“We took on the shop in lockdown and didn’t know when we would be able to open; everyone said we were crazy, and to behonest, offered very little support. However, we ignored the negativity and followed our dream.”
Marney Lian and Charles Harding opened GRITT LDN during the spring of 2021; Marney had already been working in the space for five years, and when the owner decided to sell, taking over was the obvious choice. However, they admit that the premises was in need of an upgrade.
The pair decided to create an ‘industrialised luxury’ feel with the space, using lots of concrete for a clean look, before adding touches of copper to soften the harshness and give it flair. Grey acted as the perfect blank canvas for a creative space and ensuring the lighting complemented and showed off the hair in the best light was crucial.
Marney shares: “We have two warm, floating ring lights as the main source of light, and added pendulum lights above each station with bulbs that have a very high CRI (Colour Rendering Index) to replicate natural sunlight as much as possible. However, lights with such a high CRI can create unflattering shadows on the face, so to combat this we installed mirrors with warm colour lights around them.”
The reception desk, a custom piece crafted out of concrete and featuring the GRITT LDN logo in copper across the front, sits away from the entrance. “We believe the walk from the doorway to the reception give us more time to make a lasting first-impression to new customers,” explains Marney.
Two grey accent chairs are placed by the entrance to the salon, an area which gets plenty of natural sunlight, making it a pleasant spot for clients to sit and wait. The decision to only place two chairs in this area stems from the duo's commitment to not keeping customers waiting.
In addition to the custom desk, salon furniture was purchased from various UK stores including the seven brown, bucket-style styling chairs. Meanwhile, the salon also boasts two backwash chairs capable of reclining and massaging. Whilst the space is predominantly open plan, a copper cage provides subtle privacy between the backwashes and styling stations, without isolating clients.
Ensuring everyone feels welcome in the salon is important to Marney and Charles, who admit that they didn’t target anyone in particular when creating the design.
Reflecting on the renovation experience, Marney says: “We have no regrets – both the wins and the mistakes are part of our journey,” believing the best thing they did was not listening to others, telling us: “We took on the shop in lockdown and didn’t know when we would be able to open; everyone said we were crazy. However, we ignored the negativity and followed our dream.”
Name: GRITT LDN Address: 79 Abbeville Road, Clapham, London, SW4 9JNOwners: Marney Lian and Charles HardingHow long have you been in the premises: 21 monthsHow many staff: SixBudget: £100,000
MARNEY AND CHARLES’ TOP TIPS
1 Choose a design that means something to you
You’ll be more passionate about the renovation process, and it will show in the end result.
2 Find a builder that can follow directions
This is crucial if you have a strong design vision.
3 Enjoy the process
Whilst there will inevitably be some issues, designing your own salon is, for many such as myself, a dream come true – so don’t let the small things get you down.