January 28, 2007 (RALEIGH, NC) – Inside Samuel Cole Salon’s modern, curvilinear interior, with its sleek espresso cabinetry, polished Pakistani onyx reception counter, glowing frosted-glass shampoo unit from Germany with white porcelain bowls that look more like sculpture than equipment — it’s easy to forget you’re in the upper north side of Raleigh instead of the upper west side of NYC.
For a year, Samuel Cole Salon’s co-owners Jack and Joelle Ray have been working with interior designers Michael Perry of Porto in North Hills and Clark Hipolito of The Art Company on Glenwood to create an ambience that’s as au courant as the hair styling for which the award-winning salon is known. The results of this collaboration will be unveiled Saturday, February 3, when the “new” and expanded Samuel Cole Salon officially re-opens at 240 Newton Road.
The Rays, a husband-and-wife team who named their salon for their two sons, began “remodeling from the inside out” about three years ago, they said, when they took a hard look at the business side of things and began making some much-needed changes. Those changes caused their client base literally to double, then continue to grow by 50 percent each of the next two years. When the storefront space beside theirs became available a year ago, they knew it was time to enlarge and remodel the physical facility.
The expansion allowed the salon to grow from 1400 square feet to 2800 square feet, which gave Perry and Hipolito ample room to use custom designed cabinetry to create separate and distinctive areas for styling services, retail, and reception. They also managed to strike a balance between “urban chic” and “warm and inviting” by juxtaposing the more sleek, modern aspects of the interior with such elements as a pale blue ceiling and honey-hued bamboo flooring. The bamboo also appealed to the Rays’ and their designers’ desire to be good stewards of the environment. Bamboo can be completely cut down but the roots are never damaged, so the forest grows back quickly for reharvesting. “Cork and bamboo are the ultimate ‘green,’ renewable resources,” Jack Ray said.
The cork floor in the styling section also softens the visual effect, but Michael Perry specified it for two other reasons: Like the bamboo, it’s environmentally responsible. Just as importantly, it’s comfortable for the stylists – a fact few other salons in the nation have discovered. “Cork is harvested from the bark of the cork oak tree, so the tree isn’t damaged or cut down,” Joelle explained. “It’s also water, insect, and fire resistant. And the air trapped inside the cellular structure of cork is a natural shock absorber so our stylists are comfortable standing on their feet for hours on end without us having to resort to those big, black mats.” Another special feature in the new salon is Clark Hipolito’s faux finishing. For example, a large faux copper wall fronts the styling area. The same finish adds a note of elegance to the restrooms.
According to the Rays, the new salon not only gives the staff more room in which to work and will accommodate an ever-growing client base, it’s also “very inspiring, very uplifting,” Joelle said. “It creates energy because it’s a high-impact space. It just feels good to be here.” The Rays believe that feeling will appeal to current and future clients. The re-opening will take place Saturday between 6 and 8 p.m. Sponsors include Porto, Margaux’s, Bluewater Spa, and The Art Company.