Studio 123

Seaboard Studio 123 owners from left, Molly Rohde, Charlotte Smith and Martha Richardson.

Seaboard Studio 123 owners from left, Molly Rohde, Charlotte Smith, and Martha Richardson.

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;