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1st Runner Up
Marietta, GA
Stephen Posta
Salon Style: sophisticated, modern, chic
Square Footage: 5,000
Stations: 27
Treatment Rooms: 1
Equipment: Minerva Beauty
Furniture: Minerva Beauty
Total Design Investment: $1,700,000
Retail Lines: Kerastase, L’Oreal, Olaplex
Color Lines: L’Oreal Professionnel, Pulp Riot
Design by: Minhnuyet Hardy Interiors
Architects: Caldwell Cline
Photographer: Peter Imoto

A friend who knew Stephen Posta was looking for a site to build his dream salon was jogging by an abandoned church for sale in historic Marietta, Georgia, and thought it was worth a second look. When touring the location, Posta agreed the setting in the popular historic district located about 10 miles north of Atlanta was ideal—it had ample parking and was surrounded by breweries, restaurants and boutiques. 

When Posta stepped inside the church, however, it looked as if a bomb had gone off.  Built in 1948, the building had been vacant for more than 20 years. It had no running water, no HVAC and just enough electricity to run a small computer.  Nevertheless, Posta fell in love with the building, and committed to buying the fixer-upper and gutting it down to the walls and the ceiling. 

The project took exactly a year and one day, as well as several trips to the historical committee, who as it turned out was thrilled someone was giving the church new life. Posta’s architect and construction crew reshaped all of the windows so they were the same size, then used air guns and toothbrushes to clean the dusty old walls before treating them with a material that hardens and preserves the brick, before applying new stucco. They also reinforced the floor with 33 new steel beams that gave needed support to the first floor and mezzanine level. Because Posta suffers from allergies, he purchased an HVAC with an extra filtration system that removes impurities from the air. It turns out this was a nice marketing aspect during the pandemic. 

Posta had picked out the shampoo bowls, stations and chairs from Minerva Beauty, then told his designer to design the rest of the salon around his selections. The designer found the chandeliers and sconces that reminded visitors of the building’s historic charms, as well as couches and chairs for the seating areas in the perfect pop of Spring green. 

While the oversized curved windows in the white brick walls let in ample daylight, Posta added bars with recessed track lighting that evens out the light in the evening or on a cloudy day. “It turned out perfect,” he says. “Our colorists say it’s the best lighting they’ve ever worked in.”

As Posta and his team started serving clients in the new space, they started to learn more about the historic building. “I had a new client who was related to people who had to do with the building, and we learned it started a church in 1848, became a hospital for wounded soldiers during the Civil War, then became a church again then an opera house, a car dealership and a showroom for a lighting company,” said Posta. “Now it’s our perfect space that creates a homey vibe for our clients, and we’re excited to see what the future brings. And, should we ever need it, there’s always the basement to build out!” 

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