Our Laguna: Four generations celebrated at event

July 30, 2010|By Barbara Diamond
  • Living room furnishings on display at Von Hemert Interiors at thier grand reopening party Thursday.
Living room furnishings on display at Von Hemert Interiors… (Don Leach, Coastline…)

Von Hemert Interiors is one of the oldest stores under the same ownership in Laguna, but one of the newest in design.

Generations of von Hemerts have worked in family stores for 90 years. The family celebrated the anniversary with a grand reopening of the Laguna Beach store after more than 10 months of remodeling to the interior and exterior. The family also owns stores in Costa Mesa and Torrance.

"We have a loyal customer base who still come(s) in with stories of our grandparents delivering furniture in the back of their station wagon," said Carrie von Hemert, vice president and a member of the fourth generation to run the family business. "It started when my grandmother opened our first store in Los Angeles 90 years ago.

"My great-grandmother, grandfather, parents and now my siblings and, I have worked for the company and expanded it to what it is now.


"The Laguna store is the crown jewel of our three stores and that is why we decided to do a very special rejuvenation at this location. This is not only going to be a delight for our customers, but a tribute to our family."

The family moved to Laguna Beach in 1953, when von Hemert matriarch Anna wanted to retire. The first Laguna store was where the Bead Shop is now. Later the shop was down the street on a parcel that eventually became a gas station.

After Anna retired, her son Theodore von Hemert Jr., known as Ted, leased a store in North Laguna where von Hemert Interiors still is. The family eventually bought the building.

Ted's son, Barry, joined the company after graduating from college with a business degree. Father and son opened two more stores and Barry was sent to Europe to search for new furniture manufacturers. He and his wife, Sue, traveled to Italy and Spain, and then China, and began to directly import one-of-a-kind pieces to add to the American-made furniture bought in Highpoint, N.C., Mecca for furniture stores.

"Our pride in our pieces comes from our long line of knowledge and travel to Europe for many years, where our offerings are hand selected by the family," Barry von Hemert said. "We pay special attention to inlays, finishes, sizings and no detail is too small or unnoticed.

"I believe the attention to the specialties of our pieces is what brings our loyal customers back and their next generation coming back for years and years."

The fourth generation of von Hemerts has continued the tradition of annual European buying trips.

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