zen.


They carried over this large scale concrete pad idea to the offset path that leads from the street to the front door.  Very modern day design – very cool.  You should also notice the new wood fence to the right.  The courtyard is behind that fence. Again, I am not sure why I didn’t get a big view of the whole thing – house, courtyard, and garage – again, will do next time. Anyway, the fences were originally made from the crates that the house parts were shipped in – reusing/recycling before it was trendy. This is a new fence, but I feel like this is how it should have been back in the day.


About the inside…

The ceilings are vaulted but not soaring – I like that.  The living space feels larger than it is with the vaulted ceiling and open space but still cozy and comfortable.


These glass gables are located at each end of the house (in the main living space and in the master bedroom). These triangular windows bring in a huge amount of natural light. The roof feels like it is floating above the exterior walls. Fun, fresh, airy, and bright.


Floor to ceiling windows and glass in the exterior doors allow the outdoor views in – again, making the interior space feel bigger than it really is.  Love that yellow door!


The homeowners aren’t going for historical accuracy – rather they are aiming for comfort and current day conveniences. With that said, all the updates they have made blend beautifully with the classic, architecturally significant characteristics of the house.

The kitchen is sleek with high gloss slab cabinetry, white quartz countertops, and stainless appliances and fixtures.  The minimalist design of the kitchen is perfect for open space living.  It is visible and pleasing but isn’t overwhelming when you enter the front door.


The bathrooms are small, but efficient.  I love the large scale tile.  The pop of that red vanity is the best!


If they would have had gas fireplace inserts back in the 50s, it would have looked just like this.  It is the perfect choice for this mid century modern gem of a house. And – the artwork is a striking focal point in an otherwise mostly neutral space.


The tidy, clean lined shades in the master bedroom filter the west setting sun. The pattern is simple and a nice complement to the outside courtyard view. Nice choice – in my opinion. And the shades look like they were made specifically to go with that art piece…


Finally, we arrive at the DIY peel and stick bamboo wall in the living room.  I love this wall.  I want this wall for my own.  However, it sounds like it wasn’t as easy to install as advertised.  They say it took about 45 minutes to just get the first row or two level and installed – because the wall is not square or straight – oh the joys of old houses.  I wasn’t there for the headache of installation, but I think it was well worth their time and effort.  It’s all soft and warm – and really, really nice…