For Hair That Isn't Brand-Name

The New York Times


45 Grove Street; (212) 242-8880; (appointments may be booked online).

Atmosphere: Rundown-mansion chic.
Cult products: Sachajuan of Stockholm.
Haircut price: Starts at $95.

This salon is on the ground floor of a former West Village boardinghouse that was visited by the poet Hart Crane and Abraham Lincoln's assassin, John Wilkes Booth. Named for Samuel Whittemore, a manufacturer who built the building, the salon has intentionally distressed walls and recovered furniture from an antiques store in Rochester.

"We wanted to have the feeling that you're going into someone's home," said Victoria Hunter, who owns the salon with Larry Raspanti. "We did a television show with Karolina Kurkova the other day. She walked in the door, and she said, 'I feel like I'm home.' "

Ms. Hunter and Mr. Raspanti are former creative directors of Bumble and bumble, which Ms. Hunter described as "very huge, very cold." Like many indie salon owners, they wanted their space, now three years old, to be the opposite. "In these times it really is about intimacy," Ms. Hunter said. "That's what people want to feel."

Known for "hair painting," a technique that involves brushing on color, without foils, Ms. Hunter said, "We're definitely more of a fashion kind of salon rather than celebrities." Still, clients have included Gwyneth Paltrow, Mandy Moore and Kate Bosworth, according to salon brass.

And Ms. Hunter said Mr. Raspanti was away doing hair for U2's tour. "He had a great time," she said. "He has to come back to reality now."

By: Stephanie Rosenbloom

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