Architecture and Interiors for Sanctuary SalonSpa
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Sanctuary SalonSpa — Excelsior, MN

Winner of the 2018 MSCA Starr Awards for Retail Design under 5,00 SF and Finalist for the 2019 Real Estate Award for Interior Design — Retail.

For their newest location, Sanctuary SalonSpa selected a historical building in the heart of downtown Excelsior. The building was originally built circa 1895 for the Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF), who still occupy the second floor. Sanctuary SalonSpa bought the building part way through the design process.

Sanctuary SalonSpa occupies the ground floor (1,730 sf) and the basement (1,960 sf). The ground floor has Aveda retail with some clothing and accessories, as well as 5 salon stations. The basement is a full service spa, including a skin care room, a massage room and a twin tub couples-massage room.

Designing the space presented PlanForce with two main challenges. First, it’s a long, skinny building, so we had to find a way to make it seem more voluminous than it actually is. In addition, the retail space has two “front” doors. That is, the street-side door and the parking-side door at the back of the building. Most customers actually come through back door, so how do you address both entrances equally to ensure that neither feels like a back door?

A Luxurious Spa Environment—in a Basement?

The bigger of the two challenges was the spa downstairs. The basement area had incredibly-low ceiling heights, along with odd steps in weird places so that different rooms were at different floor heights. PlanForce designers were challenged to convert a somewhat dingy basement into a code-compliant space where people would want to go for relaxation.

Our solution was to expose the beautiful stone foundations and clear off years of coating and abuse. We performed selective engineering to raise head heights and designed a layout of the rooms to guide people through the spa. Colors, finishes, and lighting combine to create a warm, cozy environment that doesn’t feel like a basement. And we grounded the space with a dark, warm, sumptuous carpet that conveys the very essence of luxury.

Sanctuary SalonSpa also has locations in Eden Prairie, downtown Minneapolis, Prairie Center Village, and a separate Excelsior location. PlanForce has been working with Sanctuary SalonSpa for more than 25 years.