When talking with Joe Lauber about his success in the design industry, he usually tries to steer the conversation away from himself. “Let’s talk about the store instead, ” he often says. But Joe and the store go hand in hand. The chic space with its Hermès orange and white façade looks like it could be right out of Manhattan. Inside, it is supremely warm and welcoming and well-stocked with furnishings, flooring samples, lighting, and inviting vignettes. Once you meet Joe and his team, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into an old friend’s living room—and you’ll want to take home everything inside.
More than flooring
“When I opened the store, I took a leap of faith by leaving a law practice, ” says Joe. “My friends at 18th Street Orientals encouraged me to open a flooring store because, at the time, no one was selling decorative Stark carpets. Thankfully, members of the design community embraced me, and I am still working with many of them today. I’m glad we are here to serve the next generation of designers. There are so many talented young designers in Birmingham that are doing some amazing things.”
Today, Hiltz-Lauber has expanded beyond just the Stark carpet brand. The downstairs is filled with row upon row of sample carpets that can be used in a variety of installations: wall-to-wall, stair runners, or bound area rugs. You’ll find sisals, wools, synthetics, and patterns ranging from animal prints to geometrics to florals.
The lofty second floor is filled with furnishings, a soon-to-be expanded lighting showroom, art, and antiques. “A lot of people think we are out of their price range, but you can buy lamps from us for less than you would pay online, ” Joe says. “Plus, we ship, deliver, and assemble as part of the price.” Look for Circa lighting, Visual Comfort, and artisan lamps.
A mixture of antiques and new pieces.
Joe’s brother, Nick Lauber, runs the furniture side of the business, while Joe’s affinity for design extends to upholstery and case goods as well. “We love to mix in a few antiques that add character to a room, ” he says. “I always recommend keeping a few family heirlooms to have something with a story. As far as new pieces, we offer high-quality lines that will last.”
Hiltz-Lauber • 2838 18th Street South, Homewood. 205.879.3455
Hiltz-lauber Warehouse (Follow FB for quarterly sales) • 3328 6th Avenue South, Birmingham.