I f the walls of 100 Crown Street could talk, they would share rich tales of Elm City life at the turn of the 20th century. Built in 1903, the New Haven Water Company originally occupied the building, which was designed by noted local architect Leoni W. Robinson. Today, stories are shared there all the time by the customers and stylists that populate Capture Salon, where women and men go to get their looks and perhaps their psyches refreshed.
But the first makeover wife-and-husband owners Alex and Alexander Heonis performed at Capture was for the building itself. Before the salon opened in 2012, 100 Crown had been vacant for more than two years; prior to that it had served as office space for various businesses.
“The inside needed a lot of TLC. The biggest challenge was creating new floors because the wood floors were water-stained, the bathroom floors were vinyl and the front areas were covered in blue carpet,” Alex recalls. She notes the many hours she spent on her knees in the bathroom, peeling back ugly flooring and, to her astonishment, unearthing gorgeous hand-tiled mosaic. Her husband re-stained the wood floors, she says, and a green marble fireplace was discovered in a back room now used for nail services.
Eventually, the grandeur of this neglected gem had been lovingly restored and added to. Entering today, you’ll find white coffered ceilings twenty-five feet high, dotted with long, thin lamps and stylish brushed-metal fans, and a frontside wall of large windows separated by carved wood beams. Behind the front counter, the gentle flow of a wall fountain, a coppery triptych, soothes frayed nerves. Beyond, modern red leather chairs rest at numerous mirrored stations (pictured third, above), and, from a large arched niche in the lefthand wall, a lush portrait by artist Betsy DeMarco depicts a rouged, lipsticked woman with something on her mind (pictured sixth, above). You might spot Elliot, the Heonises’ toy poodle, wandering around or lounging on his puffy bed (pictured fourth, above).
Capture is by most indications a contemporary salon, yet the ornate bones of the place imbue it with the sophistication of a bygone era. And just as the integrity of the interior has been maintained yet modified, stylists at the salon seek to respect the individuality of each client while incorporating new trends.
Alex’s experience as a stylist traces back to Panache Salon, the New Haven beauty institution where she worked for 30 years. After the salon abruptly closed, the staff dispersed to various salons with heavy hearts; even in a very competitive industry where practitioners are often trying to outdo (or is it out-’do?) one another, this was a closely bonded group. One day, Alex says, she contacted her former team and asked, “‘Okay gang, if I open my own salon, who’s on board?’ And everyone was.”
Capture offers a long menu of treatments for hair, skin, nails and beauty. The large front room contains a comfortable waiting area, washing and styling stations and an airy space for makeup application. Tucked behind this large main area is the stately, light-filled mani/pedi room, where it’s easy to imagine a girls’ night out or bridal party enjoying food and wine provided by the salon.
Even though Capture is relatively new on the block, it’s become a part of the community. The salon has participated in On9 first Friday events. Its hair and makeup creations have graced fashion shows for local designer Neville Wisdom and Art Bra New Haven, a yearly breast cancer fundraiser. Staff are certified with the American Cancer Society’s “Look Good Feel Better” program working with cancer patients to enhance their self-esteem and quality of life. Stylist Hector Cruz, a cancer survivor himself, works with patients, often referred by area hospitals, to style wigs and support their journeys forward. “You just see this renewal of an individual who kind of got lost. That’s a really cool part of the whole process,” Alex says.
As with the old New Haven Water Company building and the ex-Panache gang and, of course, its customers, Capture seeks ever to pull things together.
100 Crown Street, New Haven (map)
Mon-Tues 9am-6pm, Wed-Thurs 9am-8pm, Fri 9am-6pm, Sat 9am-4pm
(203) 424-0395 | email@example.com
Written by Elizabeth Rubin. Images 1 and 3-8 photographed by Dan Mims. Image 2 photographed by Liz Rubin.