“As a salon client, I always felt like there was a disconnect between the tranquil, spa-like atmosphere in many nail salons and the fact that getting your nails clipped and feet scrubbed is anything but,” says Diane Meza, who opened Varnish Lab (www.varnishlab.com) in Los Angeles’s Playa Vista neighborhood in February. She was also frustrated by the fact that so many salon spaces are not conducive to striking up a conversation with the clients seated next to you. When it came time to design her own salon, her vision was clear: “I wanted to create a fun, vibrant space reminiscent of a party atmosphere where patrons could enjoy music, a subtitled flick, and have conversations with their nail tech and each other.

Meza worked with architect Ivan Ivanov to bring her vision to life. “I told him my goals on the vibe and showed him photos of spaces including Kate Spade stores. We also worked with the idea of Palm Springs Modern. “The front desk is circular and symbolizes a polish bottle that broke and bled onto the floor,” she says. “The stage lighting films across the longest wall are a nod towards our awesome city’s culture as well as being reminiscent of the curvature of a fingernail bed.” The pedicure bench is an astounding 52 feet long.

Varnish Lab also converts into an event space. “The front desk is sized for a DJ table and the pedicure bowls are mobile for a more lounge feel to the bench,” says Meza. “Also, the back of the house has ample room for catering and the mani bar doubles as an actual bar.”

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