Ten years after designing and opening Michael & Michael in a 1895 Chicago storefront, owners Michael Crowley and Michael Jacobson decided to expand by acquiring the adjacent building and combining the two spaces to create a 4,400-square foot salon. The spaces shared many similarities—original floors, exposed painted brick walks, high ceilings and industrial skylights. The owners wanted to honor many of these historical characteristics while introducing many contemporary elements.

An abundance of natural light and an open floor plan allow clients to see throughout the salon, but the space is divided into distinct areas that flow together in a circular flow plan.

“Walking through the salon and discovering each area is much like walking through a house, going from room to room,” Crowley says.

Barn-door hardware on the ebony-stained wood doors and custom stylist stations on castors are paired with stainless-steel tops. Sleek custom-framed mirrors are suspended from steel picture rails and are punctuated with a touch of subtle glam from the pendant light fixtures and the large beveled mirrored tiles on the backsplash.

The concierge-style reception desk juxtaposes Cambria quartz with raw steel. Five black pendants hang over the desk and are set against the newly restored painted brick wall behind. The reception area graciously opens into one of the cutting rooms, where the waiting area is adorned by floor-to-ceiling gold mesh fabric panels.

“Because we are a departmentalized salon, we have designated areas for cutting and coloring, and the gold panels are repeated throughout to create the suggestions of zones,” Crowley says. “Our shampoo bowls and waiting areas exist in three separate areas throughout the salon so that clients can be spread out and move easily through the space.”

1st-Runner Up: Michael & Michael
Chicago, Illinois

Michael Crowley & Michael Jacobson
Salon style: Urban, upscale, boutique
Square footage: 4,400
Stations: 28
Equipment: Takara Belmont
Furniture: Custom
Total design investment: $375,000
Retail lines: Oribe, R+Co, Milbon
Color lines: Schwarzkopf Professional, Goldwell
Design by: Michael Crowley & Michael Jacobson
Architects: Ellen Mills, EMM Architecture
Photography: Dave Burk Photography

Owners’ Comment:
“Walking through the salon and discovering each area is much like walking through a house, going from room to room.”

Judges’ comments:
“A perfect salon for both clients and stylists. The equipment, interior flow and function helps stylists be comfortable and productive.” —Redman

“Carefully chosen artwork and light fixtures make this salon a standout.” —Nelson

“The skylights in the waiting area are beautiful.” —Connolly