Backstage

  • Primp Salon owner Matthew Tanneberger isn't just a business owner—he's a full-time stylist and colorist, as well
  • Matthew designed the salon with a comfortable and modern aesthetic in mind
  • Long, narrow mirrors and tall lamps that augment the flattering natural light keep the focus on the client
  • The waiting area serves double duty; clients can relax there while their color is being processed
  • Matthew’s favorite part of the salon is the front desk area, which is outfitted with a beautiful rustic draftsman’s table and the retail area behind it.
  • Festive, attention-grabbing windows for the holiday season
  • After a long week of work, Matthew likes to take his team out to The Cellar for the best chow in town
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Apr 14, 2014

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Primp Salon

Matthew Tanneberger of Primp Salon in the historic town of Corning, New York, isn’t just a business owner—he’s a full-time stylist and colorist, as well. Drawing from his wealth of experience as a stylist, Matthew designed a thoughtful, comfortable and modern space that would delight clients as well as his staff. We chatted with Matthew about the salon’s design, his favorite part of the space (hint: it’s at the front) and his staff’s delicious ritual after a long week of work.

How would you describe your salon’s design?


I designed the salon with a comfortable and modern aesthetic in mind and used mixed textures, minimal furniture and soft accents. I kept the focus on the client by using long, narrow mirrors, as well as tall lamps that augment the soft, flattering natural light. Large floor-to-ceiling Oribe photos anchor the walls, adding strong focal points without visual clutter.

Our front desk area has a large rustic draftsman’s table and two retail areas on both sides to show off our Oribe products. I incorporated textures like reclaimed wood and steel to create a warm welcome for the clients at the front desk.

How did you come up with your vision and how did you make it a reality?


My dad, Fred, was essential in bringing my vision of Primp to life. His guidance, expertise in all phases of construction and amazing ongoing support formed the backdrop for my salon's success.

We worked together for months on possible layouts and designs. We had to clear any number of design hurdles in renovating a 150-year-old empty shell and transforming it into a beautiful 700-square-foot salon. The day we received the keys, my dad launched into action. We opened our doors after only one whirlwind month. With our great basic design as a foundation, it’s easy for me to keep making subtle updates and changes to keep the salon fresh and inviting for our clients and stylists.

What mood are you trying to convey?


I wanted to create a beautiful space not just to attract clients, but also to reflect their beauty and style back to them. I keep visual clutter to an absolute minimum so they know that they are the most important element in the space. I also wanted to keep the salon environment relaxed and unpretentious.

What’s your favorite part of the salon?


If I had to pick one, it would have to be the front desk area. I really thought carefully about the entire reception area with the goal of making it engaging and warm. I love to incorporate seasonal elements like small accent pieces, fresh flowers and natural arrangements that enhance the space.

What’s the most unique aspect of your salon?


The four styling stations are arranged with cabinetry between each chair to give the stylists the ability to service two clients at once. The three shampoo stations eliminate the need for stylists and clients to wait for a shampoo sink. The front desk is in close proximity to the waiting area, which also functions as a comfortable area for clients to relax while their color is processing. The Oribe styling products are readily accessible at each station, so the stylists can easily introduce and explain the effectiveness and proper use of each product, resulting in strong product sales.

Other than the physical design of the space, how do you create your desired atmosphere in the salon?


We always have great music flowing through the speakers: Upbeat soul, chill lounge jazz, and modern singer-songwriters fill the room to complement the relaxed surroundings.

If you could have a fashion designer create uniforms for your salon, who would it be?


It would be a collaboration between Paul Smith and John Varvatos.

Do you serve refreshments in your salon?


We freshly grind and brew coffee from the amazing Café Grumpy that I pick up when I'm in New York. It's the best! We also offer a large selection of herbal tea and fresh-pressed juices delivered throughout the day.

What is your retail area like? How does the setup help in selling products?


Our retail area is split in two sections, one on each side of the front desk. The beautifully lit floating shelves showcase the entire Oribe line. There is also ample room for the clients, as well as the stylists assisting them, to browse the products without blocking other movement in the area.

Does your staff have any fun rituals?


We love to go out after a long week and overindulge in some amazing food. We go down the street to my friend Michael Lanahan's tapas restaurant and wine bar, The Cellar, for the best chow in town!
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