Office Picture, Luigi Parasmo Salon & Spa DC



Life partners Luigi Parasmo and Javier Calvo—both stylists and owners of Luigi Parasmo Salon in Washington, D.C.—understand the importance of balancing comfort and class. This balance can be seen in the salon décor—a soothing palette of neutral colors with splashes of red for a modern twist on elegance—and the familial tone set between employees and clients. And people have taken notice: In the last two years, the salon has been praised by popular publications like InStyle, The Washingtonian, Refinery29 and DailyCandy. Luigi talked to us about his favorite architectural surprise, a tradition of birthday cake smashing and living the American dream.

What is your role at the salon?
I’m the owner and a hairstylist. Javier Calvo, my life partner and salon co-owner, is also a stylist.

How would you describe your salon’s design?
Modern and upscale with clean lines and a lofty, open space.

How did you come up with your vision? And how did you make it a reality?
I’ve always loved a modern design and been influenced by my Italian heritage. Though finding the perfect combination was initially a struggle, the outcome was perfect. I wanted a modern, airy, bright, light-filled and totally open space, but also something that was practical and functional at the same time.

Basically, I gathered all of the things that never worked in a salon before and made them work. The original space was all open with white walls, but we discovered old brick behind them during renovations. It gave us (and the design) a calming, soothing feeling.

Our colors are generally neutral—white, black, espresso, brick, stainless steel—and a splash of red. We wanted chic comfort for our guests and employees.

What feeling/mood are you trying to convey to your clients?
Calm, relaxing, inviting, non-intimidating and, above all, happy! We were able to achieve it with the right balance of colors and lighting.

What was the space before you moved in?
It used to be a men’s clothing store. Because of the changing rooms, it was half the size it is now.

How does the design reflect your neighborhood?
The design definitely reflects both the city and neighborhood we live in. We are in the trendy and historic neighborhood of Georgetown in Washington, D.C., which is American with a European flair. It’s very mixed, multicultural and historical at the same time…very unique.

What’s your favorite part of the salon?
Everything. Having a salon was the biggest dream of my life, and I’m so very appreciative, humbled and honored to have my very own American Dream come true!

What’s the most unique aspect of your salon?
I’d say the iPad color-processing table. We thought it’d be fun and different to have a 10-foot-long granite-topped color table sitting on a stainless steel base, equipped with complimentary Wi-Fi and iPads for our guests. Everyone loves it.

When was the salon last renovated?
We reopened in June 2012 after a six-month renovation. We gutted the entire place.

Other than the physical design of the space, how do you create your desired atmosphere in the salon?
We play our favorite podcasts that I download on my iPod. We actually like to hear nonstop clubby/lounge music. It puts us in the creative mood, our guests love it and it’s never too loud.

If you could have a fashion designer create uniforms for your salon, who would it be?
Dolce & Gabbana.

What are customers’ first reactions when they enter your salon?
They love the open and light-filled space, and they always comment on how professional and welcoming everyone is—from the front desk to the back wall. I’m 100% about professionalism; our guests come first and foremost at all times. They also comment on how friendly and family-oriented we all are with each other on the team. We kiss each other good morning and good-bye every day, and there’s no drama.

Do you serve refreshments for clients?
We have seven different kinds of coffees, four different kinds of tea and an illy espresso/cappuccino bar for our guests. We also have plenty of M&M’s, Twizzlers and Skittles in the waiting area.

Do you host events at your salon?
Yes we do: breast cancer events, an Oribe Cocktail Party (we’re the second salon in the U.S. that’s ever done it!), Botox and Locks event, Save the Children event, trunk shows and more. We love it and have more this fall.

What is your retail area like? How does the setup help in selling products?
We have strategically placed the retail area up front to give it exposure and somewhat divide the open space. Guests can look/see/purchase their favorite products while waiting for services, and people can see it from the street since our street-level store front has very large glass windows in a very busy area of Georgetown.

Does your staff have any fun rituals?
For birthdays, we buy a cake and sing happy birthday in front of all guests…and then smash the birthday person’s face in it!