Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Bungalow

Yesterday I went to my favorite store in Laguna Beach.

The Bungalow holds a lot of history for me. About 13 years ago, I lived in Southern California and Saturday morning trips to the Bungalow were the one of the highlights of my stay here.

The Bungalow had an always-changing inventory that was filled with cheerfully painted and distressed estate-sale furniture given new life by their creative and lively refurbishment. Colors ranged from lobster red, to sea shell pink, lime green, deep sea blue and of course, bright clean white.

The Bungalow was closed so this is a photo through the front window

My close friend was decorating her new beach house at the time and I watched as she picked out one-of-a-kind mirrors, beds, nightstands, dressers, lamps and footstools. The cottage style furniture gave her home an old-soul character that could not be duplicated by new off-the-shelf merchandise.

Photo from Cottage Furniture down the street.

This excited me on so many levels and I dreamed of opening my own Bungalow store some day. I moved back to Utah and then to Connecticut but the Bungalow’s influence stayed with me. My decorating took on a cottage style and I hunted down estate-sale furniture to paint and distress for my own home. About five years latter, while on vacation, I purchased a bench from the Bungalow, made from a twin bed headboard and footboard. It was the one thing that really reminded me of the store. I am so glad that I bought the bench at that time because the Bungalow has since changed.

Photo from Cottage Furniture down the street.

While they still sell cottage style furniture, it is no longer the refurbished or colorful kind. Most everything is white. There are a few antiques and pieces of original art but the rest of their merchandise feels very stagnant, stale, and (heaven forbid) new. Sigh. There is something so fun about the old Bungalow style. Nothing had to be perfect, expensive, or matchy. Dings and scratches were welcomed and added depth and character.

Photo from Cottage Furniture down the street.

My style has changed and evolved since then too. Perhaps the east coast has had it’s influence on me as well. I still love the Bungalow and go there every time I visit Southern California. I always miss it when I drive up the Pacific Coast Highway for the first time. I have to turn around and look again. For a minute or two I think that it is gone and I mourn the Saturday mornings that are so far in the past. It makes me feel good when I discover that the Bungalow is still there like my own personal landmark, reminding me of a place in time that helped to shape who I have become.


kristengus said...

Oh, love it!!! When you go to Phoenix next time, you've got to visit both The Crowded House in Mesa and the Potato Barn in Gilbert. They have a rich feel- one old world and the other sort of updated Victorian. I'd suggest The Old Brick House, but I think they just closed. So sad....

Melissa Beykirch said...

How did you know this is my favorite too!!! Crazy! I will be there in about 3 weeks, I will say hello for you again!


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