Indulging in a professional facial comes with high expectations attached: quiet and beautiful surroundings, gentle hands, heavenly fragrances and products, all conveying a feeling of utter serenity and well-being.
These things don’t always come to pass, but Roberta Richard found a way to provide extraordinary results right in her own back yard.
Roberta is the esthetician behind The Cottage Spa in Sacramento, California, a luxurious facial salon housed in a renovated backyard toolshed. Knowing as soon as she obtained her license to practice about 16 years ago, Roberta put privacy at the top of her priority list. How to do this? Go small, with one bed in an intimate space. “I wanted to practice my craft at home because I had two small daughters I wanted to be with,” Roberta explains. “I was never able to find the perfect facial experience anywhere so I created my own.”
When Roberta and her husband purchased their property six years ago it had a humble storage shed in back. They immediately remodeled it, installing windows, moving the door and creating a higher pitched ceiling. New siding and a sink completed the package.
“I choose soothing colors always but have changed it from shabby chic to more farmhouse modern,” Roberta says. “It’s fun to change it up.”
Clients arrive to their appointment knowing they will be utterly alone. Roberta counts some of them as being high-profile; they are sensitive to being seen in a spa setting, ultra-relaxed and without styling or makeup. They have a sense that they can “hide” and not be found.
Roberta treats her clients to gentle massages while they are under steam or waiting for a peel to finish. Sometimes she leaves the windows open so they can hear the birds and the leaves moved by fresh breezes. The therapy goes both ways. “It is definitely my happy place,” Roberta says.