top of page

Project Deep Dive: Creating A Design Experience

It has been a hot minute since I have jumped back into my blog and, to be honest, my favorite kind of blog posts to read are the kind where I learn the story behind a design. So, I thought it was time to finally highlight one of my very favorite design projects to date.

When I say this project was fated, I truly mean it. I knew Torey Muhs (last name pronounced “muse”) through a mutual friend. Torey's phone call came through one day in the spring, and since I was working, I almost didn’t take it, but at the last minute, I answered.

And I am so glad I did!

And, now, I get to tell the backstory for this amazing design "experience."


Torey asked if I would be interested in designing her new location for Muse Hair Design. It was almost an immediate “Yes!”; this was something I had always wanted to design!

bright blue duplex business building with front porch and overhanging trees
NW 23rd Street, Portland, Oregon: The building that houses the salon in the left bottom corner from the street view

First of all, she had no idea that shortly before this phone call, someone had asked me what I would love to design and I had quickly answered that I love designing "experiences" for people. I’d literally just said how fun it would be to do a boutique salon so we could really have fun bringing an experience AND a fun vibe to all who enter. 

I’m telling you, it was fate

This is how the salon looked before she took ownership. It was super dark, poor lighting, chopped up into compartments and not an easy flow. It was in need of an update and fresh perspective.

six-photo grid of salon before photos showing the blue siding and outside steps, blank walls with patches of green paint, and desk areas with office and salon chairs
Previous Salon "Before" Photos


It was imperative to concoct an ambiance for Torey's salon that would unequivocally set it apart from the countless others peppering the neighborhood. I wanted to create a sanctuary where visitors could step in and be enveloped by this chic, retro-esque lobby vibe, making them yearn to linger just a tad bit longer. The goal was to give her clients an experience and that is just what happened!

photo grid featuring photos of different areas of the salon as well as the words Lemontine, Interior Design Project, Muse
An Experience To Remember


We started with a tagline that would soon become her entire brand! # UrMyMuse captured the spirit of the whole space, as well as Torey’s passion for her own vision. We used this hashtag and tagline as our springboard, and then the story began. 

Muse Hair Design Studio Space

Because we wanted a journey for clients that started at the front door and continued to the back of the salon, it was evident that segmenting the salon into three sections was key. I envisioned this initial peek into The Muse Hair Design Studio to exude a sense of depth and warmth, while harmoniously melding with the minimalist aesthetic that Torey desired for the grand scheme of the design. The first stop was the entrance, where clients step into the atmosphere of the salon, and where they would relax while waiting for their appointment. As we all know, first impressions can make a lasting impression, so I wanted this to be just right.


My ultimate aim was to create a focal point that would undeniably capture attention—a spot designated for what I termed the "Instagram-Worthy" photo. It all began with the brainwave of crafting a bespoke, round wall-chair with her signature tagline prominently displayed in the background. Combined with melon-pink wallpaper, mid-century stars, and the neon sign, this wall quickly became a picture-perfect setting for Torey to capture moments with her clients!


Muse Hair Design entryway with blue siding and black door
A retro salon lobby and seating area with curved, built-in bench seating and two round coffee tables
view into the salon from front door showing the brown leather salon chairs, featured photo opp seating area, and shelves with products


From the entrance, you transition into the main workspace where the magic happens. This next section is the primary hub of the salon where the styling stations live. Because of the functionality of this space, we made this area bright and light, carrying minimalistic touches with touches of matte and glossy whites and various warm elements, such as the rich leather accents and natural wood tones throughout to maintain that welcoming, relaxed and clean atmosphere.  

photo grid showing various angles of the main salon area
The Salon Experience


Continuing through the salon, you'll come across the shampoo section. Retaining some of the building's original exposed brick, this area serves as a bridge between the pristine white work stations and the nostalgic shampoo zone. We carried forward the natural, organic theme seen at the entrance by incorporating earthy tones. This involved introducing subtle nude-blush tiles, and a deep, moody green wall color.

In this section, we let loose a bit and infused personality into the surroundings. Drawing inspiration from a print of the Historic Beverly Hills Hotel, we injected a sense of Old Hollywood and playfulness into these areas.

Directly across from the shampoo bowls, there's a smaller space intended for Torey to introduce additional services. She started by giving Lemontine Design (me) the opportunity to host a pop-up home decor shop in this area for a year, allowing her clients to browse and purchase decorative items while they waited. She has since turned it into a nail station so clients can get more checked off the grooming list while at the salon.

We continued to aim for a retro ambiance throughout this lounge space, covering the accent wall with a lively wallpaper that pulls the color palette all together.

lemontine design shopping boutique home decor accessories shop home
The Shopping Lounge

The fact that these spaces might go unseen by most guests did not stop us from pulling all the elements from the rest of the salon into these areas as well.

Again, we were aiming for a full experience from the front door to bathroom tile, so it was important to show off the brand and vibe throughout the entire salon.


Before entering the restroom, you encounter a powerful wall mural of a woman and a small sign that says, "You Blow My Mind!" This mural embodies the essence I sought to infuse throughout the space, conveniently positioned at Torey's own desk.

wall mural of a face covered in clouds and mountain tops next to custom  bathroom with retro pink vanity
You Blow My Mind

Within the bathroom, we paid special attention to details by embellishing the walls with a high-end Kravet wallpaper design reminiscent of a blend between tie-dye patterns and ombre clouds in dark shades of charcoal.

Complementing this was a custom-made modern vanity. However, the highlight for me was undoubtedly the choice of material for the bathroom countertopa unique resin that exudes a soft, translucent glow in a salmon orange shade.


I was determined to check each touch point that her clients might experience. So, I closed the bathroom door and looked around and thought about what a client might view. That's when I decided to add a surprise glossy black lightning bolt that sat on a matte-black painted door in the restroom with a message-- # Ur Electric

The only way you see this message is if you use the restroom. Planting little gems wherever possible is what made this entire hair salon the most unique and unexpected experience. 

Overall, the mission to create a boutique experience that transcends every touch point within the salon and reflects our commitment to elevating each project into a personalized journey was a success!

I believe that every detail, from the decor to the services offered, contributes to a cohesive and unforgettable experience that embodies the essence of Lemontine's unique perspective and dedication to excellence.


two blonde women holding hands in front of Muse Hair Design front window
When your client becomes your good friend! That is the real experience I am grateful for!

If you are interested in working with Lemontine Design, please contact us via the link below to be placed on our waiting list and if you want to be in this zesty design world of mine, just join the newsletter so you can be the first to know about new services, updates and my design perspective!

Follow Torey Muh's on instagram:

Learn more about Lemontine Design Here:


bottom of page