Natural Highlights

Ginger Bay Salon and Spa seamlessly blends worker- and eco-friendly features in an expansive, upscale retreat
Posted June 17, 2013

The owner of Ginger Bay Salon and Spa in Town & Country, Mo., had a clear vision of what she wanted to achieve when designing her second St. Louis-area salon: sustainability and ease of maintenance within a high-end hospitality setting.

To that end, Laura Ortmann tapped Whitney Lannert, interior designer at Rataj-Krueger Architects Inc. (St. Louis) to convert the “big white box,” as Lannert describes it, into an airy, contemporary space with an industrial flair.

“When you enter the salon, you’re presented with this wow factor that many hospitality spaces strive to present, and a comfort level, too,” says Lannert. “It really is a hospitality-driven environment.”

The primary concerns of the project were durability, initial and life-cycle costs, and the environmental attributes of the products and manufacturers. “We were committed to sustainability with this project – not to achieve sustainability ratings but every element we put into the projects had a sustainable component,” says Lannert.

A white palette provides a neutral backdrop that highlights the processes and functions of the salon as well as the bold artwork, hung high on the walls for a gallery effect. Contrasting vinyl floor planks serve as a wayfinding tool throughout the salon and are mirrored by the undulating ceiling.

Lighting was a key consideration, and a challenge. “We spent a long time working with a lighting consultant to achieve the correct Kelvin temperature,” Lannert says. “We strove to be sure that clients looked their best in the space so that hair color and skin tones would render correctly.”

With its western orientation, the salon is subject to strong afternoon sun rays streaming through its front window, so Lannert commissioned light-colored canvas shades with some transparency to permit a view from the outside. The large “experience bar” at the front of the salon also restricts the sun’s penetration to the service areas beyond.

The salon’s wide-open space presented a potential acoustical nightmare for the design team: the constant roar of hair dryers and conversation, which would reverberate if not for a few buffering elements that were specified. Special padding behind the artwork and the gypsum board “clouds” from which the hair dryers hang help to diffuse the din.

Worker comfort was also top of mind for the owner, says Lannert. “Everything from the adjustable height of the chairs to the rubber flooring in the spa rooms and the suspended hair dryers were designed with ergonomics in mind, as the majority of the stylist’s job is spent standing and doing repetitive motions.”

All those pristine surfaces beg the question: How will the materials stand up to the common threats of nail polish, acetone and hair dye?

“We dumped all those things on every surface and material we put in the space,” Lannert relates. “Then we let it sit there for a day as spills aren’t always noticed immediately. The [favorable results] were critical to ensuring that the owners would have a nice space five years down the road.”

Project Suppliers

Retailer and Designer: Ginger Bay Salon & Spa, Kirkwood, Mo.; Laura A. Ortmann, ceo; Michelle Steimann, director of facilities

Design and Architecture: Rataj-Krueger Inc., St. Louis; Kurt Krueger, principal
Whitney Lannert, interior designer;

General Contractor: JE Foster Building Co., St. Louis

Audio/Visual: Muzak, Fort Mill, S.C.

Ceilings: T.J. Wies Contracting Inc., Lake St. Louis, Mo.

Wallcoverings and Materials: Gage Metal, Sparta, Wis.; Avonite, Florence, Ky.; Stone Trends LLC/Cambria Brand, Chesterfield, Mo.

Fixtures: Novvo, Toronto, Ont.; Takara Belmont, St. Louis

Flooring; Centiva/R&F Tile Marble Co. Inc., St. Charles, Mo.

Furniture: A&M Salon Equipment, St. Louis; Stone Trends & Tile, Chesterfield, Mo.; Takara Belmont, St. Louis

Lighting: SSLTG Lighting Associates, Chesterfield, Mo.; Tim Lamberth, principal

Props and decs: Aveda Midwest, Minneapolis; Novvo, Toronto, Ont.

Artwork: Innovative Machine & Supply Laser Metal Cutting, Valley Park, Mo.; Soho Myriad, Atlanta

Signage/Graphics: Signcrafters, St. Louis; Aveda Midwest, Minneapolis

Millwork: Takara Belmont, St. Louis; Tops Unlimited, Fenton, Mo.

Wallcoverings and Materials: Scuffmaster/Wolf Gordon, Long Island City, N.Y.; Wilsonart LLC, Temple, Texas; Foreman Fabricators, St. Louis; Crossville, Charlotte, N.C.; Daltile, St. Louis; Jeffery Court, Norco, Calif.; Johnsonite, Chagrin Falls, Ohio; J + J Invision, Dalton, Ga.; Koroseal Interior Products, RJF Intl. Corp., Fairlawn, Ohio

Window treatments: Signaturecreaft/Hunter Douglas, St. Louis

Photography: Darin Wood, Film That House, St. Louis