Working Style: Three local businesses showcase the art of interiors that marry function and fashion

Raw space

Allure Salon: a full service salon and spa in Traverse City's Old Town district. Owned by Bob and Shelly Derrer. Designed by Scott Lankford, Lankford Design Group in Traverse City.

WHY THE DESIGN: The salon needed more room, so owners Bob and Shelly Derrer bought the old, considerably larger building next door to their previous location.

CHALLENGES: For the business' bottom line to make sense, they needed to fit five more stylists (for a total of nine). The new design also needed to accommodate noise and give a sense of privacy within each stylist's work area.

SOLUTIONS: Designer Lankford positioned the stylists' chairs "out of line" from each other and twisted in different directions, which created a cocoon-like space for each workstation while allowing them to be closer to each other. Nearly sheer curtains and strategically placed panels and other dividers also offer a sense of privacy. Lankford used Tectum, a sound-deadening material in the salon's ceiling and in the "little ceilings" over each of the stylist's chairs.

WHAT BOB LIKES: Guests can move about the salon without feeling like they're intruding on another guest's experience. There can be nine stylists working with nine guests and nine blow dryers going, and the front desk staff can still have a normal conversation with incoming customers.

IN THE DESIGNER'S OWN WORDS: "The interior design is all about whether it can create pride, sanity, and some measure of comfort … it doesn't create Bob. It doesn't cut the hair. With a new client I always ask, 'Who is doing your marketing? Who designed your logo?' I want their number. Because the interior shouldn't be in conflict with the branding, but rather, extend it."

Time for a redesign

Alfie, Logo Gear for Work & Play: Owned by Bonnie Alfonso. Redesigned by Megan Wright of Interphase Interiors in Travese City.

WHY THE DESIGN: Bonnie had developed a new logo and image for her company. She knew where her company was headed and her showroom needed to catch up. She had the vision of the end result but didn't know how to get there. What followed was a transformation of Alfie's showroom into a Logo Lounge.

BEFORE: The client/showcase area had little color, was generic looking but had too much going on with product displays in no apparent order. Plus, there was no meeting area.

SOLUTIONS: Bright color-blocking was used to delineate areas and create order in the room; different groupings of seating for a much more collaborative space; customized units to display products and clothing in a focused and structured way that also allows for individualized presentations.

WHAT BONNIE LIKES: The inspired, professional look and feel; the significant impact the redesign has had on both client relationships and the company's productivity; "it's comfortable, encourages creativity, showcases our work," she says, "and it's just really cool and fun."

IN THE DESIGNER'S WORDS: "It can look as pretty as you want it to, but if it doesn't function … that's what's most important