When the last client of the day leaves, I love to stand alone in my salon and take it all in. I
look around at my beautiful, calming surroundings and think how grateful I am to be working in such an inviting space, and how it was the love of my family and friends that helped get me here.


In March 2009, my husband and I decided to renovate our completely unfinished basement into my new home-based salon and spa. I had been working out of my home for the last four years in our converted garage, but my business had taken off and I needed more space.

Luckily, my younger brother Jamie is a contractor and drywall artist. Between the two of us and my good friend Jenni, who is an interior decorator, we came up with a plan. We wanted to design a space that my clients and I would enjoy but that could easily be converted to a living space in our home if I decided to move the salon to another location.

In April, I traveled to Japan to visit a friend. The renovations were well under way. Walls were being built and plumbing was being installed. Colors were chosen in an earthy green, cream, and gold to reflect a Japanese theme in celebration of my trip. I was excited to visit a country that explodes in color and culture, and it was my goal to bring back artifacts to decorate my salon with.

I returned from Japan to see some great progress on the renovations. For the most part, things flowed smoothly, but we hit a few snags along the way. My brother had a medical dilemma that slowed his work down. At differing times we ran out of money, and there were delays due to manufacturing slowdowns. 

It eventually came together, and on August 16, 2009, we hosted our “Organic Japanese Open House.” I was surprised by my friend, who came home from Japan in time to greet the clients at the door in traditional Japanese style, with a bow and a warm hello.

My daughter Amber, decked out in Japanese attire, welcomed guests with a gift box filled with goodies, and my friend Chantal tended bar, serving up themed drinks. My mom, who is my first employee, stood proudly by my side while guests reveled in the unique design and flow of the space. 

The “mani bar” my brother built using travertine tile and curly maple wood serves not only as the waiting area, but also the space in which I teach my Monday night gel classes. The “pedi station” is a throne built for two and sits across from a fireplace designed to represent a Japanese torii (gate). Pictures of my work and of the beautiful Japanese landscape hang on the walls, and bamboo fills the space to bring me good luck.

In the 15 years I’ve been doing nails and esthetics, it has always been my dream to work from a space that feels like a home, and now I am living that dream. And better yet, it is my home!


For the salon colors, we chose an earthy green, cream, and gold to reflect the Japanese theme. The space is designed to be easily converted to a living space if I decide to move the salon to another location. Since my business has expanded, I had the pedi station made for two clients at a time.


My friends and family dressed in traditional Japanese attire for the salon’s grand opening and helped me (fourth from right) greet guests.

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