Sometimes I forget that not everyone follows me all over the web. I have a few blogs, a personal facebook page, as well as a page for Nailed It!, a twitter account, and heaven knows how many other accounts on websites I've long forgotten. Remembering what I've posted where, and who might have seen it, is just a little too much for me. So when people come into the salon and ask what it looked like before we renovated, I scramble trying to remember where I've posted pictures that they might have access to.
It would all be so much simpler if I could send them to a blog, one made just for the salon, don't ya think?
So a little background to begin with, our building is located in historic West Racine and as such, is an old building with a lot of history and character; and a lot of challenges. When I first visited it, I could see the potential in the space, but it was so far from the vision I had for my salon that I wasn't sure if it would ever morph into that picture in my head. I liked the space, I just wasn't sure if I loved it. Then, as the weeks of construction turned into months, I realized that not only did I not love the place, some days I despised every square foot of it. It was a long, grueling process fraught with respiratory infections from the construction dust, aching limbs, and the occasional bleeding appendage.
Now that it's finished though, I love my salon! More so because I put so much of myself into it. Literally. The subfloor is stained with my tears, and I think small bits of my flesh are still clinging to a few of the drywall screws. Yet knowing that I am now a part of the history of West Racine is just an amazing thing, and I'm so proud to be where I am, and to have accomplished what we have.
So having said that, on with the pictures...
Here you can see the front of the building as it was when we moved in. In the past, the shop was a hair braiding studio, a florists, and a nail salon on at least one other occasion (possibly more).
Here is the building as it looks today. The white paint gives it a fresher feel, and the black and white is more reminiscent of a traditional Tudor facade.
The building sat empty for a couple of years before we moved in, and as a result had some water damage that needed to be dealt with. The area of the salon that is now the sink and dispense counter was one of the worst areas in our suite. Below is how it looked when we moved in.
The entire wall needed to be taken down, which worked in our favor because the plumbing also needed to be addressed, and we needed to add GFCI outlets.
After the work was done inside of the wall, new drywall was put up, and cabinets were built into the area.
Here is how it looks today. Clean, beautiful, and bright!
If you ever stopped into the building when it was still a hair braiding studio, you know that what is now one big room, used to be two small rooms. The front portion of the space, with large south facing windows, let in all kinds of beautiful sunlight from outside. The back room, however, was dark and dismal. Barely any light managed to penetrate back there, and I knew from the start that we needed to fix that.
The wall had to go...
Now the space is open and bright, and the sun lights up the entire room during the day.
The front end of the salon was in good shape, and was a cheery space, but the décor needed a serious update.
The country cottage look had to go, so the wainscoting came down, the walls were painted a fresh white, and the window trim was updated with black paint.
Today this is my favorite place in the salon. Even on a dreary day it's bright and cheerful. I love to sit at my manicure table to do nails and create art samples. It's impossible to feel melancholy in such a vibrant space!
One of the most comfortable places in the salon is the pedicure area, but you wouldn't have known it a year ago. You see, the place where people now sit back and relax to get their feet cared for used to be a closet.
In the interest of having more useable space on the salon floor, we tore it out. It wasn't difficult, there wasn't very much holding it in there to begin with.
Now the crawl-space above, along with a single support pillar, create an intimate space for a luxurious pedicure.
It's not all about the space though. In building the salon, and trying to give it a retro ambiance, we scoured antique shops and garage sales for items we could use to decorate the space. One of the most difficult, but also one of the best, projects were the chairs my sister found...
I was looking for chairs that would feel at home in a 50's diner, but despite many weeks of searching, I couldn't find anything appropriate that I could also afford. Until my sister found these at a rummage sale.
I was dubious, to say the least. After all, this was a semi upscale salon I was trying to build, and that chair up there, that's not upscale.
She convinced me to try recovering them though, and after two days of heating and stretching vinyl, and stapling so many staples that my hand was so badly bruised I couldn't move my thumb for a week, this is what we came up with.
They're not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but they're mine, and I love them.
So that's the story of how Nailed It! came to be, and how we turned a dreary little space into a vibrant little salon. I love it, and I hope you stop in sometime so you can see it and love it too! Until then...
The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.
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