Two Whitefish-area business owners find a parallel approach to their design and business philosophy
Located in Whitefish the Bungalow is a lifestyle store featuring the floral and botanical work of owner & floral designer Jill Lamberson. Succulents, cacti, and lush fern botanicals fill the sun room of the original 1905 Whitefish bungalow. A curated selection of 18th to 20th century antiques are also displayed amidst the unusual fresh cuts sold by the stem and the natural Bungalow Bouquets. Jill says, “Displaying flowers in an open-air style allows the customer to see them in a natural setting, really helping them visualize the display in their own space; plus it gives the shop an absolutely unforgettable aroma.” She enthusiastically talks about her love of organic elements like bark, stone, moss, and lichen-covered branches, and how she is constantly striving to incorporate ‘nature’s artwork’ not only into her everyday designs, but also into weddings and larger-scale custom installations.
“Unusual and unexpected—Those are two words I hear on a regular basis describing my work,” explains the designer. The combination of antique pottery, artisanal-made housewares, and Bungalow-made hypertufa planters provide a diverse and engaging shopping experience. Jill says, “It’s about building trust with every person who walks through the door. My customers trust that I am sourcing (or making) the best of any given product and creating a truly curated selection for them. It gives me a lot of joy and satisfaction to constantly be introducing people to something new and different. The majority of my cliental are seasonal residents and I consistently hear things like, ‘I can’t even get this where I live’ or, ‘I have shops like this at home (Santa Barbara or San Francisco etc.), but it’s so unexpected in Whitefish!’”
The Bungalow also exclusively features the custom furnishings of Charles Allen Designs. A trademark of the Whitefish area furniture designer’s work is the reclaimed material that is incorporated into each piece. “Taking material that is no longer needed for its original use,” says Charles of his work, “and making it into a functional piece of art is the epitome of reusing, recycling, and sustainability. And the unique characteristics in each piece of furniture ensures that each piece I make is one-of-a-kind.”
Charles goes on to talk about how furniture has become disposable. “I think a person feels if they can find something that looks halfway descent, they can live with it for a few years until they decide to update and move on to something new. I really want to revive the concept of handmade heirloom quality pieces that will not only give the original owner a lifetime of functionality and beauty but will do the same for whomever they are passed on to.” Drawing inspiration from the early 20th century craftsmen of the Arts & Crafts era, Charles finds simple and clean lines create a timeless look, never out of style despite whatever trends may come and go. A 25-year veteran of the industry, Charles enjoys taking a hands-on approach; he works directly with clients, listens to their needs, and builds trust. Collaborating from the beginning phases of concept and design through the building process, he finds the task of “taking a client’s vision and idea and giving it back to them in the design and the finished product is extremely rewarding and satisfying.”
Going hand in hand with the artisanal made products promoted at The Bungalow, Jill says, “There is such a natural, uncontrived style to his furnishings; they fit perfectly with everything that The Bungalow offers. I am very proud to retail his work in the shop.”
Benefiting from the constantly growing and changing demographic of Whitefish both businesses have garnered not only a loyal local following, but also clients from around the country and Canada. “We strive to go above and beyond and to deliver unmatched quality in both of our respective businesses. We feel very privileged to do what we do in a place that offers endless inspiration.”