Antique shop has museum feel with its theme rooms

It’s easy to drive past Curley Creek Antiques in Southworth.

Besides being far from any business district, the exterior can easily be mistaken for a fancy home as one drives on Locker Road.

But take one step inside Curley Creek Antiques and the customer is immediately immersed in a magical wonderland of yesteryear.

Owner Barbara Sundberg, and her father, Stan Ohman, have created an antique store that is divided by theme rooms.

Sundberg is no stranger to the South Kitsap area.

She previously owned Little Habitats for 14 years before closing shop in 1998.

Little Habitats solely revolved around miniatures for doll houses.

But a drop in popularity in miniature collecting forced her to shut her shop down.

“Miniatures died off in the late 1990s,” Sundberg said. “Disposable income started going towards computers.”

Ironically, it is the growth of auction houses online that enabled Sundberg to re-open and expand her business to a complete antique store.

“Originally, we planned on making this a museum,” Sundberg said. “But that didn’t really work so we decided to sell antiques.”

While it’s not a museum, customers can easily assume it is a museum.

Ohman, a master craftsman, has spent his life building things.

After building bridges for a living, Ohman, 73, took to the indoors and concentrated on creating a house of wonderment for his daughter.

“It sure beats working outside in the rain,” Ohman said.

Whether it be doll houses or display rooms, nearly all of the furnishings came from Ohman’s hands.

Though the idea of a complete museum fell through, a portion of the store is a museum because it has items on display only.

Visitors can view old toys, dolls and other collectibles.

A popular activity for kids is a museum scavenger hunt, which Sundberg hopes to organize in the near future.

Sundberg said having theme rooms makes life easy for antique shoppers.

“I’m not going to disrespect other antique stores because they’re fun to walk through,” Sundberg said. “But it’s easy to get eye fatigue when you look at so many items.”

Sundberg believes it is much easier to shop for antiques when they are grouped by subject.

For example, vintage jewelry, ladies clothing and accessories are in one room.

Antique carpentry and mechanical tools are in another.

There’s also a library, old-fashioned kitchen, and a sewing room.

It is a full antique store but there is still a large inventory of miniatures.

There is also a room of antiques that are on display only, giving it a museum-like feel.

Because of the power of the internet, Sundberg said she’s been able to make sales to individuals and companies all over the world.

At the same time, Sundberg said she hopes customers make the trek to her store for the mere experience of walking back in time.

“That’s why people collect things,” Sundberg said. “It reminds them of a time when they were young.”

Most of the items come from the early 1900s to the 1970s, though there are items that go back into the 1800s.

Curley Creek Antiques is open Thursday through Saturday.

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