Cofounded by renowned stylist and Creative Director Charlie Brackney Love and hospitality guru and Salon Director Jessica Reipke, HAUS has built a reputation of delivering unparalleled services and forward-thinking creative innovation, making it undeniably a cut above the rest.
Artful Living chatted with the founders of the HAUS empire and their longtime collaborative space designer, Jonathan Gomez Whitney, about opening a third location, how space creation is a major key to their success and more.
How did you meet?
Charlie Brackney Love: We were introduced to John through our first art curator, Emma Berg. John had just finished her kitchen, and it was so conceptual and beautifully crafted, so we called him up and it all began. We have continued working with him for all of our spaces because of his innovation, his eye for detail and what a joy he is to work with.
Jonathan Gomez Whitney: I remember the rainy day we met. Jessica and Charlie were holding court at Kings Wine Bar. They had been taking meetings all day, and I honestly can’t say what convinced them to hire me. But we then stood in the rain and peered through the window of a photo studio and imagined all the amazing ways we could create Nicollet HAUS.
How did the spaces come to be?
Love: We thought about the experience we wanted to create for our team and clients, and how we could make it uniquely HAUS. Everything went back to Bauhaus, where our name comes from: distilled-down form over function. We wanted to creative a vibrant creative community that was high-energy, dynamic and exciting. Within each space, we wanted to work with the best features of the architecture and try not to change the essence of the building itself.
Jessica Reipke: The space designs are the result of a true collaboration between the three of us. I love seeing how the design of the salons has evolved over time. Each has its own individual, timeless style with unique elements to love, and each has informed the design of subsequent locations without them being carbon copies of one another.
For Nicollet, it was the beginning of our nonlinear station design — stations around tables versus in long rows, which is very common in salons — which enables our team to see each other work and keep each other inspired throughout the day. Nicollet is a warm boutique salon utilizing classic materials in ways that feel inviting and draw the eye to our showstopping chandeliers as well as the ever-stunning HOT TEA piece that has become Nicollet’s calling card. It was designed and built more than eight years ago, and I literally can’t think of anything I would change.
We worked with more industrial palettes in keeping with that North Loop warehouse vibe for our second location. You’ll see lots of steel and cement and walnut. We made our walls dark for the first time in this location and tied that into our Northeast location with dark stucco walls that accent the desk and will provide a backdrop for the living wall.
We can’t seem to stop purchasing beautiful plants for our NoLo location, and the greenery adds such a lovely, soft touch to an otherwise slightly sparse, industrial space. Northeast has elements that pay homage to both Nicollet and NoLo, combining our very favorites from both with some fun new ideas that we can’t wait to share with our clients and friends.
Gomez Whitney: I get involved after Charlie and Jessica have fallen in love with a space. They usually bring me into a space that they have been dreaming about, and initially all I see are logistical problems, but I try to tap into their excitement. I fall in love after we start laying down inspirations and layout options and learning about the neighborhood. The excitement has to be there to inspire us through all the inevitable challenges.
Can you describe your design process?
Love: It’s very collaborative, but space planning and interior design are definitely some of Jessica’s gifts. I’ll let her tackle this one.
Reipke: It all starts with our inspiration boards. We all save images of spaces we are drawn to and are all always remarkably on the exact same page. Our tastes are nearly identical, and it truly is uncanny. From there, we discuss what elements we really love from our inspirations and envision how we could translate that into our space to make it truly HAUS.
Gomez Whitney: We are only going to get the tip of the iceberg here, but we start with vision goals and function goals: How can we make a space look and feel good for a person working in this set of locations all day? When a person walks in the front door for the first time, how can we make their every step clear and obvious but entirely unexpected? How can we tell the experience of HAUS to the passerby through the window without losing the personal space of the studio?
What inspires you?
Love: Seeing our team thrive in a beautiful, creative environment and watching them be able to accomplish personal goals outside of HAUS because of what they’ve accomplished at HAUS.
Reipke: Creating inspiring environments where people can be proud to work and clients feel welcomed. Function and beauty are at the very heart of our goal.
Gomez Whitney: Many things, but a new one is HAUS’s employee retention. I think it’s amazing that HAUS has created a work environment that keeps employees so much so that you need more room for satisfied employees. I think that’s incredible.
What drew you to NordHaus?
Love: The light, the location, the tall ceilings, the windows — and the parking! Our very first step is a gut check. The first time Jessica and I walked into Nicollet, it just felt right. Same thing when we walked into NoLo and Northeast. We could envision it. We could feel it.
Gomez Whitney: I’ve had insight into this neighborhood for two decades, and to see the new vitality is astounding. NordHaus is the best-laid plan in the ’hood. Having this tract of land that sat barren for 20+ years be purified of contaminants then transformed into this incredible building is a huge boon to the neighborhood.
What feelings do you want to evoke in the new space?
Love: An evolution of HAUS with all the aspects of HAUS that have always worked and feel like us.
Reipke: We want people to feel wowed when they walk in the door. We’d be lying if we didn’t say we intentionally created a few Instagrammable moments around the salon. The space you spend time in as a member or a client of HAUS should be beautiful, inspirational, functional, accessible, welcoming and fun.
Gomez Whitney: A sense of satisfaction from every vantage point is a high priority. The entire space should feel like looking at a page in a picture book, where you imagine yourself wandering in and through the passages and rooms you can just see into slightly. When you finally get to those rooms, you should feel well-rewarded.