Cliff May Homes RM 3212

Denver, Colorado
Location
  • Denver, Colorado
  • Structure
  • House (Single Residence)
  • Type
  • Midcentury
  • Year
  • 1955
  • Square Feet
  • 1245
  • Lot Size
  • 7,030 Square Feet
  • Bedrooms
  • 3
  • Full Baths
  • 1
  • Partial Baths
  • 1
  • This project page was created by community member

    Southwest Denver’s Harvey Park neighborhood is home to the largest tract of Cliff May prefab houses outside of California. When real estate broker Adrian Kinney and his partner purchased one in 2013, their intent was to flip it and move on; instead they fell in love with the house, stayed for a few years, and Kinney was so inspired by the design of the house, that he now specializes in Denver’s mid-century modern real estate and design. He was even recognized with the Mayor’s Design Award in 2016 for his renovation on the house; for which all of the design work was his.

    One of 170 prefabs manufactured by Cliff May Homes (designed by Cliff May and architect Chris Choate) and erected by a local builder in 1955, this house was one of the L-shaped plans offered by the company, which included a main wing with living areas and two bedrooms, adjoined by a wing containing a private master suite. May’s intent with these houses was to blur the lines between indoor and outdoor living by situating the house within a private courtyard surrounded by a fence, and having many doorways leading outside, including one from the master suite.

    A small fountain in the courtyard provides soothing white noise and is visible from inside the house through glass walls. The indoor-outdoor connection is improved by replacing the original stile-and-rail wood windows with full panels of glass the span the house’s 64" grid of posts.

    The original kitchen pony wall was taken down, and a new kitchen island added in its place, making for a single, open, and informal great room, which is large enough for entertaining, but not so large that it feels overwhelming. This is one of the real successes of Cliff May’s prefab houses; modest size houses that have a real human scale to them.

    New wood paneling warms up both the bedroom and living room, working together with the re-finished original oak floors. A tremendous amount of natural light comes in through the full height glass, and the “glass gables,” clerestory windows under the eaves that can be found in the living room and all three bedrooms.

    From the street, the original board-and-batten fence was replaced, and the house’s original carport received a uniquely designed gate, complete with a remote-controlled opener. An address monument matching the characteristic angle of the Cliff May Homes roof was installed in the foreground. The overall composition of the house demonstrates another philosophy of Cliff May; that the house should not be trying to impress with grandeur and scale; but rather should fade into the landscape; a backdrop to the informal Californian living that he was bringing to Colorado.

    From the street, large trees provide shade to the private courtyard in the summer. A unique remote-controlled gate has been added to the house’s original carport. A new address monument matches the angle of the house’s roof. Photo  of Cliff May Homes RM 3212 modern home

    From the street, large trees provide shade to the private courtyard in the summer. A unique remote-controlled gate has been added to the house’s original carport. A new address monument matches the angle of the house’s roof.

    The transparency of the house’s glass walls is clear at dusk. Photo 2 of Cliff May Homes RM 3212 modern home

    The transparency of the house’s glass walls is clear at dusk.

    Clear panels of glass replace the original stile-and-rail wood windows, taking advantage of the house’s post-and-beam structure to make for a seamless connection between indoors and out.  Photo 3 of Cliff May Homes RM 3212 modern home

    Clear panels of glass replace the original stile-and-rail wood windows, taking advantage of the house’s post-and-beam structure to make for a seamless connection between indoors and out.

    The house’s outdoor living room. Photo 4 of Cliff May Homes RM 3212 modern home

    The house’s outdoor living room.

    A water feature gurgles between the carport and house. The sounds of running water is enhanced as it bounces off of the various hard surfaces around it. Photo 5 of Cliff May Homes RM 3212 modern home

    A water feature gurgles between the carport and house. The sounds of running water is enhanced as it bounces off of the various hard surfaces around it.

    The house’s original post-and-beam carport includes a lockable storage shed and a new remote-controlled gate. Photo 6 of Cliff May Homes RM 3212 modern home

    The house’s original post-and-beam carport includes a lockable storage shed and a new remote-controlled gate.

    Rain chains have replaced downspouts in this house. Photo 7 of Cliff May Homes RM 3212 modern home

    Rain chains have replaced downspouts in this house.

    Behind the house is a large lawn, providing plenty of room for the couple’s dogs to play. Photo 8 of Cliff May Homes RM 3212 modern home

    Behind the house is a large lawn, providing plenty of room for the couple’s dogs to play.

    The great room. Photo 9 of Cliff May Homes RM 3212 modern home

    The great room.

    A new island replaces the house’s original pony wall, and new IKEA cabinets fit nicely into the spare design of the house. A pocket door next to the refrigerator conceals a small pantry. Photo 10 of Cliff May Homes RM 3212 modern home

    A new island replaces the house’s original pony wall, and new IKEA cabinets fit nicely into the spare design of the house. A pocket door next to the refrigerator conceals a small pantry.

    IKEA frameless cabinets fit nicely into the house’s minimal design. Photo 11 of Cliff May Homes RM 3212 modern home

    IKEA frameless cabinets fit nicely into the house’s minimal design.

    A new island replaces the house’s original pony wall, and new IKEA cabinets fit nicely into the spare design of the house. A pocket door next to the refrigerator conceals a small pantry. Photo 12 of Cliff May Homes RM 3212 modern home

    A new island replaces the house’s original pony wall, and new IKEA cabinets fit nicely into the spare design of the house. A pocket door next to the refrigerator conceals a small pantry.

    New wood paneling compliments the original brick of the fireplace. Original indirect lighting in the soffits above the wall has been maintained. Photo 13 of Cliff May Homes RM 3212 modern home

    New wood paneling compliments the original brick of the fireplace. Original indirect lighting in the soffits above the wall has been maintained.

     Photo 14 of Cliff May Homes RM 3212 modern home
    Wood paneling has been added to the narrow hallway that leads to the master suite. Photo 15 of Cliff May Homes RM 3212 modern home

    Wood paneling has been added to the narrow hallway that leads to the master suite.

    Starbursts accent the wall in one of the house’s bedrooms. Even in this bedroom, where this is no-full height glass, ample light comes in through the glass gable and two 5'-wide windows. Photo 16 of Cliff May Homes RM 3212 modern home

    Starbursts accent the wall in one of the house’s bedrooms. Even in this bedroom, where this is no-full height glass, ample light comes in through the glass gable and two 5'-wide windows.

    The house’s main bathroom, renovated with new fixtures and finishes. Photo 17 of Cliff May Homes RM 3212 modern home

    The house’s main bathroom, renovated with new fixtures and finishes.

    Wood paneling and a vintage clock make for a sophisticated and cozy master suite. Photo 18 of Cliff May Homes RM 3212 modern home

    Wood paneling and a vintage clock make for a sophisticated and cozy master suite.

    All of the bedrooms in Cliff May’s prefabs are small; even the master suite. Photo 19 of Cliff May Homes RM 3212 modern home

    All of the bedrooms in Cliff May’s prefabs are small; even the master suite.

    The renovated master bath. A tub has been removed to make room for a new glass shower. Photo 20 of Cliff May Homes RM 3212 modern home

    The renovated master bath. A tub has been removed to make room for a new glass shower.