PictureKatie Ezzeddine. Courtesy image.

Katie Ezzeddine came up with the idea behind the newest nail salon in town for a very simple reason: the relatively new Mill Valley resident couldn’t find a place that had what she was looking for.

Ezzeddine, who moved to Mill Valley with her husband Saied and their three young daughters more than a year ago, said she sought a salon where she could bring her children and know that both she they wouldn’t be exposed to the chemicals traditionally found at most nail salons.

But rather than lobby existing salons and search elsewhere, Ezzeddine drew on her own business background – she owns the popular 8-year-old Natural Maidens, a “green cleaning service” focusing on residential and commercial properties in San Francisco, primarily in high-rise buildings – and decided to launch her own salon.

The result is Dolls & Dandy Nail Lounge, which opened in late January at 67 Throckmorton Ave., the former home of Richard Leland’s Vintage Wine & Spirits, which moved across the street to 82 Throckmorton Ave. in January 2014.

“We’re thrilled to be here in this gorgeous space, and the community has really taken to what we’ve created,” Ezzeddine says.

What she’s created is a gorgeous, high design environment, featuring velvet chairs and foot rests and iPads at each station for magazine browsing. It’s also free of that traditional nail polish smell, a move that Ezzeddine says was essential to creating a family-oriented, toxin-free environment.

Dolls & Dandy is a “five- and seven-free” nail lounge, she says. “Five free” essentially refers to polishes that do not contain three common chemicals found in most polishes (Toluene, Dibutyl Phthalate (DBP), Formaldehyde), as well as two chemicals (Formaldehyde Resin and Camphor). “Seven free” goes a step further, avoiding the ingredients Ethyl Tosylamide and Andxylene. Ezzeddine also invested in chemical-free equipment like autoclave machines, which sterilize equipment and supplies using high pressure and steam.

Those two factors – design and comfort and being free of toxins – along with top-notch service, have drawn rave reviews: “The atmosphere was so stylish like I’ve never seen in any nail salons and the most important thing, I couldn’t smell any harsh chemical nail polish when i was there,” wrote Dew T. on Yelp.

Born and raised in southern Thailand, Abou-Ezzeddine moved to the Bay Area more than 15 years ago, first attending City College of San Francisco and later San Francisco State University, garnering a degree in marketing and business management. She married Saied Ezzeddine, a vice president with Fisher Investments, and launched Natural Maidens in 2008. They have three daughters ages nine months, three years and six years.

When the family moved to the Almonte neighborhood in Mill Valley, Ezzeddine moved quickly to create the concept behind Dolls & Dandy. “I was looking for a place to get my nails done and I just couldn’t find a place where it was comfortable to bring your children and relax and know that they weren’t using toxic chemicals,” she says.

Once she found the space at 67 Throckmorton, one of the most prominent buildings in the 94941, Ezzeddine says she was sold. She connected with Evan Cross, whose Pahana known architectural firm designed the Aloha Lofts on the second floor of the building that also contains the long-vacant Tyler Florence Shop, helped Ezzeddine create the look she sought.

The building Dolls & Dandy occupies has a deep history in Mill Valley. It was built by Michael O’Shaughnessy, the noted engineer of the Hetch-Hetchy Dam & Reservoir who also helped create the found City plan for Mill Valley. O’Shaughnessy owned the building until he died in 1934, according to Barbara Ford of the Mill Valley Historical Society. It is widely known as the O’Shaughnessy Building, she said.

The 411: Dolls & Dandy Nail Lounge is at 67 Throckmorton Avenue. Open Monday-Saturday, 9am-5pm, Sunday 10am-5pm. More info.

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