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Ecclesiastical Studios


Highlighting Lost Architectural Features

The updated palette highlighted the restored altars, statues and once-lost detailing.

Based on a referral from a previous client, Ecclesiastical Studios & Sons owners Don and Alex Wendt went to a meeting at St. Mary's Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Valley Falls, Kansas, to talk about and receive a bid on restoring a few statues and the altars.

A dated blue color scheme appeared more drab against updated altars.

Upon first walking into the church, Don commented to the parish council president that it would be a beautiful church to redecorate with an updated color scheme. The nearly 100-year-old Romanesque church had donned a blah off-white and baby-blue color scheme in the late 1980s. The client was firmly set against the idea. Yet as the Ecclesiastical Studios team began work on the altars and statues, the painters continued to mention how much better the altars would look with a fresh color palette on the walls.

Alex Wendt repairs the plaster with sponge troweling.

It took some convincing to get agreement to do an on-site sample in the front corner of the church with a suggested wall and ceiling color, and designs to complement the new colors on the side altar. Yet after presenting the sample to the committee, they unanimously agreed that the fresh new look was a perfect fit for the church interior.

Stations were base coated (pictured here), before details were airbrushed.

Once the three-person team completed the first phase of this restoration, they began working toward phase two. This consisted of a 12-week restoration of the nave, choir loft, vestibule, rooms and stations of the cross, and a remodel of the confessional into the shrine area for a Pieta statue. Rolling towers were erected to reach every square inch of the church. Some plaster repair was required before the crew spot-primed, then brush and rolled two coats of Behr Premium Plus Ultra on the walls and ceilings. Decorations would include borders, panels, inlay stenciling, gold gilding and proper color placement with a five-color pallet. The team relished the challenge of working up a whole new color palette that would bring out all the lost architectural features.

Key Products

  • Kilz oil-based primer
  • Behr Premium Plus Ultra