by Mimi Montgomery
photograph by Travis Long
“We never dreamed it’d be this big … watching Seaboard Avenue change, watching Capital Boulevard change. It’s just getting bigger and bigger.” – Molly Rohde, co-owner of Studio 123
It started out as just a fun project. Molly Rohde and Martha Richardson met while planning the Carolina Ballet Winter Ball and quickly bonded over their love of design and art. In 2008, they rented a warehouse at Seaboard Station with a group of friends, planning to use it as an art studio – and maybe to sell paintings and furniture on the side. But when the economy took a sudden dive, customers began consigning their furniture to the studio, and the women found themselves primarily refurbishing and selling the vintage pieces. “It was a time when necessity was the mother of invention,” says Rohde. When their three other partners left the business, things became more serious: Rohde’s daughter, Charlotte Smith, came home from New York to join the team, and they streamlined Studio 123 into the eclectic, well-cultivated vintage furniture store it is today.
The women laugh when they recount some of the things Richardson has brought home from her buying trips: Indonesian gold altar figures, a giant propeller from a nose-dived plane, a Carolina-blue canoe from the 1950s. “I buy everything from an army helmet to a Harley Davidson bustier,” she says. But it all always sells, a testament to how beloved Studio 123 is by its followers. It has many. The operation recently moved to a new location on Capital Boulevard, allowing the team to spread out a bit. “We have a wonderful following,” says Richardson. “They keep coming back.”
1505 Capital Blvd., #15; seaboardstudio123.com