When we are judging the Salons of the Year salon design competition, we are primarily focused on the breathtaking after-design images each applicant enters. But sometimes it’s a before image snuck into the stack of pictures that truly makes us gasp.
That happened this year with Emma Justine Hair Lounge and Spa in Middletown, Kentucky—one of our Salons of Distinction. Owned by Amie Migirova, the salon is housed in a renovated storefront on Main Street in the town of 7,500. which was founded shortly after the Revolutionary War. When looking for a location for the salon, Migirova ambitiously chose a building built in 1880, whose last tenant was an antiques store seven years ago.
Although the building was abandoned and deteriorating, Migirova loved that it was located in the heart of downtown and it’s height allowed it to tower above the other boutiques and shops on the street. In addition to renovation though, the building needed some modifications to make it work for the salon. Migirova wanted a storefront with large windows and oversized doors. Getting her plans approved required several appearances before the town’s historic commission, then working through several denials before a final agreement was reached.
When the contractors removed the old uneven wooden flooring, they discovered the foundation was crumbling and needed to be reinforced. The building had to be lifted and stabilized, and reinforced with concrete walls. Before the new concrete floor was poured, Migirova decided to add hints of gray flecks and diamond sparkles to create a unique flooring.
To add the large storefront windows, contractors had to reinforce the support frame. The concrete foundation reinforcement for the windows was going to take up a lot of space—to utilize the space wisely, they encased it with bench seating and custom cushions to match the salon. USB outlets were installed into the bench seating to allow clients to charge their phones while waiting.
Originally, the parking area for the salon only had space for four cars. When the team attempted to expand it, they discovered that there was a concrete foundation of another building underneath. This set back plans to open another month, but they ended up building a retaining wall and facing it with sparkling white brick, which added to the exterior design.
Read Emma Justine's 2019 Salons of the Year profile, and see more after shots.
When I look at the before pictures of the space, I have to give it Migirova. It takes a great deal of vision, courage and perseverance to see a renovation project on this scale through. Middletown’s mayor and historic commission were grateful she did—after 27 months of construction time, they organized a ribbon cutting at the salon, publicly thanking Migirova for undertaking this project, sticking to the vision and ultimately giving the neighborhood a face lift and an economic boost.