The Richard Tubb Interiors showroom is located at one of the central points of Birmingham’s downtown resurgence of culture and cool — Pepper Place. Tucked among the vibrant design shops and acclaimed restaurants of this charming enclave, the 20-year-old Richard Tubb showroom is filled with luxurious fabrics, muted tones, striking furniture, unique accessories and soft music, an ethereal space that plays beautifully against the exposed brick walls and concrete floors of the Dr Pepper building. The showroom invokes a truly serene experience, an intentional choice made by owner and lead designer Richard Tubb.
“Because we are not on the beaten path, we appreciate when people come in,” Richard says. “We want them to feel special. We want to entice all the senses. We want it to smell good, we want the fabrics to feel good, and we want there to be beautiful music. We have ladies who come in and just sit and stay here for an hour or two, just talking, and that’s okay with us.” This easy atmosphere, cultivated by the close-knit staff, each of whom has been with the design team for more than a decade, invites you in and encourages you to escape from the noise of daily life into an oasis of dreamy design.
Richard is deeply thoughtful and exceedingly considerate, a fact that is evident in both a conversation with him and with one step inside his showroom. Every piece of furniture and art is hand selected by Richard and his team, based on a single criterion: whether or not they would buy it for themselves. “Everything that we select are things that we love,” Richard says. “I’m buying for myself. I don’t allow anything to land on the floor unless it’s something that I absolutely love or would have in my home.” And it’s true. Simply strolling through the store, Richard can point out something he adores about every piece — a linen chair perfectly suited for poring over a good book, a painting by his brother-in-law that captures the movement of a Southern stream and an artistic lamp with a textured base resembling a tree branch. “Design is my passion,” he says. “If I wasn’t working here, I’d probably be knocking on doors and asking people if I could help them with their homes.”
This interest in design took root during Richard’s childhood, thanks in large part to his mother’s fearless approach to decorating the family’s Birmingham home. “My mother had the best taste, and she really thought outside the box. Her living room looked different from others. We were always changing things around,” Richard says. “I remember one night I came home late from a date and jumped in the bed — and the bed wasn’t there! She had moved it to the other side of the room, and it was dark, so I couldn’t see. Everybody came running in to see what had happened.”
Richard’s approach to pursuing design has been similarly without inhibition. Always a talented artist, Richard claims that though he wasn’t the most studious, he exercised great discipline in his pursuit of the arts, constantly striving toward art awards and achievements. He chose to stay in Birmingham for college, and, after graduating from Samford, began designing throughout the Birmingham area. Richard Tubb Interiors started with residential design, then progressed to commercial design, as his clients who owned businesses began requesting his expertise in their office spaces. The showroom organically followed and opened its doors at Pepper Place shortly thereafter, where local designers shop for their clients and local homeowners look for one-of-a-kind pieces to reinvent their home’s interiors. Now, in addition to the design team that provides design services to clients and designers in the showroom, Richard Tubb Interiors also offers a full-service design house, with a team of designers who boast more than 75 combined years of experience in the industry.
In addition to its dynamic team, much of the business’ successes can be attributed to Richard’s distinguishing, practical eye for design. His philosophy and approach to designing a home, regardless of budget, is simple: “Possessing simplicity and ease, a home should be the calm center of a family’s universe.” With this approach in mind, Richard’s priorities in any room are comfort and longevity, creating spaces that are as beautiful and classic as they are livable. “I don’t like trends,” Richard says. “I like using shades of ivory; colors that are like a strand of old pearls.” In Richard’s designs, texture is introduced through different paint finishes, and patterns are incorporated through artwork and accents. Despite the fact that his every design ends up stunning and magazine-worthy, Richard works to ensure that any space he designs is restorative, thoughtful and can grow and change with the client.
And after 41 years of gracefully changing and growing his own design company, he is inspired by the transformation happening right outside the showroom’s door. “I’m so excited about what’s happening in Birmingham, and we’re so excited to be in the middle of it,” Richard says. “Birmingham is not the Birmingham of even five years ago.” This revitalization of downtown Birmingham conjures the shifting furniture and constant reinvention of his childhood home, only strengthening his passion for creating timeless spaces that will remain beautiful and classic in the new Magic City.
Richard Tubb Interiors is located at 2829 Second Ave. S. at Pepper Place in Birmingham. Hours are Tuesday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Call (205) 324-7613 or click here for more information.