January 17, 2021

I Design Salon, Hinsdale, IL

Before, During and After a Global Pandemic

Coming up on their 20th year in business, Tami Abraham, co-owner I Design Salon, knew that it was the perfect time to give the salon a new look.  The salon was looking tired and needed an image that reflected the high quality work and talent that they produced.  They also wanted environment that the clients would enjoy for years to come.

This was an exciting time.  Little did she know, her prefect timing was about to run a collision course with a world pandemic and “unessential business” shut down.  Yes, every remodeling project has its challenges and hiccups.  To turn a business upside down is stressful to say the least.  But no one could plan for this.

In early March 2020, just as construction was about to begin, the reality of the Pandemic was upon us and her business was required to shut down.  Her investment dollars had already been spent.  The time and effort to make this happen, had been made.  The risk had just increased.  Resources had dwindled.  And the economic future has become certainly uncertain.  But there was no turning back.

Here is how Tami made this happen with perseverance and strength.

“Noone expected the pandemic to strike midway through the project. The old cliche, we are in this together, was no more apparent than at that time.”

— Michele Pelafas

Q + A

How long did the project take from start to finish?

Our project took almost 12 months from start to finish. Tami and Salon Director, Rachel began to research and explore ideas for the salon remodel in June of 2019. Actual Demo started 3/20/20 and we completed the project at 6pm on 5/28/20. We were allowed to open the very next day after Illinois “Unessential business” were allowed to reopen. Construction took 10 weeks.

What was most important to you about this remodel?

The validation that we made all the right design choices as the salon went from an empty box after demo days, to our modern, classic and functional new salon. Second was the emotional aspect that hovered over us with the Coronavirus pandemic, and how we were able to accomplish such a great undertaking during this time.

Why did you decide to work with a Salon Designer?

We decided to use Michele Pelafas when we realized we were over our head trying to make our own design decisions. With the budget escalating with everything we wanted to do, we did not want to make wrong decisions and Michele and her team was perfect to lead us in the right direction with a vision and all of the design elements.

Briefly describe the design process for you.

We first heard of Michele’s company through Salon Today Magazine. Her design studio and manufacturing facility was so close our Hinsdale Salon. I reached out to her and set a meeting with her to tour our existing salon. We discussed ideas, what we were struggling with, and she quickly refocused us with a vision board for a new salon.

Once we began to work with Michele, our design process became fun and exciting! Michele did a wonderful job transferring her vision for our salon into renderings with a modern elegant look and practical equipment for the stylists that was current and relevant for today’s salon.

One of the biggest recommendations Michele worked with us on was our lighting. We knew we had opportunities in that area, but she is  a lighting expert!  It is remarkable how the changes we made for functional and decorative lighting with LED lighting and mirrors have helped the stylists in their work and brightened up the salon so our clients can leave the salon loving their true color.

What was the most challenging part of the project?

The most challenging part of our remodel was that we were shut down due to COVID-19 right as our demo and remodel was to begin. We went day by day hoping the general contractor could continuing working.  Resources were limited, including the flooring that we specified.  What was supposed to be a one week construction project dragged out to a 10 week project.

How did you staff respond to the remodel?

Because we we remodeling during the Covid-19 quarantine, our salon staff was not allowed in the building during this time. The excitement, smiles and joy when we were able to reveal to them our new home brought happy tears for  all of us!  A Champagne toast was in order!

How did your clients respond to the remodel?

Our clients were over the top with the WOW factor of the new salon! We shut down March 19th, 2020 as a basic outdated salon and reopened 10 weeks later as this fresh, moderm,  relevant new salon. Everything was so breathtaking and there were so many design elements to take in, they were beyond words.  They were so happy for us and so impressed with the new look and it was perfect timing to unveil a fresh, new, bright & clean salon! Not only were we following new safety protocols, our salon reflected a safe clean environment as well.



“Our recommendation to any salon owner considering a massive remodel of an existing salon is to make sure you are working with a good general contractor and salon designer. They are the experts and can guide you in making the right decisions for your salon. They make sure you don’t make costly mistakes during the process. They also bring fresh ideas to the process that you might not think about. LOVED, LOVED, every step of the transformation!”















“The most rewarding part of the remodel was watching it all unfold and seeing our choices move from renderings to actual finished products.”

— Tami Abraham, Salon Owner