Sandra Chhuon, owner of The Vintage Company No. 7, is sure spoken and wise beyond her 29 years, a vision of passion-driven entrepreneurship with bright red shoes and paint on her skirt. “There’s nothing I own that doesn’t have paint on it,” she confesses. “I can’t control myself sometimes.” When the daily need to paint furniture strikes, Chhuon dives in no matter the outfit.
This joy-centered creative enthusiasm permeates every square inch of The Vintage Company No. 7, which is tucked into Bothell’s charming Country Village, where chickens and ducks walk amongst shoppers and around every corner waits a new hidden treasure, be it a shop, windmill, or water feature.
Chhuon and many of her store’s other vendors specialize in giving classic furniture pieces a new lease on life with a smart, stylish fresh coat of paint, new hardware, and sometimes re-imagined features. Inside the shop you’ll also find a mix of vintage and handcrafted home and garden decor, sign art, accessories, candles, bath accoutrements, paper products, and other lovely tidbits. With nine inventive vendors arranged throughout the two-story space, you won’t be disappointed with the selection. Though all the items at arm’s reach may be unique, collectively they all tell a vintage chic story.
Chhuon’s own story of creativity began in early childhood when she would help her dad make furniture. In high school she designed and sold handmade greeting cards when she wasn’t hanging out with her friends, who would frequent Country Village. She often thought to herself, “I’m going to have a store here one day.” Maybe this seems like the pie-in-the-sky thoughts of youth, but not in Chhuon’s case.
She paused her creative endeavors to study computer science and business administration at Edmonds Community College, and after school, dove straight into corporate life with a determined resolve to be successful. As the years progressed she held good jobs but found her life was missing an essential element, so her definition of success began to shift.
A couple major life events then followed. The first was when she moved into her first home with her then boyfriend, now fiancé. Having a limited budget and no furniture they began snatching up thrift store finds that Chhuon would restore with elbow grease, paint, and imagination. This lead to an “obsession,” as she calls it, which lasted well after furnishing their home.
The second life event occurred after being laid off, along with the rest of her professional unit, at her well paying corporate job. With some severance pay, a wide-open calendar, and a renewed passion in furniture, the moment to open her own shop had arrived. “I went through four corporate jobs without being happy,” Chhuon sighed. “I knew it was a huge risk, but I had to take it, and I have been so completely happy over the store ever since. I think ‘having it all’ is just being happy, whatever that looks like to you.”
Anytime is a good time to be happy at The Vintage Company No. 7. If you want to make your time extra special, try visiting during Country Village’s once monthly Ladies’ Night Out, which takes place the second Thursday of the month and includes refreshments and a chance to win free swag. Or, if you want to try repurposing one of your own pieces, sign up for one of the shop’s Saturday night painting classes. All you need to do is bring the furniture you want to paint and the shop will provide the non-toxic chalk paint, food, drinks, and fun. You’ll leave with one of your very own finished furniture masterpieces.
A fair warning for when you do visit—you may walk in just to browse, but leave with a new dresser for the bedroom, chair for the kitchen, necklace for your friend’s birthday, garden art for mom, a smile worthy sign for where you’ll see it most, and Chhuon’s hand poured “Jamaica Me Crazy” soybased candle for your son’s room that needs to smell human again, and a handmade bath bomb for later because, really, shopping is hard work.