Euro Trash: a unique designer for a unique neighborhood

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The work of Dutch-American interior designer Annie Brahler has been hailed by the Chicago Tribune, Elle magazine and countless others ranging from celebrity clients to single moms. It seems the worldly Brahler has a unique talent for helping others discover what they like.

Bespoke gold lettering on the front of Annie Brahler’s interior design studio, Euro Trash on 126 E. Lockwood Ave. Photo by Craig Reynolds.

“Americans have a difficult time standing out,” Brahler said, when speaking about her penchant for helping clients find their taste. “Without my knowing it, I have an inherent sense; I figured it out.”

Raised in both San Diego and Fort Myers, Florida, Brahler has trotted the globe. After seven years of modeling in Tokyo, she committed to curation and design, specializing in creating residential and commercial environments with a European flair. After traveling the world, she ultimately chose to house her studio in Webster Groves.

“I’ve always loved Webster,” said Brahler, noting that the neighborhood is like a movie set.

Brahler and her husband’s recent renovation of a mid-century modern home landed their work in the Saint Louis Art Museum. The projects for the couple keep coming, with work on another renovation underway. 

Living in West St. Louis County, Brahler found her work could not thrive without the separation of work and home. When she and her husband began the process of studio scouting nearby, Brahler considered a few options and chose her space thoughtfully. She notes the studio shouldn’t overtake the identity of the building; rather, it should embrace the newfound space with all of its history. 

“There’s a lot of propensity just to tear things down,” she said.

Renovation is a keyword in Brahler’s design philosophy. Rejecting adequacy, she specializes in taking everyday items and using them to their potential. For instance, things don’t stay in the china cabinet; in Brahler’s home, fine china is used to dish a bedtime snack. 

“It’s a personal thing, mend rather than rebuild,” Brahler said.

Brahler’s studio in Old Orchard is a perfect fit. Her husband, Charlie, found the building.

It sits on an old lot, and the couple thought its character was visible from the street. They knew the space had potential at first sight.

The building Brahler now calls home. The building has loads of history and was just waiting to be reclaimed. Photo by Craig Reynolds.

“There was suspicion up there in the limestone,” Brahler said.

The couple approached the Lemcke family, who has owned the building on Lockwood Avenue for years. Selecting Brahler over other potential tenants, the Lemckes – long-time business owners in Webster Groves – saw Brahler apart from other potential tenants, making Euro Trash the new occupant of 126 E Lockwood Ave. 

“They’d been approached by all types of businesses, like a restaurant, shops…” Brahler said. “The building had fallen, and we wanted to give it back to the street.”

As renovations to the 1920s building began, Brahler discovered the storefront was previously home to Busy Bee Motor Company. Brahler says the hard work to bring new life into the building has paid off, as the Webster Groves community has been a source of great support for Euro Trash. 

“It’s a place where you can be completely yourself,” Brahler said. 

For inquiries or appointments, visit the Euro Trash website.

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Lauren Brennecke
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