The Bungalow, a small house or cozy cottage, a home that this neighborhood is very familiar with. Our new neighbors at Modern Bungalow have created a comfortable and inviting space brimming with custom furniture and craftsman decor. Owner, Matt Hubbard has a rule for furniture, “I don’t suffer for style.”  We had the pleasure of learning more about this new space that he and his wife, Danielle, have thoughtfully curated. 

How did you both find yourselves as owners of Modern Bungalow and what did you do before?

We had a baby later in life and decided to take some time off, to enjoy and decide what we wanted to be when we grew up. Danielle was an energy trader. I was in banking industry tech.

I started looking at different sites online where people list businesses they want to sell. I would look at the financials and business plan, and think about what would be the way to rebuild them, or grow them, or if they were doomed. Eventually it became something that Danielle and I talked a lot about. We decided this was something we could do together, and if we were going to work hard again, it might as well be for ourselves. We are a couple of MBA’s so we were industry agnostic. Eventually we came up with the list of what we were looking for: A retiring owner, a loyal customer base, and a great product.

We met the soon-to-be retiring, owners of Modern Bungalow through a mutual friend. We were taken with the products! The furniture and rugs were stunning and unlike anything else we’d ever seen. After the meeting we asked ourselves, “We bought a dining room table just the year before: Why didn’t we buy it here?” The answer was – ‘Because we didn’t know they existed.’ And that was the spark: This sense that Modern Bungalow is a local treasure no one knew about. We knew we needed to bring this to everyone!

What sparked the move from your previous location on Colorado Blvd to your stunning new location on Old South Gaylord Street?

We always knew we were going to have to move the store. Denver had changed over the last 19 years, and we were no longer in our demographic footprint. When people came in our old location there was a bit of dissonance between the beauty inside and the dated strip mall outside. If we were going to grow we needed to make ourselves more findable for new customers. The strip mall had become a deterrent we needed to overcome.

Danielle set out to find where our customers came from. We knew they didn’t live in University Hills. So we mapped every address we had delivered furniture to in the last 5 years. About 60% came from the historic neighborhoods: Park Hill, Congress Park & Wash Park. Of that, about 60% came from Wash Park. So we put a pin at the corner of University and Ohio St., wanting to get as close to that spot as possible.

1028 S. Gaylord street was serendipity. It’s rare that this size opens up on this block. We happened to be actively looking when word came that the space would be opening up, and we were able to move on it very quickly. It was also a huge project. We had to de-restaurant the space, bring it up to code, and expand out the secret second floor. It also helped that we were not afraid of such a huge project… or we were naive to how big the project would truly be.

Gaylord St. is a perfect location for us. There is so much walking traffic in the heart of our core customers. Our neighbors have been super welcoming!

Speaking of your new location, the building you’re in is rich with history. Can you give us a glimpse into the back story?

Our building was originally built in 1925 as a silent movie theater. It was one of the furthest out theaters from central Denver, and cost $8000 to build. Danielle wrote up a nice bit on our blog about it. Check our site for a more in-depth look at this space.

Like any old building this one has had many lives: Live theatre, shopping mall, hair salon, movie house. Most people now know this location as a restaurant, as it’s been several over the last 20 years.

We’ve done our best to keep the original beauty, like restoring the brick in the front of the building, including where the original iron awning had been supported. We wish that hadn’t been taken down! Our mason found some salvage brick from Denver foundries at the same period, so that was lucky. We also had a local artist from the neighborhood paint a mural on the back of the building. We wanted to add some beauty while highlighting that we have customer parking in the back. We really want our store to feel like a home, so we also put wood floors throughout.

For anyone reading who is not familiar with your store, tell us what you specialize in and what sets you apart.

When we took over the store, we knew the terrible experience that shopping for furniture can be. Sometimes it feels like buying a used car. It became our mission to create the company we wanted to work for, and the store we wanted to shop in. We spent a lot of time cultivating a knowledgeable staff and making the store a relaxed and enjoyable place.

We maintained the basics of the business: Stunning wood furniture, made of solid North American hardwoods, built by our Amish builders; our upholstered sofas and sectionals from Canada with some of the best construction we’ve ever seen. Highly customizable, beautiful fabrics, solid frames, and a 25 year warranty to prove it. Hand-knotted wool rugs from Nepal and India which will enrich every room and last 100 years. We don’t have to waffle or qualify when people ask questions about where things come from, what they’re made of or how long they will last. We know we have the best.

You won’t find much grey and white in our shop. We aren’t slaves to Mission style, but we love the Craftsman ethos of using natural materials and colors from nature that evoke a warmth and coziness that really make a home, well, a home!

Your inventory is stunning, but some of us need help with the design and set up of rooms. Do you offer design services?

We have several great interior designers that we work with and refer our clients to regularly, depending on exactly what they’re looking for. I’m happy to make introductions, but we believe people are better at choosing for their home then they think. Setting up a room is fine for catalogs and magazines, but have you ever noticed that those pictures don’t have people in them? I have a 7 year old. There are no perfectly staged rooms in my house.

Since most everything in our store is made from natural materials and the colors come from nature, it’s easy to harmonize and know that pretty much everything looks great together.  I often tell people to think about your home one piece at a time. Let it evolve with you and your style will follow. My staff and I can guide you to understand what your choices are and how they can fit together, so you can build your home exactly as you want it.

How have you managed to juggle this move during a pandemic all while parenting?

Badly? That’s probably the most honest answer. We got through the pandemic the same way everyone else did: weight gain and too much caffeine and wine. As far as the move goes: we relied on our staff. Our store manager Diana was a force when it came to organizing and setting up the store. We also had a new staff member Katie,  who started right into the chaos but brought such a positive attitude she raised everyone’s spirits. Our warehouse manager AC came out of retirement to get things done for us. Plus we had a few friends come to help us get set up. (Thanks, Mike!) It’s not possible to ever accomplish anything like this alone. We worked hard, but our team worked harder. We worked days, nights and plenty of overtime.

When you’re not in the store, how do you spend your free time?

I’m a movie buff and still enjoy going to the theater. Danielle is a reader and consumes books at an alarming rate. We very much enjoy traveling and spending time with our friends. And occasionally a good

poker game.

What can we expect from you in the future?

Mainly we’re looking to get settled in Wash Park and hear what our neighbors have to say. We want to serve the community, and refine our collection with more of the character of the neighborhood. The great thing about working with the incredible craftspeople we do is that we can design pretty much anything and have it built for you. So we’re definitely listening to suggestions that our customers want to see.

We want to create the same experience online that we have in the store. Our customers are on a buying journey that involves in-person and online research. We want to make our online experience as cohesive and as inviting as visiting the store. 

Visit Modern Bungalow at 1028 S. Gaylord St. and stay for a while. Our new neighbors Matt and Danielle are welcoming and knowledgeable.