SOTY 2014: HC Studio2nd Runner-Up: HC Studio

Susan Healy had multiple goals when renovating her HC Studio in Brookline, Massachusetts. She wanted to expand productivity by introducing an an additional styling station and shampoo chairr and she hoped to increase retail space and seating in both the reception and processing areas, all without compromising the flow and functionality of the space.

“We worked with an amazing designer who understood the scope of the project and took an extremely creative approach while adhering to all the restrictions in color, texture and scale, and the finished result is fluid and functional.”

In the reception area, classically designed seating for seven is strategically positioned amidst the illuminated retail shelves. The space incorporates a sleek, custom-made reception desk with an elegant chandelier overhead, which enhances the client’s first impression. “The rich, chocolate-colored flooring was intentionally placed to run perpendicular to the length of the salon, giving a very cozy feel while opening up the space.”

In the cutting area, six stand-alone mirrors are placed at an angle, proving an intimate experience for each guest, and soft ambient lighting built into each mirror removes shadows to compliment finished looks. Each station has a perfectly appointed hook to hang even the heaviest handbag and a pull-out shelf with a docking station for an iPad. An eight-foot-long, waterfall table custom-made from Caesarstone comfortably seats eight color clients during processing. “It’s the perfect place to relax, work, lounge, chat or keep up with what is new in the salon with our state-of-the-art media center,” Healy says.

Since space was limited, every inch of the redesign was carefully considered. The backroom/break area was moved downstairs, freeing up 150 square feet of usable space and creating a shampoo lounge with four sinks. Retail units became wall dividers, and all furniture was custom designed and surfaces were chosen based on form and function.

“As a split shift salon, we can maximize the earning potential for each chair,” Healy says. “We are open 64 hours per week and comfortalbe employe 15 stylists with room to gro. With our eight chairs we were seeing an average of 420 clients per week—now with nine chairs, we have the potential to see 540 clients a week!”


HC Studio
Brookline, MA
Owner: Susan Healy
Established: 2000
Remodeled:  August 2013
Salon style: Transitional, Urban, Elegance
Square footage: 1,200
Stations: 9
Treatment Rooms: NA
Equipment:  Maletti
Furniture: RG Shakour Interiors
Total design investment:  $247,000
Retail: Kerastase, Shu Uemura, L'Oreal
Color line: L'Oreal, Pravana
Design by: Tracy Mowschenson/Tracy Interiors
Architects:  Construction MLB
Photography: Chelsea Kyle

Owners’ Comments:

“In redesigning the reception area, we were able to add a much-needed 20 linear feet of retail shelving. All seating is strategicallyplaced to create a comfortable shopping environment. Clients are surrounded by products they can touch and smell.”

Judges Comments:

 “I love the detail in the retail focus – the brick, drapery and photo wall accents are perfect.”—Grissler

“The front retail area really creates the feel of a shopping environment.”—Crusafilli

“The space feels like an art gallery in a New York loft – the combination of soft and rigid elements and shabby chic and modern characteristics results in a well-balanced and visually interesting space.”—Patrascu