On the Road at The Nail Bar

I’m really on a roll with finding cute, clean, shining examples of the perfect neighborhood nail salon. Last week, I visited The Nail Bar in Hermosa Beach, Calif., a natural nails-focused salon that I learned about via word-of-mouth through Krème de la Krème Nail Lounge, the Long Beach, Calif., salon that I discovered a few months ago. Co-owner Sherrie McCarter showed me around the stylish 600-sq.-ft., appropriately named, bar-themed salon. (Co-owner Jennifer Dumat was scheduled to be in later that day.)  “We wanted a theme and one that would distinguish us,” McCarter said. “Agreeing on a theme was the hard part. Once that was settled, everything else fell into place.”
The bar theme is perfectly carried out, from cocktail-inspired services (I had the November special, the amazingly scented “Pumpkintini Pedicure.” The salon’s regular menu includes a Mudslide Pedicure, a Captain and Soak pedicure for men, and a Shirley Temple pedicure for young girls), “happy hour” signage and decor, and complimentary beer and wine with services. It also has an “Acrylics Anonymous” program for clients “trying to kick the acrylic habit.”
The owners designed the salon themselves (the space was a nail salon previously, so all of the plumbing was already in place, which made it a lot easier), but McCarter said that finding appropriate furniture was one of the biggest challenges. The salon had a few items custom built including a wooden platform to elevate the pedicure chairs above the bowls, the footrests, and the nail bar. The reception desk and bar stools were Craigslist purchases, Home Depot was the source for the faucets and pedicure bowls, and IKEA and Target were sources for several of the other furnishings. I thought this was interesting and something I’ve seen previously at other salons — furnishings that aren’t traditional salon furnishings, but instead bought from places like IKEA or cool, flea market finds. What’s been your experience with designing a salon? Were you able to find your furnishings (pedicure chairs, bowls, reception desks, etc.) through salon furnishing companies? Why or why not?

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