HJ Interiors: Scandi Simplicity at Karoliina Saunders Hair Design
Karoliina Saunders’ redesigned salon exudes calmness, serenity and takes inspiration from her Nordic heritage
Name: Karoliina Saunders Hair Design
Address: 2 Sheep Street, Highworth, SN6 7AA
Owners: Karoliina and Mark Saunders
How long have you been in the premises: 7 years
How many staff: 5
After beginning her hairdressing journey 28 years ago in Finland, by the age of 20 Karoliina was art director and assistant manager at TONI&GUY. After opening her first salon seven years ago, she decided to use lockdown to give it a total refresh that reflected her brand in 2020.
“I have been leaning towards a more eco-friendly and sustainable approach to how we do things for a while so that was the direction we took for the redesign,” Karoliina explains. “I also had it in the back of my mind that we were heading into a ‘new normal’ post-COVID19 so my salon layout would need to be adaptable to whatever the future would throw at us. Being Scandinavian I wanted the overall aesthetic of my salon to reflect some of my Nordic heritage and influences from home too.”
In fact, the layout was directly inspired by a remote lakeside cottage Karoliina and her husband Mark stayed in last summer in north East Finland. The blue and grey shades, coupled with timber elements really bring some Finnish charm to the Cotswolds.
Being Scandinavian I wanted the overall aesthetic of my salon to reflect some of my Nordic heritage and influences from home too.
When Karoliina bought the space she instantly fell in love with the natural Cotswold stone building and original features, which had over the years been part of an old coaching inn, a cobblers and even the UK official ABBA fan club headquarters during the 1970s and 1980s!
Using sustainable materials was a must for Karoliina so a large percentage of the decorative light fittings were sourced from reclamation yards or charity shops, and these were upcycled and painted. “We have a good mix of warm and white lighting above and around the styling stations,” she explains. “Partnered with the huge wall length studio mirror, it creates a well-lit working environment whilst reducing shadows and flattering the clients’ features.” The backwash areas are now separated from the rest of salon by a screen of tall plants and calmly lit with warm and ambient lighting.
The styling chairs and backwash furniture were designed specifically for the salon by WBX when Karoliina first opened. In 2020, she updated the space with plants and decorative floral arrangements commissioned by local floral studio @millefleurpearl.
Karoliina’s favourite parts of the salon include the wall-length styling table that is as practical as it is beautiful. “My husband Mark and his team made them for us from hardwood railway sleepers he found that had been stored unused for 30 years in a farmers barn,” reveals Karoliina. It’s the stories behind the style that bring the salon’s ethos of reclaiming and upcycling front and centre and clients can clearly see the love and care that has gone into this thoughtful redesign.
Karoliina’s top tips
Create a mood board
If you are designing the salon yourself you should share your vision with others, including your tradesmen. If you have clear ideas in front of you, it means others can see them too.
Make a definitive budget
Know what you want to spend and make sure you get definite prices before you start. It’s a given that you probably will go over but try to make sure you have no big surprises.
Plan, plan and plan some more
Make sure you are clear on where you are sourcing materials fittings and fixtures. The last thing you need is to be waiting on furniture the night before you open your salon doors.