Renovations and build-outs, upgrades and up-dos, high-tech additions and dramatic allure — when it comes to what’s new in the metro Detroit commercial design scene, it’s all about creating the perfect ambience while making the boldest statement.
Here, we spotlight two businesses that are doing just that: Crème Brûlée, a multicultural beauty venue in Detroit’s Milwaukee Junction neighborhood that’s redefining what a salon is and can be; and Lucido Fine Jewelry, which recently transformed its Birmingham location into a luxury designer showroom.
“I wanted to do something Detroit had never seen before,” owner and founder Katrina Wilson says of her multicultural Detroit salon, Crème Brûlée. To do that, she brought on interior designer Doreen Hunter, founder of Detroit-based Hdesigns Group, LLC.
“The salon is supposed to exude luxury,” says Hunter, who completed the project in 2021, “and be a statement of elegance. We achieved that through the colors and materials.”
From crisp white walls to the sleek yellow reclining shampoo chairs that were imported from Italy to the Halo hair dryers, IGLOO hair steamers, touchless faucets, charcoal filters in the manicure station, a luxurious velvet seating lounge complete with an electric fireplace, a custom glass art piece of the Detroit skyline, a shimmering crystal chandelier, floor-to-ceiling windows, oversized porcelain floor tiles, and a signature scent selected by Wilson that softly wafts throughout the salon, “we wanted to make a statement,” Hunter says. The unexpected elements have helped distinguish Crème Brûlée from any other salon in Detroit.
The salon, which is located within the historic Baltimore Station at the corner of Woodward and East Baltimore and still features an original brick wall, was a blank canvas, Hunter says. Coming up with the most functional use of space was among her biggest challenges, as was navigating delays caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
The salon is separated into distinct stations, or bars (for shampooing, color, manicures, and more), and clients are overjoyed to discover there’s also a coffee bar, a snack bar, and even an actual bar with custom mixed drinks. “You can sit there, get your hair colored, and have a cocktail while you wait,” Hunter says.
“Our tagline and our motto is that we’re a luxury beauty affair,” Wilson adds. “Once you get here, you want to stay. Having things like drinks and different social events here promotes that.” Wilson says her salon prides itself on serving guests of all ethnicities, races, and gender preferences, and she offers food to the local homeless community each day. “I want to impact both ways — people that are our customers and the community, as well.”
Lucido Fine Jewelry
Located at the corner of Old Woodward and Hamilton Row, the new Lucido Fine Jewelry store is unlike any other retail experience. “We wanted to create a big-city feel with small-town charm,” explains managing partner Fran Lucido. To do so, the Lucido family sought the guidance of Farmington Hills-based Davis & Davis.
Spearheading the project was Amer Sahoury, lead designer and project manager for Davis & Davis. “The (Lucido family) wanted people to be able to come in and, rather than just stand and buy jewelry, be able to sit down and have a drink,” Sahoury says. His team accomplished the goal by dividing the boutique into four welcoming spaces, including a plush seating lounge and a separate bridal suite.
At the entrance is a sculptural black walnut surround embellished with a warmly-lit logo and a luxurious reception desk. To ensure the wood was consistent, Sahoury had the structure constructed from a single tree. “Mod Interiors (the Ira Township-based firm behind the project’s custom millwork) selected the exact tree,” Sahoury says. “It was sliced into veneers, sewn together using a melted polyester threading technique, applied onto the substructure, and stained to the specified finish.”
Wanting the interior to have a natural and organic palette representative of the stones and gems Lucido is beloved for, Sahoury chose bright onyx porcelain slabs to line the floors, feature wall, and bridal area; large-format Calcutta gold porcelain slabs for counters and a communal table; and custom-sized African Saint Laurent marble shelves. A woven linen wallcovering continues the theme, and a French wallcovering in the bridal suite emulates cascading water droplets.
Flexible magnetic track lighting was chosen so the team can easily move the lights around to meet their needs, while curved, custom glass display cases allow clients to move freely throughout. “We wanted (a luxurious yet) warm and welcoming feeling for our guests,” Lucido says. “Our goal is to be there to help our guests celebrate all life’s special moments for years to come.”
Adds owner Vince Lucido: “We’re not in the jewelry business; we’re in the relationship business.”
Text by Giuseppa Nadrowski | Photography by Jeff Garland (Salon) | Nick Vansen (Jewelry Store)