Salon Tour: The Dry House

Elizabeth Jakaitis | February 17, 2016 | 3:41 PM
The entryway is a combination game room and seating area that features a multi-purpose bar used to sell local goods and acts as a workspace for clients or a setup area for makeup artists. The focal points for the room are the signature key and Aries, the ram that represents owner Ali Ryan’s astrological sign. It was designed to make guests feel comfortable hanging out in the salon before and after their services. Some bring their laptops, log on to the salon’s wifi and use the bar to work while they get their hair done. It’s also kid friendly, with tic tac toe games and a wall for tracking clients’ kids’ heights.
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The living room features styling stations and a lounge area for clients to enjoy while waiting or conversing with friends. This allows guests to be able to see their stylists and get excited about the service they are about to receive. Ryan, Bentley and Rhodes made sure the custom countertops were wide enough to hold purses so guests don’t have to set their bags on the ground. They also added shutters to each mirror to complete the house aesthetic. The shutters are functional, as well, because they can be closed to hide the mirror for clients that don’t like to look at themselves during a treatment. (Though the salon has purposefully soft lighting, so everyone looks fabulous.)
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The Dry House washroom offers dim lighting and comfortable shampooing stations to provide a relaxing setting during a client’s wash. The custom farm sinks go along with the house vibe and stand out from normal salon sinks. The walls aren’t actually covered in wallpaper – that’s just an effect from the chandeliers. The dim lighting helps guest feel calm, and the poofs in front of the chairs allow them to literally put up their feet and relax.
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The main bathroom located just off the styling room is a hot topic of conversation at The Dry House. Clients, especially the dog loving ones, adore the wallpaper. Ryan wanted a memorable bathroom that stands out from the rest of the salon. Her family has a home in Vermont where she spent summers growing up, and the bathroom in that house had wallpaper featuring a girly poodle getting ready for a date, which was the inspiration for the dog wallpaper in the salon’s bathroom.
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The gallery wall in the hallway leading to the washroom showcases images of Ryan’s family and childhood in New Jersey. She plans to add family photos from the salon staff, as well.
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Salon Owner Ali Ryan
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The Dry House
Nashville, Tennessee

Owners: Ali Ryan and Cassidy Bentley
Year Business Established: 2014
Salon Style: high class and badass
Square Footage: 1,850
Number of Styling Stations: 20
Equipment: Custom farm sinks, chandeliers, bar, stations, mirrors and shutters.
Furniture: Most of the furniture was custom made or found in antique stores around Nashville.
Three primary retail lines: Tribe Kelley beanies, merchandise from KITTY in East Nashville and jewelry from Miriam Designs.
Contractor: Triad Construction
Designer: Lindsay Rhodes
Photographer: Patrick Tracy
Instagram: @thedryhousenashville

A high-class space with a bad-ass feel was the goal of Ali Ryan when she set out to create The Dry House, a blowdry bar in Nashville, Tenn. She wanted a salon where clients felt they could just stop in and say hi or stay awhile and hang out. Ryan considered where people are the most comfortable relaxing: at home or at a friend’s house. So she, Co-Owner Cassidy Bentley and Designer Lindsay Rhodes set out to create a space that was homey and inviting, along with an edgy-cool vibe that is right at home in Nashville.  

To create the house theme, Ryan, Bentley and Rhodes chose a space with homey features, like a long hallway that invitingly guides guests further into the salon. Then, they incorporated unique décor for personalized charm. The entryway features a big mantle with grand chairs and bookshelves and the living room includes a lounge area in the middle, complete with pillows, magazines and a gilded, retro bar cart. All come together to make up the unique features that make a house—or a salon—a home.

The design elements that the salon staff and clients have become most attached to are the ones that have personal stories behind them. For instance, the giant, custom key that hangs over the bar in the front rooms was a gift from Bentley to Ryan and doubles as the salon’s logo. It symbolizes the salon’s “make-yourself-at-home” mission and is the first thing clients see when they enter. Another item that guests have fondly come to associate with the salon is the white ram’s head mounted on the wall. His name is Aries (Ryan’s astronomical sign) and the staff love to dress him up throughout the year; he wears a Santa hat during the holidays, a flower crown during festival season and has big false eyelashes and jewelry year round. Aries is a fun way to let the salon’s personality shine through and clients are always eager to see what he is wearing. Finally, the dog wallpaper in the bathroom is a favorite of Ryan’s and of guests. Rhodes found it when searching for the wallpaper Ryan’s family had in their house in Vermont. It reminds Ryan of home, and much of the staff and clientele are dog lovers, so it hits a soft spot for many.

It’s the little things that have made The Dry House feel like home—and which have made it succeed at memorably branding itself. Its key logo is not only a prominent feature in the salon, but also on its website and social media pages. Go search for them on Instagram and you’ll know you’ve landed on the right page because the key is displayed in their icon. Plus, by inviting guests to participate in the space, The Dry House has made itself memorable. It’s the salon where you can record your kid’s height on the wall, the salon where you can check out what Aries the ram is wearing this month, and the salon where you can get comfy, connect to Wi-Fi and get a pampered blowout. Sounds like a nice place to come home to. 

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