Burke table and chairs
In the lanai game room, which was enclosed years ago, the homeowners play Risk or some of their other 37 board games with friends at their Burke tulip table and chairs. “It’s not a Saarinen, but now Burke is becoming collectible, too,” Ken Klawitter says.

Ken Klawitter and Anthony Edwards found their midcentury modern “Californian” model in the Ranchos neighborhood of Long Beach comprised of Cliff May-designed homes. After ripping out dingy carpeting and heavy curtains (part 1), the pair continued the MCM renovation of their ranch.

Clever Renovating Solutions

Once they removed the offending mirrors and carpet, they decided to have the beamed ceiling and the fireplace sandblasted. The downside of that choice was that the wood and brick surfaces had their texture permanently changed by the process; the upside was they avoided months of stripping and refinishing. “I love wood floors, so I thought if we had a wood ceiling, it’s kind of that same effect,” Klawitter says.

A pony (or partial) wall and a counter separated the kitchen and the small dining room from the living room. When the pair demoed one of the walls, a surprise awaited them: It contained a chase for plumbing and electrical systems. Edwards came through with a good solution, though: Box in the mechanical area and install diner-like U-shaped banquette seating on top with two stainless steel restaurant tables for flexible entertaining.

In the master bedroom, turning a wall with two small original windows into a full expanse of glass transformed the room. Now, exterior doors on opposite sides of the room make the space into an open-air pavilion, and it’s only a half dozen steps from the bed to a peaceful Zen garden or the pool. An important detail was reusing the existing vintage windows along with a door original to another Cliff May home in their tract. This made the remodeled room architecturally coherent with the rest of the house.

Neighborhood Recycling

“We’d see doors and windows on the street that people were throwing away when they were doing improvements,” Klawitter says. “People would say, ‘Go ahead and take them.’ They were excited about getting new windows and doors and we were excited about getting their old ones. These are tract homes and they have the exact same size specifications.”

The pair also replaced sliders in their game room with another pair of recycled Ranchos doors and kept the original tubs in the two baths but installed new toilets, sinks and tile. Then came the best part: furnishing the rooms.


An MCM Renovation in Progress

Discover the eclectic sources of furnishings and art Klawitter and Edwards used to complete their home’s MCM renovation in Part 3.