Eugen and Irina Patrascu patiently waited for two years for the perfect space to open up in the Kew Gardens neighborhood of Queens, New York. Irina, who had worked as a stylist for more than 24 years in the area, had built up a loyal clientele, and the couple observed as the neighborhood grew as a real estate destination for young professionals desiring more square footage than Manhattan properties offered. The Patrascus believed they could create a salon space artistically interesting and original enough that it would turn the eye of those affluent professionals, encouraging them to experience local services.
Posh Hair Studio, which opened in January 2012, is the fruition of that belief. To create it, the Patrascus hired architect Antonio Di Oronzo, whose work on local restaurants and night clubs they appreciated. “He knew that we wanted something that modern, sleek and open while it also was cozy,” says Eugen. “We had several design meetings in which he presented several good ideas, but ultimately we decided on this modern design of curves throughout the space that simulate the waves and curls of human hair—we loved that he connected the design to this industry.”
The architect commissioned Royal Palace Interiors, a millwork fabricator, to carve the unique wooden curves, which were produced in pieces using 3D Auto Cad software, then assembled on location. “At first, the process really tested our resolve,” says Eugen. “For example, there’s a coat closet hidden in one of the curved walls, and we had the door fabricated to mimic the curvature. It had to be done three times because the glue on the millwork kept altering the curvature. While beautiful, the curves increase the design’s difficulty exponentially.”
The Patrascus settled on predominantly soft white walls to bring openness and light into the relatively small square footage of the space—the main salon floor with reception, cutting floor, retail area and the color and shampoo areas occupies 900 square feet, while another 600 square feet downstairs houses a nail area and space for a future treatment room. To infuse warmth into the design, the couple selected special Italian tiles that mimic wooden planks. At $10 a square foot, the tiles were more expensive than hard-wood floors, but they offer durability and are easy to clean.
Another unique aspect of the salon design is the lighting in the retail area. After researching the flexibility and affordability of LED lighting, the Eugen Patrascu asked the architect to channel grooves into the shelves for LED light strips. “We really wanted to spotlight each product we carry, and what’s unique about this lighting is it can be adjusted to create any color,” says Patrascu. “This is helpful in designing a specific mood for a special promotion or creating seasonal décor such as red lighting for Valentine’s or green for St. Patrick’s.”