Hair stylists Franco McCarthy and Brandon Stanford have been working their magic for over 25 years at the Alameda destination salon Complements, a comfortable, contemporary French-inspired oasis where Franco and Brandon (& their talented team) keep happy clients coming back year in and out. Together, at home and at work, the couple celebrated 30 years (yes, they were babies when they met!) with a Hawaiian destination wedding earlier this year. Their daughter Andrea is a second generation stylist at Complements, and Franco and Brandon are proud ‘Glampas’ to eight-year old Evelyn. Artistic, creative, and passionate about their community, these hair pros have created a go-to salon for expert styling in a space that feels like your charming BFF’s living room.
Where do you live and why do you love it?
Alameda, California – it has a small-town feel with all the big city amenities. An island off of the San Francisco Bay, complete with four drawbridges, a stretch of white sand and warm shallow waters, Alameda was the vacation spot for the elite of San Francisco from the 1800’s through the early 1900’s. We love it for the eclectic mix of Victorians, California Bungalows, Mid-Century and Gatsby-esque homes. It also has the best view of the San Francisco skyline. Most of all, we’re five minutes away from the Oakland International Airport, so we can easily dash away to any destination.
Julie’s Coffee & Tea Garden on Park Street. Julie’s has a gorgeous outdoor patio, and features local artists monthly. Locally owned and operated, with beautiful baked goods and organic coffee and tea. Pastry for Brandon and coffee for Franco makes a happy couple.
Favorite spot for a cocktail?
We always get a cheerful ‘Buona Sera!’ from owner Giuseppe Naccarelli of Trabacco. This is our go-to spot for cocktails and tasty appetizers, as well as a great dinner! Kevin is our favorite mixologist (the perfect dirty Martini), and we always look forward to the grilled octopus.
Date night destination?
Asena Restaurant on Santa Clara Avenue for some of the best Mediterranean food – and the most comprehensive wine list – this side of the Bay. The gracious owner Mustafa is always helpful in our dinner and wine decision making. After dinner, it’s a short walk to Alameda’s historic Art Deco theater, with all the elegance of a bygone era.
Buzziest new restaurant?
Black Bull Tacos y Cerveza on Park Street. A great spot for a creative, fresh new approach to street tacos – an intimate space with a cool, casual vibe, it’s a perfect addition to Park Street’s thriving culinary scene.
Favorite find in the neighborhood?
MGH Discovered Art is definitely our favorite neighborhood find. In her chic new Park Street studio, owner/curator Michelle Gilchrist Hembre has assembled an exclusive collection of original vintage art. With pieces done by artists found in the MOMA and the de Young, we trust her keen eye and exquisite taste for any blank wall! We have an original piece chosen by Michelle hanging prominently in the main room of our salon.
Where do you go for a hostess gift that will guarantee a return invitation?
A bouquet of flowers, a picture frame, or Madison Bouche Chocolates are just a few things to choose from the beautifully curated Dandelion Flowers. (Another great option is to pick up a gift certificate at Complements Hair Design. What perfect hostess wouldn’t love that!?!)