Picture this: an awesome collection of salvaged parts from old fighter jets and commercial planes, re-invented into furniture and art. This stuff really churns up the nostalgia for old flyboys and history buffs, even for those overgrown kids who used to build those plastic airplane models of World War II-era aircraft. Just a "guy thing," you think? Tell that to Lilly MaRitza Rudden.
She's got just such a classic collection filling her five-room, full-service hair salon in Ellicott City.
Lilly MaRitza Salon and Gallery sports a glass-topped martini table encasing a DC-3 propeller, a fish tank built from an MK-84 aqua bomb, and a reception desk recycled from a gargantuan rudder off a C-119 Korean War transport plane.
It takes the offbeat perspective of a true wing nut to come up with the idea of showcasing period aircraft parts in a salon. But commercial interior planner and husband Mike Rudden says blending salon and plane themes "seemed like a natural."
He designed the setup himself, with he and Lilly investing about $1 million, including $250,000 for the aircraft parts.
Just to mix things up aesthetically, the place also houses an eclectic hodgepodge that radiates a feminine touch, including an art gallery featuring a series of warm paintings, soft lighting, and sparkly vases filled with delicate silk flowers. Are you in sensory overload yet?
"And we incorporated our own rendering of the traditional barber shop in the scheme of things," says Lilly Rudden, a major player in fine-tuning the look and feel of the unconventional salon.
The plane parts come from MotoArt, a California-based company that "re-engineers" the components after rescuing them from old hangers and barns. Mike Rudden is not only a client, but also a partner in the firm, which was looking for an East Coast location to exhibit its finds. And the salon seems to work for the company, recently ranked in Entrepreneur magazine's Hot 500 Fortune Companies, and now claimimg 500 collector-clients, including Microsoft, Lockheed Martin, Red Bull, and Boeing Company.
Says Mike Rudden, "It's how we've given the place a unique vibe, while bringing in relics that don't just sit there, but have a functional purpose."