CARLO & CO, 32 BROADWAY, LETCHWORTH GARDEN CITY
WHEN DID YOU OPEN?
Carlo & Co Letchworth relaunched in 2011, having been a barbershop for 50 years prior to that.
WHAT WAS YOUR BUDGET?
We spent £25k. A lot of the work and building of the stations was carried out by owners, managers and staff and so kept the cost down as well as making it more personal and a team effort that we remain very proud of.
HOW WAS THE BUILDING PROCESS? DID YOU FACE ANY CHALLENGES DURING THE PROCESS?
We had a good plan in place as to what was going to go where thanks to other projects and creative ideas gleaned from good old Pinterest! Plus, we had a team built up over the years willing to come night or day to help us get the project finished on deadline. It ended up being just like previous projects – we finished it at 3am on opening morning. The most challenging part was waiting for orders of parts or materials to arrive which held up work elsewhere on the job. We’d chosen steel ceiling tiles and were quoted £500 more by a company based two miles away than by an Estonian one, so going with the Europe based supplier seemed a no-brainer, especially as we’d allowed ample time for delivery. The tiles were finally delivered three days after opening so initially our ‘industrial look’ incorporated exposed cables and wires in the rafters!
WHAT WAS THE BRIEF FOR THE SPACE AND WHAT MAKES THIS SPACE UNIQUE?
Even though we wanted industrial looking elements and some edgy touches we never wanted to stray too far away from the classic masculinity of the traditional barbershop. Six completely separate stations create a bubble of personal space for customer and barber in an open plan environment.
DO YOU HAVE ANY REGRETS OR THINGS YOU’D DO DIFFERENTLY IF YOU HAD TO DO IT ALL AGAIN?
Yes, definitely. I’d pay £500 more and buy steel ceiling tiles from Stevenage, not Estonia!
WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE THING ABOUT THE SPACES?
There’s an immediate wow factor when you walk in. It’s not conveyed in an intimidating ’posh’ way, but in an attractive, welcoming, mood enhancing manner. My favourite thing about the space is that we designed it all ourselves and really got stuck in! We’ve had original ideas rather than copying someone else’s. We’ve used a lot of reclaimed stuff like scaffolding boards that we burnt and waxed to make the stations, and incorporated big pendant lights that originally came out of Stansted airport.