written by Kayla Elder >> photography by Erin Gray Cantrell
A quaint white house that has withstood the passage of time sits along the sidewalk of the Historic District of downtown Canton. Built by a respected and well-known doctor, the dwelling was renovated and was most recently home to Practically Perfect Day Spa and Salon.
Dr. John Thomas Pettit, who practiced medicine in the city for 39 years starting in the early 1900s, was the original owner of the home. The home sits at the intersection of East Main Street and John T. Pettit Street, which is named for the revered physician.
Pettit, who served two years as mayor, was originally from Cedartown and married Alma Quarles of Cherokee County in 1910. The couple had two daughters.
“It was Dr. John Pettit who built it. He and his wife lived here, then it was turned into three different apartments, there is an upstairs area,” said Lisa Furilla, the spa’s proprietor.
Practically Perfect Day Spa and Salon opened in September 2010 in a section of the house, where Furilla offered skin care and massage therapy services. In 2014, the shop expanded into the entirety of the 100-year-old home to offer salon services.
“I have always loved historical buildings. I think the charm here is just so great…this feels like home and I love it,” Furilla said. “I love historic downtown Canton.”
Just as the home attracted her eye, Furilla’s clients are drawn to the house’s enduring antique touches.
“I think the feeling of being at home and the warmth attracts the clients. I hear it all the time that they do not feel like they are in a cold salon. That is how I want it to feel,” Furilla said.
The salon offers hair styling, including color, cuts and up-dos. The spa offers facials, microderms, chemical peels, massage therapy, waxing, nails by the medical nail tech, and body treatments including scrubs and wraps.
“It is the one-on-one attention. Everybody really cares about each client that comes through the doors. We try to keep it warm and cozy in here,” Furilla said. “We offer mimosas and wine; we really want people to relax and let the day’s stresses go, to just have a couple hours of peace.”
“It has been really good and we have great people here. You can trust that you are in good hands with anyone that works here,” Furilla said. “I love the house. It has been fun. We have pretty much gotten to the point where we can’t grow anymore.”
Salon & Spa Venessa | 8516 Main St., Woodstock | (770) 591-2079 | www.salonvenessa.com
Standing stately and tall on Main Street in downtown Woodstock for more than 100 years, the historic home now occupied by Salon and Spa Venessa continues to retain its notable beauty.
The original owners, J.H. Johnston and Sarah Avis Benson Johnston, were two of the prominent founders of Woodstock, as well as influential business owners. In 1887, they moved from Cobb County to Woodstock, where they opened a general mercantile store.
Sarah Avis Benson Johnston, a descendent of a pioneer family of Cherokee County, had several children with her husband, J.H. Johnston, including Smith, Joseph, and Hugh Lee Johnston.
“We are honored to follow in his family’s footsteps to preserve this stately 100-year-old building, while also creating a sustainable business in our community,” said Venessa Lanier, owner of Salon and Spa Venessa.
The Johnstons, well-known and multigenerational, contributed much to the Woodstock community, as well as Cherokee County as a whole. Their roots go deep and they contributed to what became a rich history within the city.
Owners Venessa and Ivey Lanier have merged high tech services with the ambience of the building and worked to preserve its ambiance and integrity. They moved their business into the Johnston building in 2001.
“We had outgrown our space we were in before and I looked at this building with dreams of what it could be. I felt I could make it a beautiful business,” Lanier said about purchasing the well-known house.
With its large white columns and brick exterior, the building attracts the eye and heart to an older but enlightened era and style that continues to suit the ambience of Woodstock as the town continues to grow.
“We want to grow with downtown,” Lanier said. “I feel like we have helped the community grow, much like the Johnston family. I have been here from the start, able to see this city reborn, and we are proud of that.”
Salon and Spa Venessa will be celebrating 25 years of serving guests with “affordable luxury” in Woodstock in July.
“Our point of difference is customized services for each guest, using plant-based sustainable products,” Lanier said. “We provide an oasis of beauty and wellness for every guest that walks through our historic doors.”
“We want everyone to feel like they have stepped into an experience,” Lanier said.