UP CLOSE & PERSONAL
NAME: Roderick Coles
LOCATION: Charlottesville, VA
OCCUPATION: Owner of The Curious Orange Store
ABOUT THE STORE: “Antiques & Interiors ardently curated
from an artistic perspective. Store is always changing.”
Charlottesville’s Roderick Coles doesn’t realize what an anomaly his store is. Located in an unassuming industrial spot on the side of Ivy Road, you’d never know that an entire world of antiques and interior wares is artfully arranged behind the obscured front door.
THE START: Born and raised in Charlottesville, Roderick grew up knowing that what made him tick was tapping into artistic endeavors. But that he has found himself in the field of interiors and antique dealing is still a shock to him: “It’s not like I was always interested in design and decor at all. I spent most of my early adulthood in a fratty house in Belmont living with four dudes and recording music!”
His first career was as a music engineer, but the industry just wasn’t going in the right direction. “I’d love to say that I started Curious Orange out of pure love, but in fact I have to work for myself out of necessity. I needed to make a living, and being in the music industry was not going to allow for this.” He started to accumulate vintage and antique pieces that he scoured the East Coast for, seeing an opportunity and also because he “got hooked” on the thrill of the hunt. At first he sold only to the trade until, in 2011, he was ready to take the risk and open The Curious Orange store to the local public at large.
“I went from liking barn wood and burlap to 18th century antiques and linen or velvet!”
EVOLUTION: “I’ve learned so much from the discerning designers and collectors in the business. I almost consider myself a student!” Rod is the first to admit that his taste hasn’t always been where it is today. “Put it this way: I went from liking barn wood and burlap to 18th century antiques and linen or velvet!”
PASSION: “If I don’t satiate my brain by being creative, I’m just not right,” says Rod. This is one of the reasons why the store is always changing. He’s the master of the mix: midcentury small wares mingle with Civil War era empire tables. And part of what Roderick loves doing is upgrading via paint jobs. “The power of paint is a real thing.”
ADVICE: “Fair prices. Be good to everyone. I’m an extrovert, so being relational is all I know, but I think it helps as a small business owner.” At the end of the day, this is a labor of love for him and the community of like-minded people. “The store serves as both a sketchbook for my ideas and an environment where I can acquire things that inspire me, learn about them, sell them and move onward and upward. I hope that people are able to be inspired when they come in the store, but as long as I am finding it interesting, that’s what I go by.”
WHAT’S NEXT: Rod says the scariest thing about being an independent business owner is that he doesn’t know what the future holds. “It’s really day to day. Am I going to open new locations or am I going to close? Will I start working with designers? It’s totally unknown which is exhilarating and exhausting all at once!” For now, he has completely designed a beautiful website (set to launch this month) that has an e-commerce section so anyone from across the country can buy his one-of-a-kind finds. That said, so much of what is brilliant about a place like “The Curious Orange Store” is that it’s as if it’s a living being itself, always changing, evolving and full of inspiration.
Inventory Rod really loves at The Curious Orange Store right now:
– pair of silver gilt-wood lamps attributed to James Mont. $2200.00 pair. Mont is surging right now with collectors.
– chrome and tweed MCM settee. What a useful everyday statement piece. $1200.00
– pair of antique English demilune tables having custom painted chevron tops. $1950.00 pair
Call the store for more information: 434-466-8021