“I want clients to feel like they’re hanging out at a friend’s apartment, not at a typical nail salon,” says Molly Reckman, owner of Spruce Natural Nail Shop in Cincinnati’s historic Over-the-Rhine neighborhood. “If we’re going to be providing a different experience, we want clients to feel that difference the minute they walk through the door, so the overall look is very clean, minimal, and simple.”

One unusual element of the salon’s design is the use of live plants. “Not only do we have a ventilation system, brand new HVAC, and two air purifiers, but all of the plants help to bring oxygen into the space and purify the air. We have pothos cascading over each pedicure station,” she says. “It’s amazing how helpful plants can be in maintaining a healthy environment.”

Reckman worked closely with several local companies when designing Spruce. “Our reception desk, manicure tables, and polish wall were custom-made by the Brush Factory,” she notes. “Another company, Urban Expansion, did the build-out — everything from new walls to our custom bench, drying station, and pedicure platform.”

She spotted the recliners in the pedicure area at West Elm. “They’re perfect because they don’t look like recliners at all,” says Reckman.  “After we finish a pedicure, we can move the basin and the client can recline and chill for a few minutes while her nails dry.

“I love everything about our space because when I walk in the door it is exactly how I had envisioned it. My passion is making people feel good about themselves, so if a client leaves feeling happier than she came in, we have succeeded.”