November 23, 2020

Garden Avenue apartments remodeled

From the outside, apartment building 627 Garden Ave., looks like any other building in Webster Groves but has almost become part of Webster University’s landscape. However, this apartment complex has more ties to Webster University than some might think.

On Saturday, Aug. 7, The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis and At Home magazine showcased 14, out of 20, Garden Ave. remodeled apartments. The Garden Apartments, owned by The Repertory Theatre, are used to house traveling actors, directors, and designers for The Repertory and The Opera Theatre of St. Louis. Guests can occupy the apartments for up to two months.

The renovation of the apartments was led by Christy Marshall, At Home magazine editor, in collaboration with volunteers from The Repertory Theatre. Among The Repertory’s volunteers is Company Manager, Deborah Sharn, who after years of working on renovations with Marshall became close friends.

Marshall found thirteen teams of designers including architects, willing to give back to the community, who then had to get donations to work with. Mitchell Wall, in charge of apartment J2, was the only architects participating.

Besides the renovation of the interior, apartment managers Ken Repp and Nicole Angeli, with Sharn, have been working on landscaping.

“I started the process three summers ago with border brick, boxwoods and a plant bed” said Sharn.

The restyling of the property began three years ago after The Repertory’s Backers Volunteer Board had a successful fundraiser and decided to put the money into the building. Renovations started that same summer. With At Home’s assistance, the process of repainting interiors, and getting new furniture began. Last year At Home, lead by Marshall, renovated four of the apartments the same way the 14 were renovated this year. Having only four of the apartments renovated became an issue when some guests got the refurnished apartments and others didn’t.  Since At Home can’t spend more than two years on one property, Marshall decided to take up the rest of the apartments this year. The apartment unaccounted for is the manager’s apartment.

Though At Home and The Repertory Theatre have been working on the Garden Apartments for the past 3 years, there is still work to be done. There is a substantial amount of work regarding landscaping to be worked on in the near future by Repp and Angeli. Besides the aesthetics, there are also other maintenance issues to be dealt with. Due to the age of the building and the lack of attention it got for many years, plumbing issues are to be expected as well. Without the magazine’s official support, The Repertory Theatre will have to rely on their own resources to maintain and continue to work on the building.

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