top of page
  • Madeline Kerr

New salon celebrates owner’s Swedish hair-itage

Karla Fredeen, owner of the newly opened Studio Älskar on Chemin Riverside in Wakefield, says she always knew exactly what she wanted to do when she grew up.

Raised near the small town of Winchester, Ont., Fredeen was 12 the first time she cut someone’s hair—on the side of a tub at a friend’s birthday party.

“It was dry hair, and I was using dry scissors,” she laughs. But she says she loved it. At 17, on the day of her senior prom, Fredeen was getting her hair styled in Ottawa, when she asked if the salon might consider hiring her. They agreed, and within days her career as a hairstylist had begun.

Now, 21 years later, her love of the profession has grown. After working and living for years in Ottawa, Fredeen made the decision to relocate to Wakefield, a place she had been visiting since she was a child. She says she craved the quietness of village life and a greater proximity to nature. She weathered challenging months during the pandemic from her newly-built home on Chemin Rockhurst and, when hair salons were able to reopen, commuted to Hintonburg in Ottawa, where she continued to work at a studio owned by one of her best friends.

She says that, all the while, she was dreaming of one day starting her very own salon in Wakefield. She knew she wanted it to be on the main strip, with a view of the river. So in February 2023, when she learned about an opportunity to lease the space previously occupied by Bone Appetit, next to Kaffe 1870 on Chemin Riverside, Fredeen says she had to pinch herself.

She got to work renovating and designing a studio with an aesthetic that she calls “Scandinavian-meets-farmhouse.”

She named her salon Studio Älskar for a few reasons: Älskar is a Swedish word meaning “to be loved,” and it is a nod to her own Swedish heritage.

“Swedish culture really values nature and self-care,” she explains, which are two of her own passions. Älskar also happens to be an anagram of ‘Karla’s’.

Fredeen opened her doors on July 5 and business is already booming, she says. She adds that she’s now booking appointments for September. “Everyone that has come in here so far has been amazing,” she says.

When she worked at salons in Ottawa, Fredeen says she often juggled multiple clients at once. At Studio Älskar she generally works with one client at a time, explaining that this helps her ensure each person has the best experience possible. Along with this attentiveness, visitors to her salon can also enjoy a specialty coffee or glass of wine.

Her appreciation for the village is evident. “I love the sense of community here, the slower pace of life,” she explains, “this place has really become who I am.”

Studio Älskar is situated right next to Kaffe 1870, 715 Ch. Riverside, and Fredeen says occasionally a customer will venture over to inquire about getting a cut. While this reporter was visiting the salon, Fredeen managed to fit in a quick haircut for a Kaffe customer, who was celebrating the start of the construction holiday with his colleagues.

Being next door to the local watering hole provides her with plenty of entertainment, too. For example, she says that one evening as she was leaving her salon she found herself being spontaneously serenaded. Laughing, Fredeen says that she has acquired a new favourite saying: “‘Only in Wakefield!’”

Anyone looking for a fresh cut and great conversation can make an appointment using Studio Älskar’s website,

bottom of page