Architect Cliff May is credited with designing the post-war California ranch home in the 1930s, opting to build homes out instead of vertically to promote modern livability and function. These iconic homes feature pitched roofs, open living areas and large windows to conjoin indoor and outdoor space. Eight and a half years ago, Lisa and Nick Jackson were looking for a mid-century style home in Berkeley, CA and came across an ad on Craigslist that intrigued them. After receiving only a single image of a rough exterior, the couple thought it might be a scam and decided not to go see the property. A few months later, the same home was on the radar of their realtor who suggested looking at it. What Lisa and Nick found was a gem: The only home Cliff May ever built in Berkeley. It needed some work inside and out, but they knew it was worth it.
Lisa, graphic designer and founder of Good on Paper, her husband Nick, an attorney, and their two boys, Lucas and Theo, live in this bright, beautiful home. When Lisa and Nick first moved in, they got started inside finishing the space. “The previous owners of the house were designers and already had many great things done to it,” Lisa says. “Unfortunately, many of their renovations were unfinished. The house still had its original, mid-50s roof, so that was the first thing we took care of. After we fixed the interior, it was time to tackle the outdoor landscaping. The entire process took about a year and a half.”
The family’s love of mid-century design is mixed with contemporary pieces throughout their home. “We wanted a clean, minimal space that was still warm and inviting. We love mid-century modern style with Scandanavian touches and a California/west coast vibe,” Lisa says. “We knew we wanted to have kids, so the space also had to be baby- and child-friendly. It’s funny: before kids, our space was clean and minimal; now it’s Legos and pillow forts everywhere. We wouldn’t have it any other way, but stepping on those Legos with bare feet is killer!” This unsuspecting house that they originally passed on is now their dream home. Lisa and Nick have taken what Cliff May intended and have made it more functional, charming and creative for their family. –Lauren
Photography by Lisa Jackson