Property: Innova Hair Salon, 1606 E. Michigan Ave., Lansing (Pictured: Before-and-after photos of the property before renovations.)
Assessed: $116,800
Owners: Alexander and Herlinda Beal

Ever notice how many of the commercial storefronts lining Michigan Avenue are additions to the fronts of houses? Known as a “shophouse,” these hybrid buildings are a classic architectural building type that developed in high-traffic corridors between residential and commercial areas.

Finally, Lansing’s Michigan Avenue is enjoying a noteworthy renewal, as these valuable shophouses undergo a long awaited revival. Notably, the Innova Salon at 1606 E. Michigan Ave. is a premier example of shophouse reinvestment. The first floor contains the salon and the upper floors are living quarters for the Beal family, who own the building. The shophouse also includes a beautiful garden and sculpture. The house with an attached shop was perfect for owner Herlinda Beal to open her new salon because "Lansing is a beautiful place to live and work. My husband grew up in the eastside neighborhood — he has roots here and we wanted a place where we could live above the salon,” she said.

The house and shop was extensively renovated and modernized to include
two significant additions to the front and rear, an additional third
story and an Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant wheelchair ramp
and elevator for accessibility. Accessibility is important to client
Patricia Hough, who visits the salon weekly. “This is the most
wonderful salon because of the design and accessibility,” said Hough.

A lesson on the “shophouse:”

It was once common for people
to live where they worked, whether it is an artisan with a studio or a
shopkeeper with a retail store. Even doctors and dentists had clinics
built adjacent to their homes. This type of arrangement declined in the
decades following World War II, but the live/work building type is
experiencing a revival.

Shophouses are an excellent live/work option for today’s
entrepreneurs who want to live where they work but still have the
amenities of traditional housing, including:

  • An average of between 1,500 and 2,500 square feet;

  • Ample back yard space;

  • A garage with access from an alley for safety and convenience;

  • Location in a walkable neighborhood and near public transportation; and

  • Close proximity to residential neighborhoods with other families, parks and schools.

People are rediscovering the great lifestyle that the shophouse
affords by allowing one to live and work in the same place. Upon
completion of the Innova renovation, senior artistic stylist David
Moore said, “We received over half a dozen or more calls to rent the
apartment above.”

“Eye candy of the Week" is our weekly look at some of the nicer properties in Lansing. It rotates each with Eyesore of the Week. If you have a suggestion, please e-mail or call Andy Balaskovitz at 371-5600 ex. 17.