From the roof and exterior to hardwood floors and bedrooms, Corey and Jenna Klein are committed to maintaining their Long Beach home's historic roots while also enhancing some of its old-school features. NewsdayTV's Rachel Weiss reports. Credit: Debbie Egan-Chin; Newsday / Rachel Weiss

Corey Klein was in search of the perfect roof tile: a red — but not too red — clay, barrel-shaped tile to match the rest of his Spanish-style home. When you live in one of these Long Beach gems, its roof is the quintessential asset.

"One of the tiles on the roof had cracked," said Klein, 55. "I had to get another tile, so I bought a brand new red tile. But the problem was, the tiles up there had been sitting and baking in the sun since the 1930s, so they were a different type of color that didn't have that brightness to it."

While biking around Long Beach one day, he noticed one of his neighbors was doing some construction on their house. Part of the job required removing the tiles from their roof, which happened to be the same style as Klein's.

"I stopped and started talking to the man, and he said, 'I’m not putting them back on so if you want any, feel free,'" Klein remembered. "I ended up taking some of the tiles, and we have them hiding in the garage right now. In case we ever have any problems again, I have the old sun-baked tiles to be able to put back on."

Jenna and Corey Klein's Spanish-style home, built in 1930, is one in a series found in Long Beach. Credit: Debbie Egan-Chin

This is just a piece of the work Klein and his wife, Jenna, have put into their historic home over the last few years. Throughout Long Beach, there are handfuls of homes like theirs, and they have become fixtures in the community.

Spanish-style homes have been a part of Long Beach for as long as Klein's family has lived there. His house was built in 1930, which was around the same time his grandparents moved to the same neighborhood.

"I’ve been in Long Beach my whole life; my whole entire family has grown up here, and for the most part still remains here," he said.

Klein grew up less than a mile away from his current house. He would often pass by the Spanish-style homes in his neighborhood, admiring their stained glass windows and signature roofs. He bought his home in 2014 — the previous owner had been using it as a rental property and was moving to Florida, Klein said.

"It was about a year and a half after Superstorm Sandy," said Klein, who is a city court judge in Long Beach. "The downstairs portion had been completely redone, just because of the water damage and things of that nature."

Original details like antique doorknobs and a pink tiled bathroom have been maintained in the home. Credit: Debbie Egan-Chin

Beyond that, the property hadn’t seen any major renovation in decades, he said. Klein and his wife married in 2017, and through the years, they’ve been tackling renovation projects on the house to update and enhance its historic features.

"I pulled up all the carpeting and there were these beautiful, old-school, original hardwood floors," he said. "Now, the whole house has hardwood floors."

He also redid the bedrooms by removing three layers of sheetrock from the walls and installing LED lighting. The two-family house contains four bedrooms and two bathrooms on the main level. The Kleins have a tenant on the downstairs level, which has three bedrooms and one bathroom.

About a year ago, the Kleins decided to renovate the exterior with new stucco siding.

"What happened is that the exterior of the house wasn't really cared for," Klein said. "So that was our big project: Bringing the house back to its old glory."

The Kleins have also preserved all of the house’s wooden doors and old-fashioned knobs. The couple bonded over their love of the original stained glass windows, as well: Jenna’s grandfather crafted stained glass doors in Smithtown for over 30 years, and she used to help out with his business while growing up.

Some of her grandfather’s pieces are around to complement those windows: three lighting fixtures and a mirror in a green stained glass frame.

Light fixtures and a green-framed mirror complement the stained glass windows of the home. Credit: Debbie Egan-Chin

The house has some distinctive quirks, too: Since the walls are made of concrete, you cannot simply bang in a nail to hang a frame on the wall. Everything has to be screwed in with a drill.

"We’re doing a little bit here, a little bit there, and making it a happy home," said Jenna Klein, 46.

Although they’re both passionate about the house’s history, Jenna admitted she was skeptical of her husband's vision when he was looking for that perfect roof tile during the exterior renovation.

"Everybody said to us, 'Why don’t you change the color and do something more modern?' " she said. "But Corey was adamant about keeping the original colors. At first, I was not sure about it. But now I understand why he did it, and I love it."

Up next, Klein hopes to build a backyard deck for the whole family to enjoy in the warmer months, including the three kids: Alexis, 23, Joey, 19, and Brandon, 17.

But the house has already come a long way. Standing across the street on a sunny day, Klein admired that classic red roof and pointed out one little tile that seemed to be a bit brighter, and a darker hue than the rest.

"I ended up leaving just one of the newer tiles," he said with a laugh. "Because I just thought it was funny, and for comparison purposes."

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