Ecclesiastical Studios & Sons is a family owned church restoration and decorative painting company in Greenwood, Mo that specializes in painting and restoring churches primarily throughout the Midwest. Most of our work comes from referrals from past projects; St. Mary’s Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Valley Falls, Ks is no different. Leon Roberts the building director of the Kansas City, Ks Diocese referred us to Larry Heinen the parish council president. We have to chuckle a little bit looking back on how the restoration of the church came about, our initial meeting with Larry was only to talk about, and receive a bid on restoring a few statues and the Altars.
When we first walked into the church my dad said to Larry, Wow this would be a beautiful church to redecorate, with an updated color scheme. Larry exclaimed back to my dad, Oh no! We love our church just the way it is! St. Mary’s is nearly a 100-year-old Romanesque church that had donned a blah off-white and baby blue color scheme that had been done in late 1980’s. So, after meeting with Larry and submitting the bid on the Altars and statues, we were awarded the contract and was slated to start in the fall of 2015. This initially didn’t start out as phase one of a two phase project but as we began work on the Altars and statues, my dad began to sell his ideas for the Altars, and how much better they could look with a fresh color pallet.
It took him a few days to convince the committee to let us do an on-site sample in the front corner of the church with our new wall and ceiling color and designs to complement the new colors on the side Altar. Low and be hold after finishing the sample and presenting it to the committee; They unanimously agreed that this is what was needing to be done to the interior of the church. This is where we relish the challenge of working up a whole new color pallet, bringing out all the loss architecture and we were determined to go the extra mile for the Parish.
The first phase consisted of the restoration of the Altars, statues, Sanctuary face, and inner Sanctuary dome. We also relocated a hanging crucifix to behind the Main Altar. Phase one took a total of 5 weeks to complete with a 3-man crew working 10-hour days 6 days a week. Phase 2 of the project wouldn’t begin until the Parish was able to raise the money to complete the remaining work, which began in May 2017. Like with all of our projects we always stay close to the job-site in our RVS, with a 3-man crew we learned how to be very efficient on projects like St. Mary’s, owning and erecting all our scaffolding is a time saver for us and the customer.
Phase 2 of the project consisted of restoration of Nave, Choir Loft, Vestibule, Rooms, Stations Of The Cross, remodel of confessional into shrine area for Pietà. This phase took a total of 12 weeks to complete. Rolling towers were erected to reach every square inch of the church.
Which in all of our years of restoring churches this church was in relativity good shape. Some plaster repair was required, we spot primed with Kilz oil based primer, and brush & rolled 2 coats of Behr Premium Plus Ultra on walls and ceilings. Decorating included borders, panels, inlay stenciling, gold gilding, and proper color placement with a 5-color pallet.
PDCA Industry Standards and OSHA Work Safe Practices were use during the course of the project. A special thanks to the entire Parish for being so upbeat and positive during this entire project; trying to make the entire congregation happy can be a daunting task on any restoration but as a team we did just that.
On side note our longtime friend and colleague Cliff Foth had a bit of misfortune right after we finished St. May’s, he had to undergo an emergency triple-bypass. But we are happy to report he has made a full recovery and is ready to go back to work!