Out with the old

 Out with the old and in with the new

For years, Lanphier Day Spa & Salon was a fixture in the Goodwives Shopping Plaza in Darien – a cheerful space of clean lines and warm tones.

But when Eileen Lanphier had an opportunity last year to move nearby to a larger space in a former bank overlooking serene Tilley Pond Park, she realized the spa’s look was one thing she wouldn’t be taking with her.

“That was the old place,” says Lanphier, who owns the spa with her husband, Nusrat Rizvi. “I wanted to leave everything there and go forward.”

The new space – a cooler, more modern design, she says – has a blue, white and silver palette that evokes images of a tranquil sea. And peaceful is just what you feel the moment you enter the spa wing of the roughly 10,000-square-foot space. The lighting is low and so are the voices. The comforting cream-colored treatment rooms swathed in Decléor Paris towels and blankets feature names like “Iris” and “Geranium,” after the skin care company’s various aromatherapies. Since 2000, Lanphier has been a Decléor flagship spa, which posed some challenges for Brian St. Pierre, principal of the Insite Design Group in Huntington, Conn., which did the spa’s interior design. Using his thumb and index finger, St. Pierre indicates the telephone book-size bible of Decléor requirements for display of its products. Judging from the way its bright yellow boxes, containing golden liquids in frosted, tear-shaped bottles, stand at attention in the creamy reception area and equally immaculate retail shop, it’s safe to say the Decléor display could stand up to the most rigorous inspection.

The airiness of the reception area makes an effective transition from the spa to the hum of the salon. Here the wood and stone textures are bolder; the lighting, which makes great use of skylights, more pronounced. The colors are fairly neutral, particularly in the hair-care area – and for good reason: The last thing you want, St. Pierre says, is for a patron’s hair coloring to be compromised by the interference of a bright-colored wall. It sounds as if he got quite an education in designing for a spa and salon from Lanphier and general manager Patricia Mavrides.

One thing that’s true of any good business is service, something that remains foremost with Lanphier – the woman and the place.

“We hire only very talented people and train our own staff,” she says of the 50 to 60 employees, all of whom must pass muster with Lanphier before they’re allowed to work on clients.

Says Mavrides, “Consistency is the key to the client’s experience. …We cater to everyone’s needs.”

There are full-body, prenatal, aromatherapy and healing stone massages; Reiki and Thai-yoga experiences; manis and pedis; exfoliation, bronzing and tanning; and special packages for teens, brides and guys on the go – all of which enable Lanphier Day Spa & Salon to shelter mind, body and spirit. Over the silvery white sectional sofa in the lounge area is emblazoned the mantra: “When all your senses are awakened, beauty becomes synonymous with well-being.”

But Lanphier’s idea of service extends to fundraising and giving back to the community as well. She’s had strong ties to Fairfield County since arriving 30 years ago from Ireland. (You can still hear the lilt of the Emerald Isle in her voice.) Lanphier began as co-owner of a hair salon in Greenwich. In 1993, she and her husband opened a hair salon in Darien, expanding the business to include a small spa in a space that grew from 2,600 square feet to 6,000 square feet in 1998.

Why the spa biz?

“That was the future,” she says.

At the new Lanphier Day Spa & Salon, the future is now.

Lanphier Day Spa & Salon is at 20 West Ave. in Darien. For more information, call (203) 656-4444 or visit lanphierdayspa.com.

 All photographs by Insite Design Group in Huntington, Conn., which did the spa’s interior design

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