Sunday, January 15, 2012

Cliff May and the ranch

I have always enjoyed the work of architect Cliff May, the man who gave us the modern California ranch house. Perhaps he wasn't the first to introduce a non traditional approach to the ranch but he sure made it his own.

These two rooms show how May was able to edit out what wasn't
needed in design. Simple and straight forward. By deconstructing the
building and exposing the structure he is able to give us an intimate
knowledge of how a shelter comes together.
All of May's homes have a similar feel of being
grounded and part of the surrounding landscape.
Here is a restored 1952 ranch that fits like a glove
into it's wooded site. The contribution that California
architect Bernard Maybeck had on May is very
evident with this house.

Despite Maybeck's arts and crafts style, many of the details
from his work can be found in Mays.  Similarities such as
board and batten siding, low pitched roofs and deep roof
overhangs can be spotted in May's mid century work.
Above are two examples of Maybeck's California work.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Very smart

Fun, economical and a lot of hard work. As they say in Maine, 'some cunnin'.   Bad Beaver Farm - Part1

Taking the hands on approach.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Buffalo Bill slept here

While traveling through eastern Wyoming we passed Pahaska Tepee Lodge, the 1904 hunting lodge built by Buffalo Bill Cody. The Lodge was mostly used as a stop over for people visiting Yellowstone National Park but also as a base for Cody's back country expeditions. The the main lodge is crafted using local Ponderosa Pine (Pinus ponderosa) and has some very interesting construction features that occur when building material is plentiful.

Pahaska Tepee Lodge entrance, c. 2011
Pahaska Tepee Lodge, c.1940
On the side porch new tongue & groove flooring has been
added to the original half log decking. Hopefully this will be
restored to the appropriate deck at some point in the future.
Here, Cody stands on the same porch.
Under foot is the half  log decking minus
the applied modern tongue & groove.
Half log steps with a somewhat strange corner post repair.
A side door was very sturdily
built with sawn Ponderosa Pine.
I was very tempted to remove the
inappropriate sign.
The joints are dovetailed,
making a very permanent connection.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Friday, May 27, 2011


What's not to like about lichen?  If we could only get it to grow on our cars, pavement, and all things plastic.

Stone seat. Northeast Harbor, Maine.

Exposed ledge. Northeast Harbor, Maine.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Bourbon Shack

Heading south, we had our final stop over. Our friends Barry Archung and Rick Benoit were kind to put us up for the night before we flew out the next day. Barry is a landscape designer and the most knowledgeable plants-man I've ever known. Spending one hour with him will teach you more than a month of hard study. At their beautiful  home they created a small outpost known as the Bourbon Shack. It's non-electrified and heated by wood stove, it is the ultimate in charming and we wanted to spend the night there. It's a one room cottage with board and batten siding and a ceder shingle roof. The interior walls are open to the studs and underside of the roof shows the ship sheathing and ceder shingles. All wood and no paint except the door. To top it off the piers that support the cabin are granite posts.

The bourbon Shack seen from
the garden patio.
Granite piers, granite steps and a
sliding barn door. There are always
potted plants ready for planting on
this large Marblehead, Ma. lot.
The sign was painted by Milissa
Hudak as a cabin warming.

About Me

I am a landscape designer based in Key West, Florida and Surry, Maine. I place much attention with the house, not as an adjunct to the garden but as an integral element. This symbiotic relationship will always produce the best and most natural environment. The best description for my views on the relationship between the garden and the house comes from the naturalist Charles Keeler, “landscape design with occasional rooms in case of rain”