Tuesday, December 18, 2018

St. Peter Church - Mansfield, Ohio

Center aisle of newly renovated St. Peter Church in Mansfield, Ohio
St. Peter in Mansfield is a large, Romanesque church, in the heart of Ohio.  The traditional architecture, with vaulted ceilings and intricate ornament lends itself to decoration.  In 1944 St. Peter's commissioned artist, John Bernat to paint the interior of the church.  His elaborate murals, and complex color scheme highlighted the church's beauty.  Sadly, much of his work was overpainted in 1970, when liturgical trends called for simplicity. After a 1991 fire, the church was painted again, in a palette of cremes and gold.

St. Peter contracted with Henninger's EverGreene Architectural Arts, and The Schantz Organ Company to preserve the historic murals and stained glass; repair damaged plaster; reinstate a harmonious interior decorative scheme; renew the furnishings and pews; and restore the organ.

Work began with preconstruction planning to establish a scope of work that addressed the most pressing concerns, maximized the budget, and allowed for a strategic approach to implementation. In the preconstruction phase EverGreene investigated conditions, designed  new artwork, and selected colors. Henningers evaluated all of St. Peter's 103 stained glass windows to determine which windows were most in need of restoration.

Stained glass removal
Site work was addressed in phases beginning with the sanctuary and moving into the nave, transepts, and narthex. Henninger's team repaired all plaster, prepped the walls and applied two coats of straight painting. Straight painting is the solid, background in the field areas of the walls and ceilings. Before the 2018 renewal marble statuary blended into the walls and artwork on the ceiling seemed to be floating in space. Custom patterning in these areas integrated the liturgical elements into the architecture and brought them back into relationship with one another. EverGreene conserved John Bernat's historic murals and created new artwork including patterning, lettering, and decorative throughout as well as new trompe l'oeil statue niches in the style of the existing altars and stencils to bring the Mary and Joseph altars into proportion with the architecture. 
Dancefloor atop scaffolding
Nave with full scaffolding

EverGreene's artist's sketch of back sanctuary wall patterns and artwork on apse ceiling

By adding a pattern of religious symbols behind the altar, the walls provide a backdrop for this historic marble piece.

New stenciling on the ribs and around the murals of Christ and the Four Evangelists connect each historic mural

Capital and murals depicting the life of St. Peter
Vaults at transept crossing
Pews were removed from the church and refinished in Henninger's warehouse.  Each pew was repaired if needed, then stripped down to the bare wood, stained, and finished.  This was the some of the most labor intensive work in Henninger's scope.
Pew refinishing
Pew refinishing

Pew end after refinishing

Henninger's did extensive work on the floors at St. Peter's.  The hardwood floor under the pews was removed and new hardwood was installed, stained, sanded and finished.  The existing marble floor was polished and restored, and areas of the old hardwood replaced with new marble tiles to match the historic tiles.
Polishing existing marble floor

Sanding new hardwood

Sanding new hardwood

Polished existing marble floor (top middle of picture), new marble floor (top left), and existing marble floor before cleaning & polishing (bottom of picture)

Finished floor

Restored stained glass windows

Marian Shrine

St. Joseph Shrine
The pipe organ was fully restored by Schantz with a new console.

We are very proud of our work at St. Peter Church - every single employee at Henninger's contributed to this amazing transformation.  We enjoyed collaborating with EverGreene Architectural Arts and Schantz Organ Company.  Henninger's is very grateful to the Project Manager, David Barber for all of his efforts in coordinating the work.  We were happy to work for pastor, Rev. Gregory Hite, who kept a positive outlook and accommodating nature through the entire renovation.  Henninger's is especially excited for the parishioners of St. Peter - who deserve a church as splendid as their community.

St. Peter Church - Mansfield, Ohio

Photo credit: Nick Heyob