Jumping way ahead.  The Natural Mane in its new state.


As a successful salon business owner for over a decade, Romey knew she should own her own space instead of renting.  Any idea when the best time to take a financial risk and do that is?  Never!  So when is the second best time?  During a global pandemic, of course.  It takes a special kind of vision to fly directly into the vacuum.  Here is Romey’s story.

Before: The Barbershop

The discussion quickly became a reality in late 2020 when the 1850s era Berryville jailhouse (that had been a barbershop for many years) came on the market.  Here is what the space looked like before it was purchased.

From the back room

You can’t quite tell from here, but that floor is 5 layers of flooring all tottering on joists that are about to give up the ghost.


Florescent lighting and dated fans (instead of AC).  And that green.  No words.


Looking back (one of the stations is shown here)


The bathroom where the basement “access” was


The back was in better shape, though still green



Romey contemplates ownership

Before buying the building, finding a contractor and spitballing what renovation would cost was the next step.  Also an in-depth inspection.  Needless to say, Romey kind of knew what she was getting into.  Kind of only because a building from 1850 always holds surprises.  This was going to be a hell of a project!


The barbershop was utterly removed, the attic was exposed and cleaned out, the floor was removed, and lo and behold the bones of the building began to emerge.  But first, a permit.

Demo permit


Removing rubble


These beams turn out to be a treasure

One of those unexpected finds was a chimney basically hanging in space.  It had to go.  But the architecture review board had to approve first since the skyline changed.

Uh oh, an unexpected chimney ready to crash down and kill somebody (the beams are from the contractor)


Oh but these stone walls!


One day this will be a gorgeous window


But first a slight delay waiting for a building permit.  Thanks to Allen Kitselman, all of this permitting happened as smoothly as possible.

The permit (and the new holding company)

Floor and Plumbing

All that flooring?  Gone.  And all of the joists?  Replaced.  Plus the basement was parged and lined with plastic.  While the floor was missing, the plumbing trade got started bringing the building’s water system to code.  Everything was replaced.

For a while, it was fun to walk on the skinny boards that sufficed for a floor.

Floor joists and subfloor


Reframing the back


Plumbing in the basement


Hey look, subfloor


Framing the back of the main room where the stonework was not up to snuff


Repointing the stone was also an unexpected expense, but one well worth the investment.  just look at these walls.

Gorgeous stone


Yes please

The rest of the space was framed for drywall.

Shampoo area


Newly widened doorway to back (in order to meet code)


Looking almost roomlike


The HVAC and machine room (hot water up there too)


Drywall is always surprisingly fast.  And then it was up!

The back room


Those beams!


And this is before they were treated with oil


It’s coming together.  New crawlspace access below the window.


The boss woman checking out her future space

Painting and Lights

Finish work is always a thing.  Romey picked out flooring (local hardwood), wall, and trim colors, and supervised their proper application.

First the back, where a pocket door was installed


Back finish


HVAC and cathedral ceiling

Now look at this.  The space is coming together.

Gorgeous new floor looking back




Just wow

That eye for lines, color, and design shows right through.

Birthday Dinners

So what do you do in February with a space that is coming together and two February birthdays?  A dinner party in the space.  Cyn and Ant joined us to celebrate the new space and the old people.


By this time Romey and I had a habit of meeting for cocktails after work to check out progress.  This was a fun tradition and made the stress of renovation turn into celebration.  Magic.

This temporary window was installed to appease the architecture review board. Allen comes through again!


A repurposed sink from Cyn

Moving In

A one day move in included shampoo sink, work stations, retail, heck, everything.  Even some lights moved.  Claudio was more than useful.  Moving two blocks is way harder than moving 1000 miles.

Even the sign moved


Plumbed in shampoo station


W/D in their slot


Wired in work station


Retail shelving

The Completed Space

Several months later, the final move in (originally planned for January) happened in March.  And the salon was reborn in a fabulous, unique space.

A perfect blend of old features like the beams and the stone with sleek modern design befitting a place of beauty-making.

A new front light was icing on the cake

All told the project was an absolutely excellent way to spend the heart of the pandemic.  A new beautiful space built in the interstitial time.  Risk taking like this is brave, to be sure, and it usually pays back.

Be brave.

Coda: The Stained Glass

Six months later, the stained glass panel designed by Romey was installed.  Now the space is complete.