Welcome to ‘The Bungalow’
Inside a Mattituck couple’s midcentury modern home
On Park Avenue, a forested block in Mattituck with Peconic Bay views, AJ Lang and Louis Marra have created a house that stands out among its neighbors. Surrounded by mostly traditional- styled residences, their flat-roofed, midcentury modern home is the product of the couple’s admiration for an architect’s home in East Hampton, their frequent travels to Palm Springs, Calif., and a love for all things vintage.
The duo are no strangers to the world of design: Lang is a senior partner manager at 1stDibs — the world’s largest online luxury marketplace. His husband, Marra, is co-founder of an online luxury retail store called Maison 24. While living in East Hampton, Marra used to ride his bike around the neighborhood, often passing by the home of architect David Gresham. “I used to peek in while it was being built,” he said. “I was like, this guy is so smart; he’s building the perfect little modern house.”
When it was time to build their own dream home on the North Fork, Marra and Lang recruited Gresham and builder Dan Loos for the task. “We kept saying we’re going to just build a little bungalow,” explained Marra, who was looking to create a weekend spot on the North Fork.
When they stumbled across the Mattituck property in 2017, it was only a wooded lot, but it felt like fate. The property sat on Park Avenue — also the location of Marra’s former retail shop in Manhattan. Another weird coincidence: The street around the corner is named Bungalow Lane.
“We would always say bungalow,” explained Lang. “Everything fell into place so organically.”
Since its completion, the luxurious modern home has become much more than a bungalow, but the name lives on through monogrammed towels and notepads throughout the space.
After breaking ground, it took three years for the space to be move-in ready.
Lang and Marra gave us a tour of “The Bungalow” — a vintage oasis that has since become their forever home.
PORTAL BACK IN TIME WITH VINTAGE DESIGN
When visitors walk up the cantilever steps to enter at the home’s cedar-paneled facade, they’re greeted by a massive pair of midcentury, sunburst-patterned doors. “I call it our portal to a different time,” said Lang. “Once you enter, it’s like a blast from the past.”
Inside, guests are transported back to the ’60s and ’70s. An open plan kitchen and living room with white-washed brick walls give the space an airy feeling, while vintage staples offer pops of color. Notable pieces include a 1960s Adrian Pearsall sofa with built-in planter end tables and a retro styled bar.
“That bar in the corner happens to be one of my favorite pieces,” explained Lang. “I just think it’s so different — it’s a super mod piece that we found in Miami thrown in the corner of a vintage shop, and I was like, ‘How is this still here?’ ”
Down to the very last detail, each room adds to the home’s vintage aesthetic — from Marra’s collection of retro phones scattered around the house to the vintage hair dryer on display in the guest bathroom. They even brew their morning coffee with a Mr. Coffee from the ’70s. “It’s nostalgic, it’s also sustainable,” said Lang about their vintage style. “More than anything, it’s fun.”
DECOR FROM FAR AND NEAR
Marra and Lang love to shop local — wherever they are. On vacations, they often end up in vintage shops, leaving with pieces to bring home. “Travel has played a huge part in here,” explained Lang. “Inspiration — yes, but everything is also kind of from a different place where we’ve been in the world.”
“One of our favorite places is Palm Springs,” added Marra, who explained that almost half their furniture comes from the desert city. “We think of this as our Palm Springs feeling on the East Coast.” A hub for midcentury architecture and design, the place inspired features like the couple’s carport and retro address sign. Most of their artwork is also from Palm Springs, like the groovy prints hanging in their downstairs lounge and the vintage Marimekko stretch canvas hanging in one of their guest rooms.
“That might have been the craziest thing we bought in Palm Springs and had to ship back,” explained Marra. After purchasing the painting, they learned that the dealer didn’t ship. On the trip home, he said, “AJ held it in the convertible up like a sail.”
“Even with Louis driving at 20 miles an hour, the wind was coming at me…and I almost let go,” explained Lang. “The piece would have gone flying.”
The bungalow also showcases pieces from the North Fork’s many vintage shops. Two burnt orange Knoll chairs from Black Whale are staple pieces in their living room, while an astrology sign tapestry from The Times Vintage in Greenport hangs in the foyer. Each week, they also decorate their dining room table with fresh daisies from Mattituck Florist.
BRINGING THE OUTSIDE IN
At 1,600 square feet, which is smaller than the average single-family home in the U.S., Marra and Lang’s house feels larger, with innovative design that brings the outdoors in. In almost every room, enormous floor-to-ceiling windows bring in both light and picturesque views. A lush Japanese umbrella tree stands behind a full-length window in the main bathroom shower, framing the main hallway. “I just love standing at the end of the hallway and seeing a wall of green,” said Lang. In the master bath shower, a sliding glass door opens to an outdoor shower — a feature that the couple uses almost three seasons out of the year.
The entire back wall of the living room is made up of sliding glass doors, which open to create an indoor-outdoor entertainment area. The white-washed brick in the living room extends to the outside, lengthening the space. “You can see the brick wall looks like it continuously just runs right through the glass,” explained Lang. Serving the same purpose, porcelain tiles make up the indoor and outdoor flooring.
Inside, a Gyrofocus fireplace, the same model that was exhibited in New York’s Guggenheim Museum in 1998, is suspended from the ceiling. It pivots 360 degrees to be enjoyed from the couple’s outdoor seating area and intimate cocktail pool.
IT’S ALL ABOUT MIXING
The key to creating a luxury modern home for less is mixing, explained Marra. To keep costs down in the kitchen, they purchased their cabinets from Ikea, then wrapped them in Mozambique wood. In several rooms, they paired vintage designer pieces with furniture from more modern, conventional furniture stores. Their outdoor dining table, for example, is a 108-inch, custom built Richard Schulz piece from the 1960s, while the chairs are from CB2. “You wouldn’t really ever know once it’s all paired together,” said Lang. “Then, of course, you get a giant Daisy ball sculpture, put it on top, and call it a day.”