Space Invader: Whittemore House


Nylon

With the exception of the soulless glass and steel eyesores that have been erected in recent years, most of New York remains blissfully crowded with buildings that long ago celebrated their 100th birthdays. And this brick townhouse tucked away on a shady stretch of Grove Street in the West Village is a prime example. Built In the early 1800s by manufacturer Samuel Whittemore, 45 Grove is not only one of the oldest townhouses in Manhattan, it also has one of the most storied histories. It was a stop on the Underground Railroad, a boarding house for both artists and poverty-stricken soldiers, and the very place where John Wilkes Booth plotted to assassinate President Abraham Lincoln. But even the most avid real-estate aficionado couldn't have predicted 45 Grove's ground floor's latest incarnation-a hair salon. Opened by former Bumble and bumble lead colorists, Victoria Hunter and Larry Raspanti, Whittemore House has little in common with their alma mater. "We all came from big salons, and we didn't want Whittemore to feel that way," says Hunter. "We want it to feel like, you are getting your hair done In someone's house" Someone, that is, with impeccable taste. Hunter's vision of "mansion-y decay" is achieved with high-backed, upholstered chairs and a carved, white-marble fireplace. It's the perfect backdrop against which Whittemore's enviable roster can work its magic-the salon has four stylists (including NYLON favorite Michelle Fiona), three colorists, and an asthetician offering waxing. and facials in a hidden back room. Those with unforgiving schedules will likely appreciate both the salon's generous hours-it will be open daily from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.-and the option of a manicure while you get coiffed. Those constantly on the prowl for the coolest new products will relish the presence of the Swedish cult-favorite line, SachaJuan. The history of the little-townhouse-thatcould at 45 Grove Street has certainly been multifaceted, and Whittemore House is simply adding one more chapter to the story. Now if only these walls could talk ....