Wende Cohen left her job in Ad Sales for American Express in the City and moved to Connecticut as a new mom, she found herself considering a fresh professional start. She hadn’t yet figured out what this new chapter would look like but, at the time, she gave herself room to figure it out.
It wasn’t until she went on a trip to England, with her mother-in-law, an antiques dealer that she realized that she had a passion and eye for pieces with style and history. But unlike her mother-in-law, who owned an antiques shop in Palm Beach and served a more mature and traditional crowd, Wende gravitated towards hipper and more modern pieces. “I got off the plane and headed to a huge fair in Newark, England, and proceeded to run around the fields frantically buying things before other dealers got to them,” she explained. “As I was carrying a unique beautiful pair of blue metal bistro tables, a well-known dealer approached me and said that he saw my buying stickers on a lot of items and thought that I had a great eye.” That was when he gave her the idea of opening up her own store that sold antiques to a younger and hipper crowd. Soon afterward, Bungalow was conceived and has been part of the Westport community since 1996.
Bungalow’s physical space, though, has recently gone through a complete transformation. The modern farmhouse-style building has been gutted, opened up and given a contemporary makeover that fits Wende’s original vision. “One of the features we added was an informal kitchen,” she said. “We like everyone to feel comfortable, and we can now offer space to have a meeting or just grab a latte or glass of wine!” The kitchen is an example of Wende’s expansion of the brand, where the home-like space offers customers a complete shopping experience. She explained, “the island is custom made in England and can be ordered at table or bar height, in any size with a ton of marble and finishing options. The overhead lights are from France and can be purchased in different colors, sizes and shapes. The stools and glassware are from Belgium and can be ordered in varying sizes and shapes.”