VON HEMERT INTERIORS TIME LINE
Anna and Theodore Sr. and Theodore Jr. von Hemert left Europe through Veracruz Mexico to come to America. Later Anna married Fred Martin.
Anna and Fred Martin opened up their first design studio called Martin and von Hemert in Los Angeles. It was a three-story furniture store that had a drapery and upholstery workroom. We believe it was located on Sunset Blvd. Their workroom fabricated beautiful hand sewn drapes and produced custom upholstered furniture. Luxurious velvets, brocades and tapestries were sold by the “cut-yard.” They were one of the first to manufacture hand-quilted upholstery.
Anna’s son, Theodore (Ted) von Hemert would join the family business. After Ted completed college he took an apprenticeship in New York for two years and studied under the influence of several talented interior designers. After Ted came back from NY he began designing model homes in Beverly Hills and the surrounding LA areas.
Ted began to design movie sets in Hollywood, such as: Sherlock Holmes and The Woman in Green (1945), I’ll Tell The World (1945) and Blonde Alibi (1946) were a few of the movies he designed for. Ted eventually started dating and designing for several actors and actresses that he came to know. Ted was also an accomplished water polo player competing in the 1932 Olympics.
1946-1952 In 1949, Anna and Ted eventually opened up their store in what used to be called The Del, which was a string of buildings connected to the original historic Farmers Market. The name of their shop was called The Chintz Shop. They offered interior design services, sold upscale upholstery and drapery fabrics by the yard and were known for carrying high quality custom furniture. Today, the Farmers Market sits in the middle of a popular eating and dining hub, called the Grove. During WWII, their shop was the only shop that still had hi-end fabrics available to sell. At one point they were selling many fabrics to well known California based furniture manufacturer Marge Carson. It’s on record that their space was 1304 sq. feet and they were paying $175 per month and 6% of their gross receipts in excess of $2916.66 went towards the landlord.
1953-1960 After the war, Anna wanted to retire so they decided to move the business to Laguna Beach. The original Laguna Beach store was located where the famous Bead Shop stands today. They later moved the store to another very small location down the street that was later turned into a gas station. After Anna retired, Ted leased a store in North Laguna (where it is currently located) and changed the name of the business to Ted von Hemert Interiors. His store carried all the elements of a full-service interior design shop including furniture, wallpaper, carpeting, fabrics, area rugs, lamps, art, accessories and mirrors. After several years at this location they purchased the building.
1960-1970 Ted leased another location in Newport Beach in Westcliff Plaza located on seventeenth St. in the early 60’s. After Ted’s son Barry finished college with a degree in business administration, he joined the family business. Their new location was small so when the tenant next door moved out they expanded their storefront to twice the square feet. This location however did not get a lot of walk in traffic and wasn’t making the company much money. The Laguna store remained the main breadwinner.
1970-1977 Ted and Barry closed their Westcliff location and built a store near the desirable Palos Verdes and Rolling Hills areas located in Torrance (where it exists today). During this time the business name changed again to von Hemert Interiors.
1978 Ted and Barry developed a parcel of land and built their third and largest store in Costa Mesa. They later attached their warehouse to the building. The expansion of their now largest location was a necessary turning point for the von Hemert family and for the company’s growth.
1979-1986 Through the expansion of von Hemert’s three stores, Ted thought it would be a good idea for Barry to search for some brand new manufacturers, only over in Europe. Barry and his wife Sue traveled to Italy, Spain and China and began their direct importing business. This commitment to importing one-of-a-kind pieces from Europe became a profitable niche for the von Hemerts. Along with their trips to Highpoint, North Carolina, Barry and Sue started making Italy and Spain part of their annual buying trips. They soon found that there was a definite demand for hand crafted European furniture. They would eventually come to wholesale a line of Italian furniture to well known furniture manufacturers. For many years Barry and Sue traveled to North Carolina, Italy and Spain and to this day the Italian furnishings are still a big part of von Hemert’s business. Later, their three children would continue the tradition of going on annual buying trips. For many years, Sue made a huge contribution with her very popular custom-designed silk floral arrangements to enhance the showrooms displays as well as for the growing demand for various client projects.
1987-1991 Barry’s son Mickey (current President) joined the company as Ted went into partial retirement. Mickey’s talent came from his strong background and passion in sales and design. Mickey’s focus evolved into the head of purchasing, merchandising and sales management.
1992-1993 Barry’s daughters, Carrie (current Vice President) and Kelly von Hemert (current CFO) joined the company after they finished college. Carrie majored in interior design and started working as an interior designer in the Laguna Beach location. For fourteen years she was acting store manager, buyer and head of marketing, now she works out of the Costa Mesa location. Kelly completed her degree in business and came to work at the Costa Mesa location. Her business skills and experience helped shape the company’s future vision.
1992-1997 For approximately five years the family leased a small store front location in an affluent shopping center in Newport Beach, called Fashion Island. They called their store “Piacere”, which in Italian means pleasure. They featured many of their high end domestic furniture, exclusive Italian furnishing, including their prized hand painted Italian red clay pottery accessories and lamps. These signed ceramic pieces are some of the finest reproductions dating back to the 11th and 12th centuries. Some of the original Umbrian ceramics are currently on display in museums around the world.
1997-1998 The family remodeled the attached warehouse at their Costa Mesa location to provide additional showroom space. They called this new space their Collector’s Gallery and primarily featured their old world furniture and accessory pieces from Italy. They also updated all of their showrooms stores logos on the exterior of their buildings
1998 The Torrance showroom underwent a major remodel to update the buildings façade.
1999-2009 Barry went into semi-retirement while the family’s “fourth generation” legacy continues to thrive today. Barry and his wife Sue remain co-owners.
2009-2010 As a partial tribute to the von Hemert’s great grandmother, Anna von Hemert Martin and the von Hemerts 90 year legacy the von Hemert family along with Laguna Beach architect Bob Mc Graw and Dave Shipp with Red Point Builders have completely remodeled the store from the ground up. They call this store their Crown Jewel. In celebration of the 90th Anniversary von Hemert recognized five of their designers, which have been with their company from 15 to 28 years. In tribute to this anniversary grandmother Anna von Hemert Martin’s grave was visited to pay tribute to the families rich history and legacy.