Like many parents with school-aged children, Melissa Allen Black, founder and CEO of Honeycombers, had to deal with her kids catching head lice. Dissatisfied with her experience of going to salons to remedy the situation, she sought to create an establishment that offers a supportive and comforting experience. “The nature of the design elevates the experience for our clients and turns an unfortunate situation into a pleasant one,” Black says. (According to some reports, head lice has become an epidemic in teenagers, too.)
Located at 441 El Camino Real in Menlo Park, California, Honeycombers offers non-toxic lice removal and treatment. Black enlisted designer Nicole Hollis to create a space that embodies her company's directive to be a loving, caring, hygienic, professional, and reassuring space. The interior is divided into treatment areas that are separated from a lobby where parents can wait while Black's technicians perform delousing services. "Parents love the privacy and cozy feel of the [treatment] houses," Black says.
In the 1,900-square-foot establishment, Hollis specified furniture, materials, and decorations that meet very strict hygienic standards but with a welcoming modern look that was playful enough for kids and sophisticated enough for parents to enjoy. "People's jaws drop when they see the space," Black says. "There isn't a lice-treatment salon on every corner so people don't know what to expect. [Honeycombers' design] relaxes parents because it's so unique and special." The graphics on the wall are by Marguerite Lutton/Maternal Instinct, and the metal stools are by Bend. The countertop is Corian.
Lime-green retro barbershop chairs and Jielde's Loft Adjustable Arm Wall Sconces outfit the treatment area. Daltile's Rittenhouse subway tiles line the walls and Marmoleum from Forbo covers the floors.
“The bright, airy space has an immediate impact on the stressed-out parents and children that walk in our door,” Black says. “The modern, colorful design imparts a message of playfulness and caring and the design elements reinforce the cleanliness and excellence of our operations.”
Black has received glowing testimonials from patrons that prove how good design makes a strong impact.
One client told her: "Finding out that your kids have head lice is such a disorienting experience. Walking in to Honeycombers brings a much-needed sense of calm and control. You get the sense that there's no place for dirt or bugs to hide—and that's just what you need to feel! At the same time, the space feels warm and welcoming, and not at all clinical. That's essential, too, for keeping the kids calm through the process and creating a sense that things are all going to be okay."