What the Village Nail Shoppe lacks in size, it makes up for in charm and elegance. Dianne Longtin, owner of the Aptos, Calif.-based salon, estimates her salons entire structure measures under 100 square feet. “It’s about 6 feet by .16 feet, including the bathroom. It’s hard to get an exact measure because the walls are crooked,” she says.

Before opening the shop in July 1994, Longtin, a nail technician for four years, rented space at a hair salon for $400 a month, but wasn’t satisfied. “I’m 51 years old and I wanted to make my own choices, like what kind of music gets played. I also wanted to serve coffee and wine. Now my rent is $200 and I even have a bathroom.” The tiny salon also holds one nail station, a reception area with two rattan chairs, a retail area, a refrigerator, a coffee maker, and a ficus tree. The salon’s angelic motif evolved by accident. When she was designing her business card, Longtin, a former graphic artist, wanted to draw something with hands and settled on angels. “Clients started bringing me angels and I put them up on the wall. It was just a fluke,” she says. The decor goes particularly well with Longtin’s choice of background music — 16th-century Italian classical.

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