It’s been almost a year since Carol and Chuck Ahlfors purchased Blooms & Things, a cozy flower shop located on Vashon’s busiest corner.
Now, the owners of the family-run shop are branching out, offering not only flowers and plants but also work by some of Vashon’s talented artists.
“This is more than a flower shop,” said Carol Ahlfors on a recent rainy afternoon. “People come in and sometimes they buy things, sometimes not, but there are always interesting things to look at.”
Ahlfor said she has slowly begun to bring art and other home decor, handcrafted by local artists and artisans, to the walls, shelves and floor of her shop. Most of the work is there on consignment, an arrangement that makes it possible for her to feature work in a wide range of prices.
There are polished and gorgeously grained pieces from Island furniture maker Jack Stewart, including a coffee table and bench crafted from Island cherry wood and a darker, more traditional-looking walnut sideboard. Some of Stewart’s work is embellished with steel fasteners and accents created by another Islander, Daron Buxton.
Raku-fired vases and other porcelain pieces by Lisa DeFaccio are also prominently displayed in the shop.
“Lisa’s stuff is so perfect,” said Andie Ahlfors, who also works at Blooms and is the daughter of Carol and Chuck Ahlfors.
DeFaccio’s delicate, pa-per-thin pottery features shapes, curlicues and colors often found in the plant and marine worlds — a set of gracefully nesting plates looks like a stack of cabbage leaves, while an intricate black and white vase is reminiscent of a shell that might be found on an Island beach.
Blooms & Things exclusively sells DeFaccio’s work on Vashon; her pottery is only available at one other shop in San Francisco.
The store also carries origami flowers and other paper works by Alice Larson, lamps and vases by artist Susan Garlick and whimsical assemblages created by Sheila Park.
There is also a wide assortment of note cards with images by Island photographers.
Carol Ahlfors said she’s loves having work by Island artists in the shop, and that doing so complements the main focus of Blooms & Things — to sell as many locally grown flowers and plants as possible.
“Our business is 75 percent floral and 25 percent other things,” she said. “I really wanted to have things that were Island-related without competing with the Heron’s Nest across the hall — I just love beautiful decorative accessories.”
Andie Ahlfors added that customer response to the works by Island artists has been enthusiastic.
“This is a work in progress,” she said. “But what we like is community — no one likes to buy stuff made in China.”
Of course, Blooms & Things customers can also find a wealth of Vashon-grown flowers and plants in the shop. There is also a large selection of dried wreaths, all created with Island flowers, on sale at Blooms.
“I buy from a lot of the Island growers. A lot of my cut flowers are Island people, and I also have a wonderful garden I love to share,” Carol Ahlfors said. “I feel really proud every time I can say these flowers were grown on Vashon.”