Behind the Vashon Wine Shop, Islander Mathilda Oldham has transformed an old garage into Vashon Vintage, a colorful store where Islanders can find updated, not-so-new items for their homes.
Brimming with everything from painted dining tables to dinnerware in bold, primary colors, the store carries a collection of items Oldham intends to fit everyone’s budget.
“It’s really important to me that people can actually shop here,” she said.
People have been doing just that since she opened in the beginning of July.
“I stuck the sign out and thought we’ll see what happens,” she said. “It went crazy.”
Oldham estimates the entire stock of the store has turned over three times since its opening.
“I cannot believe the couches and tables and dressers and chairs we have hauled out of here,” she added.
One of the former tenants of the former Old and Fungqui, Oldham said she was joined in this new venture by three other women who sublease space from her, each of whom has an individual style reflected in the store.
Sandy Champion has a traditional Americana style with furnishings that some might expect in a woodsy cabin: a red and black plaid loveseat, for example, and a small desk and drawer in a deep brown with twig-like drawer pulls; Tonia Kinnear, whose style is serene and stylish: lamps with amber beads, a bookshelf with simple, clean lines; and Alexis Daniels, who has only a small amount in the store now, but will bring more in closer to the holidays and has a quirky, versatile style.
Oldham said that her own tastes are eclectic, but things must be functional to appeal to her. And it is her own taste she goes by when selecting items — it has to be something she would like to live with.
“If I don’t like it, I don’t buy it,” she said, sitting at a lavender dining room table in the front of the store.
Oldham and the other women hunt for their offerings at garage sales, estate sales and second hand shops and sometimes scavenge items free on the roadside and even, a time or two, at the dump. The neglected items benefit a creative eye and rejuvenating techniques — sanding, stripping, painting, staining and minor construction repairs, among others.
It’s important to Oldham that the items in the store are quality items.
“We don’t want to sell junk,” she said. “We don’t want people to have to fix it themselves.”
Oldham, originally from The Netherlands, is no stranger to owning and running a business. She lived in Seattle before moving to Vashon when her now-grown children were young and had a store for six years on Post Alley near Pike Place Market. It was called Alley Kids and carried high-quality cotton children’s clothing–back when cotton clothing was hard to find for that age group.
But the work that she is doing now had been a passion for her for a long time, she said, one that her friends have always told her she should do professionally.
“I’m a real industrious kind of person,” she said. “I like working with my hands.”
Vashon Vintage is located at 17123 Vashon Highway and is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Store hours may change during the winter.