“I Instantly Envisioned How I Could Enhance The Beauty Of This Building”

If you’ve been searching for the perfect venue for your next event, we’ve got you covered! The historic Mahler Ballroom in the Central West End hosts events to remember including weddings and receptions, birthday and anniversary parties, corporate events, church services, fashion shows, proms and more.

Karen Halper acquired the Mahler Ballroom earlier this year, and its undergone quite the transformation. Karen and her team have stayed true to the chic style of the historic Victorian ballroom, while incorporating contemporary amenities to breathe new life into the building.

Tell us about yourself and the different businesses you own.

Karen Halper: I opened Enchanting Embellishments, Inc. in 2009, which started out as an Interior Design business and sold furniture, art and home accessories. Due to the economy, it metamorphosed into a Women’s High Fashion Boutique. The clothes are manufactured in Montreal, Canada and the designs are coming from Europe. I moved to the CWE in 2011 and instantly fell in love with the community. As a teenager, I spent many summers with family in England and always enjoyed and appreciated the older buildings, so the CWE made me feel like I was back in Europe.   

In 2012, I purchased the building at 4730 – 4734 McPherson Avenue, which was built in 1920, to move Enchanting Embellishments and also open MaryAnn’s Tea Room. I recognized that the building was a diamond in the ruff and started renovations, which were completed in 2015.  I discovered that I enjoyed renovating older buildings in the CWE, so many generations could appreciate their beauty and history. It has since become a passion for me, so in 2013, I purchased a home located at 5215 Lindell Blvd, which was built in 1910, and renovations were completed this year.

In 2018, I purchased the building located at 412 N Euclid, built in 1919, currently under renovations; and the Mahler Ballroom, built in 1907, which is also currently under renovations and remodeling. 

What made you decide to acquire the Mahler Ballroom?

Karen Halper: When I was aware of the opportunity to purchase the Mahler, I couldn’t refuse. The Mahler would be a complement and a great addition to my other businesses. When I saw the inside of the building, I instantly envisioned how I could enhance the beauty of this building and have it offer enjoyment for the neighborhood. It had such great potential, I couldn’t wait to get started. I teamed up with Talent Plus and the Ready Room to have a monthly Classic Tracks Series. These events are being held under the name of “CLUB M.” The first event is Sept. 28- “Retelling Casablanca” which is featuring an all-star lineup of musicians and performers. It will include a concert and pop-up performers from the film.  

You re-opened the Mahler Ballroom in June. Can you walk us through all the renovations that took place?

Karen Halper: We have completed phase one of the renovations which included:
-New landscaping

-Updated outdoor patio with new furniture, gazebo, fire pit and planters
-Painted the first floor, ballroom, bar, lower level public bathrooms, etc.
-Removed the entryway carpet and installed large modern tiles, wallpaper, new chandeliers and furnishings
-Tiled the bar area, new chandelier, new mosaic art, new bar, built in cabinetry and shelving behind the bar with mirrored waterfalls
-Remodeled and expanded coat check room
-Remodeled the bathroom off the entryway to be ADA compliant
-Changed and added equipment to make the dance studio off the first floor a catering room
-Painted all the detail around the balcony in the ballroom to accent the ornate plasterwork; added a drink shelf around the balcony and purchased 40 barstools so people are able to sit around the balcony
-Remodeled the bride’s room off the ballroom floor with new furniture and a vanity
-Decorated the ballroom with mosaic art from the renowned decorator Christopher Guy in Los Angeles. 
-Installed a cathedral chandelier which is 750lbs and holds 176 lights
-Replaced 21 chandeliers with new ones
-Purchased couches, coffee tables and end tables to create sectional seating for social events and Club M events

I understand you’re now working on a bridal suite. Can you share some of the details with us?

Karen Halper: I have started phase 2 of the renovations, which is to remodel a 1400 sq ft. apartment on the second floor to be a bridal suite. One room is already completed. The bridal suite will include a spa room with 2 massaging pedicure spas, 2 hair salon stations, a shampoo station and 2 nail stations. The suite will have a full kitchen, living room, dining room and a bathroom with shower and jacuzzi bath. It will be newly tiled, painted and furnished. This suite will allow a bride or a customer to use the room with their guests to get pampered and ready for their event. The bridal suite will be completed by the end of September.

Are there any plans for a men’s suite as well?

Karen Halper: Phase 3 of the renovations will be the third floor. It currently has a large room with a dance floor and a carpeted area; and a small apartment. We will be replacing the carpet next to the dance floor with tile and adding new furniture with sectional seating, oversized leather furniture, large screen TV, bar, efficiency kitchen and a bathroom with a shower. This space will be used for smaller parties and will also be available for use as the men’s suite.

Why should people consider the Mahler Ballroom when looking for their next event venue?

Karen Halper: The ballroom is a beautifully historic space with many modern amenities. Our customer service is exquisite and we can help you turn your event into a night to remember.

How far in advance do you book out?

Karen Halper: We are quickly booking 2019 and are having customers touring the ballroom for 2020 events. Check our online calendar for availability.

What is your favorite part about being located in the CWE?

Karen Halper: The CWE reminds me of a walkable European city, with life on the streets. You can sip on a cup of tea by yourself and not feel alone, all while enjoying the beautiful architecture. I especially enjoy the variety of old buildings in the CWE, which were designed to represent the architecture of the country the owner migrated from.  

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