[McNeal & Friends]
Story by Tracy Nicholson
Photography by Micah J. Zimmerman, Amdak Productions
Italian for "very beautiful", Strabella in West Fargo is quickly living up to their name with a chic and feminine interior, spearheaded by designer, Kendra Steffes of McNeal & Friends. We take you inside Micki Erickson's luxurious studio with private spa and hair studio rentals, hosting a team of cosmetologists, estheticians and nurses, focused on bringing the beauty.
From Fit-up to Fabulous
Owner and Master Esthetician, Micki Erickson, along with her husband Seth Erickson, completed the studio's fit-up in January inside the BC Contracting office building in West Fargo. The two worked with the on-site contractor as well as Rhet Architecture to design the studio's unique rental floorplan. Once the studio was framed, the Ericksons recruited designer, Kendra Steffes of McNeal & Friends to ensure the empty space would be a welcoming retreat for arriving clients.
"We just wanted to create a warm and inviting atmosphere, someplace where clients can relax before their appointment," said Micki Erickson. "I explained my vision to Kendra and she made everything come alive." Paying close attention to dimensions and volume, Steffes used the architectural drawings to space plan and make selections, ensuring each furnishing would fit perfectly into the space.
A Vision in Pink
"From the get-go, I had envisioned pink and gold," said Micki Erickson. “I wanted a more upscale feeling that would be luxurious, but, it needed to feel warm and welcoming. I had never worked with a designer before, so I really didn't know what to expect. I think it went really well; it was a huge weight lifted off of my shoulders, just to know that Kendra was handling it and it was going to turn out well. When she came into our meeting, she had all of the selections printed out with photos and pricing, so I could easily visualize how they would look together."
"Since the design revolves around blush tones, we chose a gorgeous wall mural from Urban Walls – it’s super abstract and soft, yet dramatic at the same time. We knew this had to be the focal point of the space," said Steffes. "We chose this one from Urban Wall because it's really abstract and soft, yet dramatic at the same time." Adding dimension to the accent wall, the two worked with Sign Pro of Fargo to design a custom gold logo. Underneath, Steffes worked with Wood Specialists to design the painted cabinetry for the coffee bar and beverage station with waterfall edge and quartz countertops. "For the hardware, we chose a hybrid finish from Wood Specialists that beautifully reflects the tones surrounding it," said Steffes.
For the furnishings, Steffes chose wisely and invested in a handful of sturdy, staple pieces like the half-moon sofa, glass nesting tables and area rug from McNeal & Friends. Above the cozy fireplace is a beautiful timber mantel from Grain Designs with rich-blush side chairs from Target and accessories from an array of local stores like Eco Chic Home.
One of the more discreet design details is the unique, PVC ceiling tile, found by the Ericksons at Menards. "The PVC tile and door trim are a brand new material designed for durability; this was the first place in Fargo to have it installed," said Seth Erickson.
Spa Rooms + Hair Studios
Strabella currently has five spa renters and three hair stylists with two available studios designed to accommodate incoming hair stylists. The rooms feature built-in, white cabinetry with gold hardware and marble countertops. "The studios come as a shell so that individuals can put their own personal touch on them," said Micki Erickson.
Within the studio's common areas, all suite renters have access to an on-site washer and dryer with a beautiful, full-kitchen break room to relax in between appointments.
Bare & Bronze at Strabella
Micki Erickson is a Master Esthetician and graduate of Salon Professionals Academy in Fargo. Erickson opened her personal business, Bare & Bronze over two years ago, and just opened the doors to Strabella in January. Erickson works out of her Strabella studio space and specializes in permanent cosmetics, eyelash extensions, microblading and full-body waxing.
"It was great working with a designer; I feel like when you do things like this yourself, they just never turn out the way you want them to," said Micki Erickson. "Kendra did things I never would have thought of, like using circular furniture - it flows so well in here. She was really flexible helping me to find things that would fit within my budget and our two-month timeframe."
“At McNeal & Friends, we have so many resources at our fingertips. Working alongside other talented designers in our studio is a huge benefit – we are always bouncing ideas off each other and working as a team to find the perfect selections for our clients," said Steffes. "It was really fun working with Micki; the blush and the gold speak to me as well, so I let myself get carried away and have some fun with the space."
West Fargo's BC Contracting Office
Working with Rhet Architecture, the BC Contracting office building was completed in February 2017 and is currently home to five businesses, including BC's team and Strabella. BC Contracting is also known for their recent work on The Bridges near NDSU's campus and their development of many other multi-family, mixed-use and commercial spaces around the region.
Usually displayed in its signature Strabella pink, Erickson's exterior sign by Indigo Signworks is the first of its kind in the Midwest. The sign features a custom control panel that allows virtually any variation of color change or pattern, at the touch of a button.
Find the Finishes:
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McNeal & Friends
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