BARRINGTON, RI – Hannah Lee, senior editor – While on a long weekend in Rhode Island last May with my college roommates, I decided to drop by a small nail salon that one of my friends had told me about. I drove the short distance to Barrington, a quaint little town outside of Providence, and was surprised to find the salon in a very cute residential area. My appointment was with Christine Coelho, a booth renter who calls her business Artistic Designs. Christine operates her business within the high-ceilinged shop where there were three other nail techs working that day – the owner of the space and her one employee, and another booth renter. Like many other booth renters, Christine – who has been a nail tech for two years – told me that she decided to become a booth renter so that she could schedule her own appointments and make her own hours. She also works as a bartender, so it is important for her to have control over her own scheduling.

After asking her what was popular in Barrington, she told me that gels are all the rage. Going against the local trend, I opted for a natural nail manicure and a spa pedicure. As Christine performed a waterless manicure on me, she explained that the shop was originally located next door, but was destroyed by a fire. The new shop is actually two space with a wall knocked out in between so that there is more room for the two European Touch pedicure thrones. After my manicure (which Christine topped off with my favorite shimmery pink summer shade), she took me to the other side of the salon for my pedicure. After scrubbing and massaging my feet (Christine commented on how smooth my feet already were, ahh the life of a NAILS editor…), she finished them off with the same pink polish.

While the frills of my services were minimal, the experience that I had couldn’t been better. It was the quintessential New England town. All of the customers and nail techs seemed to know each other, and the atmosphere was friendly and loose. While I was there, a young mother even brought her daughter in to get her ears pierced for her first communion. This is exactly how I picture small New England towns. And I must say, my matching manicure and pedicure looked great and made all of my friends quite jealous.

Nail technician Christine Coelho (left) grew up in Barrington, R.I., the small New England town where I went for a manicure and pedicure while reuniting with college friends for a weekend.


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