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Pediatrician-Turned-Furniture Designer Finds Inner Muse In Bridgeport

Marci Klein, founder of Modify Furniture of Bridgeport, works on a desk with custom insets, including her milk-and-cookies tray. Photo Credit: Meredith Guinness
Marci Klein, founder of Modify Furniture, inspects a stand for dog bowls at her Bridgeport factory space. Photo Credit: Meredith Guinness
Modify Furniture is available online. Photo Credit: Facebook
Bud vases by Modify Furniture Photo Credit: Facebook

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — When Marci Klein was a young girl, she loved spending long hours in her basement workshop, tinkering with her dad, an engineer.

“I’ve always been a bit of a creator,” the Fairfield mom said. “I’m always thinking about ways to change things.”

The most recent thing she’s given a makeover is her career. After 20 happy years as a New York University-trained pediatrician, Klein has come back to her first love, founding Modify Furniture in a bright and airy factory space in Bridgeport’s East End.

There, Klein lets her imagination soar, creating customizable, sustainable, mid-century modern components she believes will work well in the home or office. The sleek design often pairs hand-finished, eco-friendly bamboo and powder-coated aluminum and many pieces can be assembled at home, á la a high-end Ikea.

Her signature pieces offer 22 different shapes and modules, some with chic sliding doors that can be customized to a client’s decor or even incorporate artwork.

“I knew I wanted to change my career and I had dabbled in furniture before, so …” the native New Yorker said.

Klein has some materials made off site, but she has the machinery to do much of the work in house, something that gives her a real sense of accomplishment.

It’s a bit of a family affair for Klein, who likes to bounce ideas off her husband, fellow physician David, and her daughter Ayana, 17, who often offers design tips. The youngest Klein, 13-year-old Ethan, has been inspired to design his own skateboard.

To see Klein’s line, customers can visit and browse through everything from coffee tables, chests, storage units and desks to bud vases, a shot glass tray set and even dog bowl stands. Clients get creative by selecting frame and panel options, then leave the building to Modify or have it shipped to be assembled at home.

Modify also has a New York City presence at Broadway Market Co., a pop-up shop in SoHo at 483 Broadway at the corner of Broome Street. She’ll be there through the holiday season.

Klein has kept up her certifications, in case she ever wants to return to medicine.

“I didn’t leave it because I didn’t like it,” she said. “I was very sad to leave. I wanted to make sure I could go back if I wanted to.”

But for now, she’s most content hand sanding and waxing her own creations.

“It gives me the feeling that I’m bringing it to life,” she said.

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