By Lillian “Lilibet” Clarke
Join Lillian “Lilibet” Clarke as she travels the globe visiting some of the world’s most interesting hempcrete buildings.
Curiosity steered me in the direction of Salt Spring Island to visit the first Hemp Hair Salon. Arriving by ferry into Vesuvius Bay, I was captivated by the overwhelming natural beauty of British Columbia. Driving along the twisting roads where the forests meet the water’s edge and where the local community of farmers, fisherman, and eco-conscious residents all share in the feeling of healing energy present on the island. Local lore says the island was built on a vein of Rose Quartz Crystal. What a perfect setting to build this delightful Hemp Hair Salon, I thought to myself. Amidst all of these alternative medicine specialists intermingled with the small farms, vineyards and orchards.
With great enthusiasm I arrived to be warmly greeted by Samantha and Tristan Harron, the young couple who designed and built the Hemp House Hair Salon. My initial impression of the building was how bright and inviting the energy felt. I noticed immediately that the air was clean and fresh, absent of the usual chemical smells associated with hair salons. Tristan and Samantha began telling me the stories of how it all came together. This forward thinking couple wanted to build a beautiful forever-timeless hair salon with zero negative impact to the environment, which had always been Samantha’s dream.
In their extensive research, up popped hemp – which spoke to both of them as the best and healthiest natural material to build with. As the old saying goes, good conversation and nutritious food can spark creative ideas over one’s kitchen table, which is exactly what happened for them. They told me the story of how they got the community involved in the construction of the salon. In exchange for labor they provided delicious home cooked food and drinks to their friends and other locals in the community who were interested in learning how to build with hempcrete, the whole experience was deeply reminiscent of old barn-raising parties.
The Harrons were conscientious at every level of design. The windows and doors are local fir trees, all naturally fallen, and the desk and workstations are made of maple and are all their original designs. The only tree that was taken down for the entire construction is featured as a magnificent Cedar centerpiece. The whole tree sits under a skylight where the light shines through as a moment in time to honor, “what is given and what is taken for buildings to be created.”
Samantha and Tristan relied on the Environmental Working Group (EWG) to stay in alignment with their core regenerative values. Their whole business is a closed loop of environmentally devoted ideas and practices. They partnered with Green Circle Salons, which responsibly recycles and repurposes salon waste to divert from landfills and waterways, they even send the hair clippings to help clean up oil spills. The hair products they highlight are an Italian company called Davines who source their ingredients from slow food farms In Italy; packed in food grade plastic so containers can be reused instead of recycled.
Outside on the roof is a rainwater catchment system, which is used to water the surrounding gardens, accompanied by solar panels lining the roof. The roof was made with collected reclaimed pieces from both their own home and from friends and neighbors. Inside, the polished concrete floor provides a natural water-look and was sealed to protect from stains. The finishing touch was Tristan and his weekend-warrior friend plastering the Hempcrete walls with a natural sand, lime, and water mixture, painted with an eco-friendly milk paint. A glimpse into the amazing world of hemp is left framed within a reveal window to share with friends and clients.
This inspiring couple shows us that one’s business can simultaneously generate profit and be a positive force in creating a virtuous impact on people and our environment. They hold an impressive presence on social media to continue educating and encouraging environmental awareness and individual responsibility. Every choice we make on the materials we choose to use have an enormous impact on every aspect of our health. Let’s integrate the intelligence of nature to support a future for a healthier living planet.
Till next time!
Follow Lilibet’s hemp adventures on her YouTube Channel.
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Originally published January 26, 2022 on Hemp Building Mag