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Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Interior Beauty Secrets of Solaia Luxury Salon & Spa

Our salon interior design project for Solaia Luxury Salon & Spa in Naperville, Illinois won Salon of Distinction 2018 with Salon Today Magazine. With this entry we will take you on a journey through the eyes of interior designers.

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When you enter Solaia Luxury Salon & Spa a beautiful motion display of landscape scenery begins your luxury beauty experience.

Guests are greeted by 6 LCD monitors at Solaia Luxury Salon & Spa in Naperville, Illinois.

At the salon's reception desk there is a gorgeous white sparkle stacked ledge stone. The reclaimed-looking porcelain floor tiles provide a distressed, vintage-factory wood floorboard aesthetic while coordinating with classic herringbone patterns.

Salon and spa retail spaces should be organized and clean for to properly showcase product offerings.

When you pass the salon and spa retail area, the Hospitality Lounge comes into view. It is the heart of this establishment and was designed to invite guests to linger and indulge. 

This luxury sofa was upholstered in our custom peacock color from the Michele Pelafas Spring 2018 Collection.

Here guests relax on a custom peacock colored sofa beside a gorgeous fireplace. Above this tranquil space hangs a beautiful starburst chandelier that pays homage to its company logo mark - the sun.

A picturesque arrangement of custom furniture styling stations, nail tables, and pedicure chairs.

A picturesque arrangement of custom furniture including styling stations, nail tables, and a make-up unit made from the same reflective high gloss acrylic material as the custom reception desk, enriches the interior by providing depth, clarity, and durability. 

Solaia's styling stations feature mirrors with integrated retail displays and perimeter lighting.

Solaia's tailor-made chic styling chairs were upholstered in a custom luxury faux hair on hide, which is highly durable and perfect for the salon environment. The exotic, rich and warm tone of this high style fabric will be seen again in the shampoo room.

Beauty is in the details at Solaia Luxury Salon & Spa.

Every detail was carefully designed to personalize the beauty experience and promote a hospitality style environment.

Interior Design & Furniture By Michele Pelafas, Inc.

Salon of the Year 2018: Solaia Luxury Salon & Spa on Salon Today.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Platinum 34 Salon – Chicago, IL

High-style Chicago salon in the heart of the Gold Coast. Platinum 34 Salon reflects a soft modern organic quality. This ethereal space was designed to show true hair colors while basking in the glow of natural light.

This uplifting space was created to enhance natural lighting.

Their private shampoo experience features our plush Miami Shampoo Jet.  Miami is a luxury shampoo backwash unit with a pivoting sink bowl and chair for high comfort and style in one complete wellness shampoo system.

Enjoy a private shampoo wellness experience at Platinum 34 Salon.

 Our signature accent color for the Michele Pelafas Spring 2018 Collection is Peacock and this area exudes outdoors vibes through natural hues, high contrast photography, and a touch of nature.

Our velvety soft and sumptuous peacock colored sofa makes a bold statement at Platinum 34 Salon.

Interior Design & Furniture By Michele Pelafas, Inc.

Platinum 34 Salon has been featured on Salon Today's Blog.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Product Highlight: Miami Wash Jet

This month’s product highlight is a favorite in salon design for customers and owners alike. This luxury shampoo backwash unit with pivoting sink basin and chair combines high comfort and style in one complete wellness shampoo system for both the technician and guest. 
View Online Details Here

Quality performance is at the height of this shampoo unit with a steel inside structure and molded polyurethane foam padding for the chair and a heavy-duty steel structure to support the generously sized porcelain sink with chrome fittings at the work station. Rear cover of ABS acrylic.

This unit includes a motorized leg rest and a toning, lymphatic drainage massage through a constantly changing air flow activated along the whole surface of the chair back and seat for the ultimate in relaxation and an exceptional shampoo experience.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Style, Technology, & Comfort Collide: The Ultimate Pedicure Bench

The pedicure bench was born in response to the nail industry looking for something fresh and new in lieu of the “traditional pedicure spa” that we have seen over the past 25 years.  With salon and spa owners wanting pedicure furniture that is comfortable, inviting and makes a statement about their business, the pedicure bench trend continues.

Still today, when we begin speaking with our clients, the first question for many is:  “Is the pedicure bench comfortable?”  The answer is yes, when the bench is built to the proper measurements, cushion thickness, ergonomics and so on.   With so many owners having attempted to build their pedicure benches on their own, without the experience and the know-how, there are many pedicure benches that exist in salons and spas today that are not comfortable, falling apart, unsafe and un-functional.  This is unfortunate.  It is a guessing game for anyone without experience to build a pedicure bench, especially when each detail truly matters and when the results can be detrimental to your business with any negative press about the guest’s comfort, safety and experiences.  We can assure our clients that our pedicure benches are built for form, quality, comfort and, yes, technology.

With cleanliness, sanitation and ventilation in nail salons being a national conversation as well as regulated by code, state-of-the-art technology is a critical component to the pedicure bench.  We offer a variety of pedicure sinks that have a non-porous sealed surfaces, easy to clean Pipe-less jets, auto-fill, LED color changing lights, adjustable height foot rests and the ability to integrate a ventilation system easily during the installation.   We will work with your architects, engineers and contractor’s to formulate and recommend the best solution to fit your specific requirements when it comes to technology and the design.  You have options and we can help.

Shall we talk fashion? Yes, please!

We are all about style and we love helping our clients find and realize their ultimate pedicure benches with a look to fit their brand and business. Diamond Tufting, decorative nail heads, tall backs, short backs, damask, black, white, taupe and gray, the list goes on and on.  We have thousands of fabrics from which to choose and if you can dream it, we can build it.  For example, if you want an upholstered arm built-into the bench, we know the specific details about clearances, heights and depth that will allow your guests to feel comfortable and yet get in and out of the bench with ease.  If you want integrated storage, we can do that too.

No matter what your design, your ultimate customizable bench will combine just the right amount of angle to the back, depth to the seat and contour to the foam with a special softness and support to give your guests the feeling that “comfort truly is king/queen”.  We never stray from the original details that have allowed us our success.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Audrey at The Spa by Ivanka Trump

Featuring this amazing installation of our Audrey Pedicure Chair at the Spa by Ivanka Trump in Vancouver.  Such an elegant and beautiful detail - the epitome of style.

Saturday, October 28, 2017


Getting to the heart & soul of hospitality style starts with understanding the true meaning of hospitality.  Essentially, it comes down to this:  “the relationship between a host and a guest, wherein the host receives the guest with goodwill, including reception, service and entertainment”.

Once you embrace all this encompasses, it becomes apparent why the hospitality style trend is happening and continues to evolve in today's salon and spa environment.  Anything and everything you do to attract new guests, retain your existing clientele and compete with the nail salon down the street can be defined by your goodwill, your reception, your service and your entertainment.  Hospitality style is the hallmark of your business.  How well does your interior design support this level of goodwill?

Hospitality style is not defined by whether your space is “glamorous and chic” or “simple and modern”.  You can have a fun and quirky space or a California-vibe happening with a mid-century modern feel and still have hospitality style.  Or not.  So what is hospitality style and how do you get it?

Hospitality style can be explained by the finer points of your interior.  The unique and memorable details that become part of the experiences your guests take with them…. the inherit character of the space and how it positively resonates with your guest…these are the talking points that keep guests coming back for more and these are ones that they tell their family and friends.  It is how your business stands out and how you entertain and service your guests.  Visual distinction and one-of-a-kind, comfortable details is what makes hospitality style – your hospitality style.

The more refinement you put into the design, the more hospitable your space will be.  Hospitality design is in the extra-ordinary particulars:  locally curated art, a cozy pedicure chair, a custom chandelier, an unexpected shape, a dimensional architectural wall, a cool wall covering, a bold color on the ceiling, a luxurious foot bath, in-direct lighting in a niche.  I think you get the picture.  

Remember, authenticity is at the core of hospitality and your guests will know when a detail is not genuine.  Copy cats beware.  Authenticity comes from innovation – meaning don’t do what everyone else is doing.  Create your own “memorable detail”.  Simply adding a water feature to your space can be disingenuous.  Guests also appreciate it when details are not forced upon them.  It is all about great design and innate balance.

Build the type of character within your space that is true to your brand, your region and your clientele, and match that style with a killer service.  You are the host, so bring good cheer to your guests for good business sense and hospitality style. 

Michele Pelafas Inc is a leading design firm in the spa, beauty and medical spa industry.  Clients include spas, salons, women's and wellness centers, medical spas, nail salons, healthcare facilities, hotel spas and fitness centers. For more information about how Michele Pelafas can bring your hospitality style to life contact us on our website today! 

Sunday, October 15, 2017

The Creative Process & My Inspiration

Recently, a client asked me about my technique and how I find originality in my designs.  As I was reflecting on this conversation, my thoughts turned to my creative path, my unfolding of ideas, my expression of insight and how it all starts with that beautiful muse I call inspiration.

Inspiration drives me, so I intentionally seek inspiration.  It fuels the industry that I'm in.  Recognizing what inspires you becomes a reflex because in this field you are continuously envisioning how one element can tie into the next and what product it would work best with.  I am most inspired when I am in a quiet place or during travel, so I try to find multiple ways to carve out that time.

My visit to The Hotel Plaza Athenee in Paris was beyond exquisite, almost like a fairy tale.
It is classical and whimsical at the same time.
The Dior Institute lives here and so does our Pedicure Furniture.  What a dream!

Nature, from her rugged textures to her smoother elements, causes me to think of how patterns and lines work in sync with one another.  This is partly why I am often inspired by the textiles found in fabrics and wall coverings, in addition to interesting sculptural materials and finishes.  Because I am deeply connected to the design community, I am always exposed to materials that are unique and different.  I see a gorgeous fabric and I begin to imagine a piece, such as a pedicure chair, that would bring out the best in the fabric.

I am completely inspired by this over-the-top fabric.
I see this translating to both apparel and a chic interior.

I am also inspired by fashion and art.  I appreciate how creative the human mind is and for me a unique handbag or modern sculpture provides a tangible "voice" to that side of humanity.  Seeing the classical architecture of Paris or spending an afternoon absorbed in a NYC Fashion Week frenzy feeds my creative side.  

I am front row at this Neiman Marcus fashion show taking in the layers,
the textures, the colors and pure style.  Great handbag!

I read a lot of books and magazines, the ones that I can physically touch, not the digital kind.  While I appreciate the digital world, I am most engaged in the physical and the physical is where I find motivation.  To lay something out before you, touch it, live with it - that translates to inspiration for me.  I want the tactile experience of the book, I want to feel the weight of it in my hands.  Creative expression, in any form for me, is a consistent source of renewal.

Inspiration is the life-blood of who I am.  From nature to travel to artistic expression, I have found my "muse" in many different forms all over the world.  Whether I am designing a new piece for a spa or helping breathe life into a client's dream, I am thankful for the many ways my muse encourages me every day.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

2017 NY Fall Fashion Week: Over the Top in Fur

Fur is still very much in fashion, as demonstrated by this fall's NY Fashion week.  A fur coat can be worn glam when you are dressed to the nines or understated “casual cool” with a pair of sneakers making it the “go to” fashion staple in any closet both real and faux.  Fur certainly plays out in today’s interior and I’ve always been a big believer in the overlap of apparel and interior trends. 

Audrey Pedicure Chair styled in Cozy Neutral Lambskin Fur and Damask Accent

When we were styling Audrey, fur seemed like the obvious and appropriate response for a glamorous statement and an unexpected twist while enhancing the classic shape of the chair.  Audrey has a great fashion sense and there is a tremendous opportunity to completely customize her look.  We were excited about how a cozy plush neutral lambskin would work on the interior sides of the chair so that guests would feel welcomed and enveloped by luxury.  In addition, one of the five senses is “touch” and appealing to this sense is crucial for a feeling of relaxation.  Audrey’s fur has a silky softness and superb texture that appeals to this sense. 

Design is in the details.  Fur is a classic staple and will enhance any pedicure experience.

If you are considering fur as an accent on your pedicure chair, consider wear-a-bility and use fur on areas that will receive the least amount of use, even as a simple accent pillow.   Audrey’s lambskin fur is perfectly placed and she is rocking this “over-the-top” couture detail for both form and function.  No traditional pedicure chair could rival her chic style.  Your pedicure chair, too, can be the talk of the town with “fur” being the main topic of their conversation.  Remember:  fashion risks bring fashion rewards.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Meet Our Client: Neroli Spa and Beauty Lounge

We recently jumped at the opportunity to talk with Suzanne Owen, owner of Neroli Spa and Beauty Lounge in Charlottesville, VA and a Michele Pelafas design client.  Suzanne shared her thoughts with us about the spa industry at large as well as her personal experience as a long-time client of Michele Pelafas.

You are the founder and owner of Neroli Spa and Beauty Lounge.  Tell us about that journey.  I have spent 20 years in the beauty industry.  I entered the industry as a makeup artist in a salon environment because I love making people feel good about how they look.  I also found myself drawn to the business side of the spa industry which led me to take a position as a spa manager for several brands.  After managing other spas, I felt I was ready to head out on my own and opened Neroli Spa and Beauty Lounge in the original location.  It has been a great adventure!  Everyone at Neroli loves what they do and genuinely cares about the client’s experience.  We are proud to be part of Charlottesville for over 10 years.

You recently moved to a new location and chose Michele Pelafas to create the new space for you.  Tell us about that decision.  We had worked with Michele Pelafas when we created our first location and from that experience we knew she would be the perfect choice for creating our new space.  Michele and I had an instant connection.  She has an incredible sense of style.  Michele also has an ability to really visualize the potential of a space and then make that vision become a reality.  She truly understands what our customers, the spa-goer, want.  As I had said before, client experience is everything.  You need to exceed client expectations every single time.  That starts with the design of the space; it sets the bar for the rest of the experience.  Michele is an absolute professional, there is nobody better out there to work with.  She knows exactly what it takes to wow our clients and delivers it.  In fact, the number one thing we hear when clients walk in is that our spa looks amazing.

What do you think lies ahead for the spa industry?  For high-end spas like ours, we are facing the challenge of time.  People feel guilty about taking the time to take care of themselves.  They think they should be working or with the kids or family rather than spending time in a spa.  So when they do take that time we need to give them a destination not a treatment.  For example, we have a zen garden where clients can relax and have lunch in between treatments.  Every aspect of what we do is focused on taking care of the client.  Spas will need to focus even more on the environment as well as the service.  We definitely recommend Michele Pelafas for any spa looking to create that type of oasis.

Furniture & Design by Michele Pelafas, Inc.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Behind the Scenes at Michele Pelafas, Inc.

Check out our showroom, salon & spa design studio and salon and spa furniture manufacturing facility in this behind the scenes video.  You will have a sneak peak into the day in the life of Michele.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Salon Lighting - What You Need to Know Today

Salon Lighting Should Flatter the Complexion and Compliment the Interior

Bulbs come in a variety of temperatures ranging from very warm to cool.  A warm temperature bulb (2,700 to 3,500 Kelvin temperature) is the most flattering on the complexion and compliments most salon interiors.  Cool temperatures (4,800 Kelvin temperature) can equate to daylight (a sunny afternoon) and is typically not the most flattering temperature (think about being out in broad daylight and how your skin looks in the sun).  Daylight/cool temperature bulbs will grey-out warm interiors as well as wash-out guests.

Warmer Temperature Bulbs are both Flattering to the Complexion and to the Interior

Salon Lighting Should Accurately Render Color 
Have you ever heard stories about guests receiving hair color only to walk outside and the color appears differently?  The simple solution is to utilize bulbs in the space that accurately renders color.  How well a bulb accurately renders color is determined by the bulb's Color Rendering Index which represents the quality of light and its faithfulness to render colors.  Always request bulbs that have a Color Rendering Index (CRI) of 86 or higher.

Utilize bulbs that have a high Color Rendering Index (CRI) of 86 or higher

Salon Lighting Should be Positioned to Eliminate Shadows
How a guest looks in the salon chair is paramount in the salon environment.  If a guest feels good about their appearance, it reinforces a positive experience for repeat business and increased revenues.  The easiest way to help eliminate shadows on the face is to position lighting at the mirror on either side to directly light the complexion.  This too should be a flattering temperature bulb (2,700 to 3,500 Kelvin).  Spotty lighting above, such as track fixtures, will also create shadows.  In this type of application, wall lighting on the face is even more important.

Lighting on either side of the mirror eliminates shadows on the face and is flattering on the complexion

Invest in Energy-Efficient Bulbs for Long-Term Savings
Light Emitting Diode (LED) bulbs have revolutionized energy efficient lighting.  When possible, request salon light fixtures that support these types of lamps.  With a wide variety of color temperatures and high Color Rendering Index options, these bulbs are ideal for the salon environment.  Although these lamps are typically higher in cost to purchase, the investment is worth it as these lamps have long life, use less energy, save on maintenance and replacement costs and provide long term savings.

Use LED lighting for long term cost savings

Overhead Task Lighting and General Illumination

Overhead fixtures provide you with general lighting to perform tasks as well as light the overall space.  If the overhead lighting is properly designed, this will provide enough lighting to perform all of the required tasks for hair styling and color application.  Separate "task lighting" is not required if the overhead lighting is properly configured.  Proper overhead lighting will vary from space to space and is dependent upon the ceiling height and type (open, grid, etc) as well as how dark or light the space is.  A lighting designer who understands the intricacies of salon lighting can help.

Effective lighting is dependent upon the ceiling height and type.  There is always a solution when you enlist an expert.

Quality Lighting Counts
As in anything, quality matters.  LED and florescent bulbs, while a wonderful source of general lighting, can be flat.  There are thousands of sources for LED lighting and for as many quality options on the market there are just as many poor ones.  Look for LED bulbs that replicate Halogen bulbs, have a high CRI (Color Rendering Index) and have high quality optics that bring just enough sparkle to the space to show the depth, dimension & shine to the fabulous hair that you produce.

Remember, the best lighting for your salon combines a variety of lighting to suit its particular purpose.  While you do not have to be an expert here, the idea is to be able to effectively communicate the basics so that you can explore all of your lighting options to fit your budget and ensure a successful result.


Sunday, April 2, 2017

Semi-Private Kerastase Hair Suite

A visually stimulating multi-purpose semi-private hair care and shampoo suite maximizes sales opportunities with a captive audience.  Be sure to include easily-accessible specialty hair care products, deep conditioning treatments and hair consultation services. 

Interior Design & Furnishings by Michele Pelafas, Inc.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Design Tip of the Day

We are loving the clean lines in an open raw modern space that is filled with light and nature.  Keep the space simple and add a statement styling chair in a bold color.  

Mellow Styling Chair

Royal Purple accented with Lemon will do the trick!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Wednesday Wisdom

The core and foundation of our company is design.  It is our character and in our DNA.  Here our design team takes in continuous learning - every Wednesday at "Rise and Shine with Design" in our Design Studio.

Standing, Director of Design, Valerie Putman.  Sitting left to right:  Rita Starshinova, Claudelle Daoud, Kasee Smith, Kasia Cabala

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Stella on ABC's The Bachelor this Season!

Our Stella Pedicure Chair received her 15 minutes of fame.  Champagne Nail Lounge, Hollywood, was the filming location for Danielle L's pre-season hometown interview.  Stella looked amazing on TV!

Stella Pedicure Chair & Foot Spa by Michele Pelafas, Inc.
Interior Design by AT Design LLC, Irvine, CA

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Luxe at Luxy Lady in Long Island City

Warm golden tones of bronze and champagne mixed with creamy hues illuminate from corner to corner setting the tone for a lavish experience at Luxy Lady Salon in Long Island City, NY.

Interior Design & Custom Furnishings by Michele Pelafas, Inc.

I particularly love the beautifully draped bronze mesh curtain and the polished finishes in gloss, mirror and metal with plush seating.  This unique design makes for a stand-out space.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Design is in the Details

It is the details that make a treatment room truly special.  Hospitality style comfort is essential in a spa design.  Here we feature a treatment room suite equipped with a soaking tub. 

Interior Design by Michele Pelafas, Inc.

New Beauty Wellness, Westport, CT

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Diamonds are a Girls Best Friend

On this Valentines Day, we are highlighting the diamond.  This shape plays out beautifully with this custom styling station, mirror and wall cladding at the new Zazu Salon in Chicago's Goldcoast.

Wall Cladding of Alternating Gloss and Matte White Acrylic - All Made by Hand
Zazu Salon, Chicago, IL
Interior Design & Furnishings by Michele Pelafas, Inc.

Happy Valentines Day!


Sunday, November 13, 2016

Carrie Has Arrived

Our beloved Carrie Pedicure Chair has arrived!  And arrive she did, in effortless style, at the Neroli Spa & Beauty Lounge in Charlottesville, Virginia, the perfect location for her debut. We dressed her up in luxe fabrics including a chic burnished metallic faux leather on the outside back with a whimsical yet modern floral on the inside and a plush neutral on the seat to flaunt the high ceilings, raw finishes and the natural light within this oh-so-cool space. 

Carrie Swivel Pedicure Chair in her new home. 

The expansive space has a full spa on the lower level with an outdoor zen garden and balcony.

Nail bar constructed of porcelain slabs to resemble marble - it is a simple yet dramatic statement in the space.

Neroli's boutique features one-of-a kind pieces and is the perfect destination for all things "Spa".

Exposed brick walls, duct-work and black steel are enhanced by a soft color palette and gold accents.

The Grand Opening Event - I could not miss a photo op in our favorite swivel pedicure chair!

Evening provided the perfect backdrop for this photo.

Spa Lounge overlooking the peaceful and thoughtful Zen Garden

Zen Garden Detail

Serenity, Sophistication, Raw Space & Glam come together at Neroli Spa & Beauty Lounge
Thank you & Congratulations 
to Suzanne Owen, owner, on her new home!
Interior Design, Fixtures and Furniture
 by Michele Pelafas, Inc.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Introducing the Low Back Pedicure Lounge & Foot Spa

Comfortably modern this pedicure lounge features over-sized fully upholstered side arms with an integrated table towards the back for table lamps.  Customize yours with our premium fabrics and ultra-leathers. 

Includes our Chroma Jet Pedicure Sink & Magna-Jet Pipe-less Technology for Easy Cleaning & Sanitation.
Shown in grouping of 3 - available in any quantity from a single unit to as many as required.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016


To all of our valued customers, new friends and visitors for making our CHICAGO DEBUT a true success! The show was nothing short of amazing and for that we are grateful.  To see all of our collections visit and for show pricing call 866.990.7750.

Left:  Miami Styling Chair, Center:  Carrie Pedicure Chair, Right:  Chiocciola Black Styling Chair, Sparkle Mirror and Gold Star Styling Chair

Top Left:  Soliel Banquette, Bottom Left:  Social Butterfly Pedicure Bench, & Jenni Pedicure Chair, Right:  Chiocciola Black Styling Chair, Sparkle Mirror and Gold Star Styling Chair