The Grand-Prize Winning 2007 Salon of the Year
The Boulevard Hair Company
Webster Groves, Missouri
Owners: Abigail Culleton & Sierra VanMeter
Salon style: vintage antique, hair mecca
Square footage: 6,400
Stations: 27 (with room to add 13 more)
Treatment rooms: none
Equipment: Buy-Rite Beauty, Takara Belmont, Collins, Pibbs
Furniture: Timeless Journey, Sean Culleton and Jacob Mobley
Total design investment: $500,000
Retail lines: Davines, Surface, Olaplex
Color lines: Davines, Surface, Goldwell
Design by: Abigail Culleton & Sierra VanMeter
Architects: HKW Architects, Blaes Architects
Photography: Mark Kempf Photography
With its roots as a basketball gym built in the 1920s, the building that now houses The Boulevard Hair Company in Webster Groves, Missouri, offered owners Abigail Culleton and Sierra VanMeter intriguing design features, quirky challenges and a lifetime of rich history.
Committed to preserving that history, the owners chose to refinish the detailed original wood floors, and patrons can still spot the charred roof trusses that were the remnants of a past fire. “We’ve even had older clients walk into the space and marvel at the idea they once played basketball or attended socials here as children,” Culleton says.
One of the biggest challenges was figuring out how to transform such a large open space into a functional, welcoming and comfortable salon. After dismissing several concepts, the owners developed a layout that angled the reception area and styling stations on the main floor with the ceiling trusses to create a visual line that draws the eye to the magnificent, arched 30-foot lamella ceiling. The skewed layout helps break up the space into differing work areas without interrupting flow.
In the reception area, a one-of-a-kind wood and steel sign crafted by a local firefighter bears the salon’s name and sets the tone for the client experience. “In addition, a digital signage board discreetly displays current promotions, events and how-to videos,” VanMeter says. “Staff already are noting that many clients ask about, and ultimately purchase, products they learned about before sitting in the chair.”
A color bar custom built from reclaimed wood and wrought iron involves the client in the color creation process, and a Before ‘N After Photo Wall encourages clients to sit for images of their new style to be shared through social media. “The wall showcases our stylists’ creativity and artistry and serves as inspiration as well as advertisement for the services and products we offer,” Culleton says.
Custom built from reclaimed barn wood, each of the styling stations are unique. Designed on casters, they also can be rolled away to make room for a classroom setup, allowing the salon to offer top-tier education to their team as well as outside stylists on a monthly basis.
To ensure clients’ utmost satisfaction, the owners incorporated a processing bar that doubles as a work station. All dryers and processors are wall mounted, so clients have the option to turn their chair around and face the room while processing.
Because the space was not amenable to the installation an elevator to reach the mezzanine level, a permanent ADA styling station on the first floor helps second-floor stylists accommodate their physically challenged guests.
“In addition, one of the backwash units on the main level was designed so the chair can be removed and a wheelchair can be positioned in front of it,” VanMeter says. “We didn’t realize how significant these ideas would be until stylists and clients have mentioned the thoughtfulness of our design.”