7. December 2012 14:46
San Diego’s legacy neighborhoods, including La Jolla, Mission Hills, Kensington, Talmadge and Coronado, feature some fine specimens of architect Cliff May. The homes are sought after by architectural enthusiasts. Fantastic curb appeal and vintage charm define these structures built between 1932 to 1980.
A decision early in May’s life may not have afforded thousands of southern California homeowners the joy of living in a Cliff May home. He started out with a love of music, and played the saxophone. He had a band that was formed when he was in high school, the Cliff May Orchestra. They were quite popular, and landed gigs at the El Cortez Hotel, the Hotel del Coronado and the Cocoanut Grove in LA. In 1927 the Cliff May Orchestra played at the Hotel del Coronado for Charles Lindbergh at a celebration of the aviators solo flight across the Atlantic. What appeared to be an obvious career path changed drastically when his father encouraged him to enroll in college and give up the band. He only lasted 2 years in college, but in that brief time he designed and built furniture. May married the daughter of a prominent San Diego builder, Roy C. Lichty. It was Lichty the builder that helped May transition into the master architect that would define an iconic California style in home design.
May’s signature design stroke was the birth of the California ranch house, with a large entry courtyard complimenting a U-shaped house. Essentially, all the rooms of the house had direct access to the courtyard. Other highlights: red tiles haphazardly placed one on top of the other on the roof, a terra cota pot on top of the chimneys, wooden window grilles, rough hewn wood lintels over windows and doors both inside and out, and thick wooden garage doors. Cliff May was offered a business collaborative based in Los Angeles, which he accepted and in 1938 his home building business was born and thrived for decades. He passed away in 1989 but his vision will live on for years to come.
3. January 2012 14:34
On Christmas Eve, in the middle of the day, chaos ensued at the Whole Foods Market on University Avenue in San Diego. Too many shoppers, with too many cars, were creating gridlock/ Despite the valet parking service as well as the traffic control officers hired for the day, it was the price of doing food shopping that day at that store. On New Years Eve, in the middle of the day, the REI store on Copley Drive drew so many buyers that the check out line stretched around the store and held steady under the kayak section and into the shoe section. The estimated wait time to reach a cashier was 35 to 40 minutes. On New Years Day, the Hotel del Coronado was not serving meals to non-guests. “We are not accepting walk-ins,” announced the hostess at the 1500 Ocean restaurant, “Only guests of the hotel are being served.” These are all signs of consumption by consumers with confidence. Of course, this bodes well for how we perceive the economy and thus how we spend our money. In real estate, inventory is low in most neighborhoods. Along with interest rates at the lowest they have ever been, this points to an improved value for existing homeowners. For starters, 2012 bodes well.