Behind Bryony: Designing Our Hair Salon & Yoga Studio

Community is one of our core values at Bryony & Birch. We live, breathe and work hard for the betterment of our town and loved ones. We turn to our network to help us grow our brand, stock our shelves, hire talent and in this case – design our spaces.

Today we’re sitting down with Hillary Mateev, the architect & designer behind our beautiful salon space in Amesbury and yoga studio in Exeter and founder of Reading, MA based XP Architecture & Design.

Photo Credit: Kate Donovan Photography

Talk to me about the Bryony & Birch space. How would you describe the “vibe” of the Bryony & Birch salon interior?

Katie came to me with a vision for Bryony & Birch as a place that had a naturally comfortable vibe that reflected her eclectic taste. She wanted to make a living room where people wanted to hang out, listen to music and stay.

Photo Credit: Kate Donovan Photography

What was a design challenge you encountered and overcame in the space for the salon?

In any salon, there are certain processes that need to happen in a very specific progression: check in, consult with the stylist, get your hair washed, go back to the chair and begin a cut, etc. Because the Bryony & Birch space is very long and narrow, we were presented with the challenge of making every element of the client and stylist’s experience work seamlessly.

So here’s what we did: we used an extremely long countertop to accentuate the length of the space. We carved out a quarter of it to use as a private area for the staff to do their color mixing and keep their personal belongings and kept the rest of the counter going through to the end of the space and turned it in the front to create the reception desk. Using this subtle move of the continuation of the counter through these areas allowed several different areas throughout the space to be defined and also connected. It also ended up creating a very natural path for the clients to pass through to their stylist’s chair, after they checked in with reception.

Photo Credit: Kate Donovan Photography

Can you share something that inspired the design for the salon interior?

The founder, Katie, was the inspiration for the salon. We wanted it clean lines, easy to maintain, and neutral to allow for the details and items for sale to pop with color.

Photo Credit: Kate Donovan Photography

Now let’s talk about the new Bryony Body space in Exeter. What were some challenges or goals that you had to keep in mind throughout the design phase?

Bryony Body was a totally different animal. That space and layout were existing and we had less resources and time to work with. Instead of renovating, we just wanted to refresh the space and tie the Bryony & Birch brand and colors into it. The name of the game in designing the Bryony Body space was reusing the colors we had used previously in Bryony & Birch and adding a layer of small design elements that reflected the vibe.

Photo Credit: Kate Donovan Photography

What is one of your favorite design elements of the Bryony Body space?

I really enjoyed working with Katie on picking subtle artwork that perhaps could have multiple interpretations. We worked hard on cleaning up the space in terms of providing benches and cubby holes where the patrons could keep their belongings during classes or procedures.

Photo Credit: Kate Donovan Photography

Can you tell us a little about your own design business and how you help small businesses with interior design and architecture?

I am currently undergoing an exciting new phase in my career. Using the experience from my previous companies and the success I had working on my own, I have agreed to merge with another firm, to take on the leadership and am in discussions on future ownership with my mentor and colleagues at Ruhl | Jahnes.

I have been in the business of architecture, exhibit design and interior design for around 20 years and my main purpose is to help to create meaningful experiences with space, to tailor the surroundings to better match the inhabitants. I do large and small scale work, but keeping in mind how the space and items within the space are used. I also understand that these places need to grow and work for the users, by evaluating what you do now and what you hope to do in the future.

You can view Hillary’s work and business at xp-and.com 

Photo Credit: Kate Donovan Photography

Take a deeper look behind Bryony

👉 Learn how to plan a photoshoot with our go to Amesbury photographer, Kate Donovan.
👉 Bryony Body: Meet your yoga instructor, Jessalynn Hudgins
👉 Meet the entrepreneur, hair stylist and yoga instructor behind Bryony: Katie Cavic

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