207-213 Garden Street

Status: Completed

Perhaps NINA’s biggest project ever, 207 Garden Street was a $2.5 million renovation that completely overhauled this mixed-use building, reducing the number of apartments in the building and enlarging them in size, adding air-conditioning and laundry in each unit, re-configuring the third floor as office space, updating the ground floor retail space, and installing an elevator. The building was originally built in 1926 and designed by prolific architect George Zunner.

207 Garden Before & After


215 Garden - The New Entrance


1st Floor

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2nd Floor

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3rd Floor

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2nd Floor Residential Plan - Before & After

This is the second floor, before and after. It provides a closer look at how we enlarged the apartments.
Originally, there were 4 apartments on the second floor, 2 on the Garden Street side and 2 on the Ashley Street side. Legally speaking, all of these apartments were single bedrooms (only one room per unit had a closet) despite the fairly large size of three of the apartments, but it's possible the tenants could have used the rooms in a number of different ways.
We decided that we would eliminate one of the apartments altogether, allowing us to provide more space for each of the remaining three, and we created one three bedroom apartment (three-bedroom rentals are in short supply in Asylum Hill). We were also able to provide all of the units access to both the Ashley Street and the Garden Street staircases.

3rd Floor Office Plan - Before & After

The third floor was originally laid out in the exact same configuration as the second floor. We converted the third floor to office space.

The Fire in 6 Ashley Unit 3B

The story goes that there was a fire in 6 Ashley Unit 3B, and although the fire was contained to that apartment, there was enough damage that the City of Hartford relocated the tenants and condemned the units. According to this story, the fire was deliberately set by an individual who had been staying with the tenant and who, upon being asked to leave, pushed a mattress up against the easternmost wall of the unit and set it on fire. And, in fact, the worst damage from the fire was at that wall.
The history may be a little different. The only record of a fire that we’ve found occurred on January 4, 2008. The Hartford Police reported a burglary at 4 Ashley Street, which is yet another address for the building, at 9:57 in the morning – and this was connected to the fire. According to the Courant, the Charter Oak chapter of the Red Cross provided temporary lodging and groceries for residents of two units, but the article didn’t state which two units or how many people. We’re
From our perspective as owner, the fire damage had not been repaired, and all of the apartments, not just Unit 3B, were uninhabitable when NINA acquired the building in October 2010. At this point, we’re sure there’s more information out there, but so far we haven’t turned it up.
The pictures here show the location of the fire from the exterior and then close-ups of the damage to the interior of the apartment.



Some Surprises from Inside the Apartments

It’s not unusual to find amenities in our properties, but 207 Garden had three big surprises. Each unit had a small built-in butler’s pantry, a built-in ironing board, and a speaking tube intercom system. They’d been removed or converted to another use in some of the apartments, and of course we took all of this out as part of the gut rehab – but we thought it would be fun to give you a sense of what the apartments would’ve been like in 1926.


The Caretaker Helps Himself - Maybe?

You might have noticed in that huge chunks of wall were missing in the kitchens and bathrooms of all of the apartments in the before photos. That damage apparently came courtesy of the building’s caretaker, who according to what we heard had been hired – and not paid – by the previous owner to watch over the vacant apartments.
As with the fire, the history may be a little different, but unlike the fire we’re probably never going to know what exactly transpired. From our perspective, it saved us on demolition costs – we would have pulled it out in any event – but we did get a chuckle when we realized that we could track the removal of the radiators by the scratches on the hardwood floor. We think we know what it felt like to discover hidden dinosaur tracks at Rocky Hill!



All About 207 Garden

Two ways. First and foremost, we have the electrical meters in the basement that were labeled for the apartments on the Garden Street side. The meters established that these apartments were 209 North and South plus the floor number, so 2N, 2S, 3N, and 3S. As for the Ashley Street side, we've made an educated guess. We found the front door to one of the westernmost apartments inside the living room, and it indicated that we were in 2A. From that we extrapolated that the westernmost apartments were all A, so the apartment that stretched between these units and the Garden Street units must all be B. As for the 6 Ashley, again, that was just a guess, but the south side of the building was 2 through 6 (like the east side was 207 through 213), and the only access to the As and Bs was through the westernmost door, or 6 Ashley.

The short answer to this question is that legally only a room with a closet can be called a bedroom. Each apartment had one room with a closet, and that room was always the last room a person could reach from the front door. That said, the original apartments were somewhat oddly configured, and in both the "B" and the "N" units the rooms were laid out in a "railroad" floor plan, meaning you'd have to go through one to get to the other. The "S" units had two large rooms that had not closets but did not serve as paths to other rooms, which means they probably were used as bedrooms at some point or another. To keep things simple, we only refer to rooms with closets as bedrooms, and we really only refer to the front room the "A" units as a living room.


Project History

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