Friday, August 2, 2013

OLMC - Niles, Ohio

Last year, the new pastor of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church in Niles, Ohio had a vision of his new parish. Rev. John-Michael Lavelle saw hidden stained glass windows being exposed. His vision included new marble sanctuary furniture. He imagined a new crucifix hanging from the ceiling and a new tabernacle. The worship space at his new parish would look clean and rich.

Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church - 2012
Fr. Lavelle asked Henninger's for input on his renovation plans.  He knew he had to knock down a forty year old mosaic to expose the stained glass windows hidden behind it. He shopped on for items from closed churches. After a few submissions, Father landed on the following rendering:
Henninger's Design Studio's Renovation Rendering
Fr. Lavelle contracted Henninger's to handle painting the church walls and ceiling, renovating the sanctuary with new altars, ambo, lectern, and baptismal font, ordering new metalware and statuary.  The back of the church needed work as well.  Using an old photo from archives, Father planned on a new facade for the choir loft, and more exposed stained glass.

Choir loft and back of church 2012                                                                   OLMC archived photo

Father asked Henninger's to add marble wainscoting throughout the church. The green marble would match the existing color around the sanctuary, and the new pieces of marble furniture. As more parishioners grew exited about the project, the plans continued to grow. New doors, chairs, and stained glass work were added to the renovation.  The pews were to be refinished with new kneelers.  The stairwell on the side of the building was to be converted into a cry room.  Henninger's work began in the church in January of 2013 with the removal of pews, mosaic removal, and setting up for scaffolding for the painters.
Pew removal                                                                                    Mosaic removal
Entire church with scaffolding
With the scaffolding covering the entire church, wall to wall, and floor to ceiling, surfaces were accessible to Henninger's paint crew. Preparation is the step that sets Henninger's paint crew apart from other commercial crews.  Our painters take the necessary time to professionally repair any damage, clean all surfaces, and prime before painting.  When we paint a church, it is meant to last 25 to 35 years.

Surface preparation                                                                               Painting ceiling

After the scaffolding came down, the next work was the marble wainscoting. Henninger's cut, beveled and polished dozens of slabs of green marble for the church's walls and columns.

Green marble wainscoting on walls and pillars
Henninger's covered the mosaics on the left and right sides of the sanctuary in drywall and painted the niches in a faux marble. A re-purposed side altar was installed on the left side of the sanctuary with a new tabernacle. A new sanctuary lamp and a new holy water font are on either side of the altar.

Before                                                                                                        After

The church's old baptismal font was converted into a statue pedestal for the new six foot wood carved statue of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. New floor candlesticks flanked the statue.
Before                                                                                               After

Henninger's work in the choir loft was quite extensive.  The box in the middle of the back wall was removed to expose the stained glass windows. A new floor was laid for stability. The front railing was built out and up to recreate the look in the church from decades before. Sandblasted glass panels featuring the seven sacraments were inserted in the new railing. The church's pipes from its previous organ were re-purposed by cutting, painting, and mounting. When finished, the facade was painted in faux marble green and white.
Before picture and work in progress pictures in choir loft

The result of all of the planning and hard work in the choir loft was very impressive.  The following before and after pictures also show the newly refinished pews:
Choir Loft 2012

Renovated Choir Loft

Father Lavelle had a great idea for the doors leading into the sacristy: stained glass. Henninger's artists designed and built two stained glass panels featuring the Youngstown Diocesan seal and the Papal seal.

Diocesan and Papal Seals on stained glass panels
The panels were installed into new solid wood doors. The inside of the doors were stained and the outside were faux marble painted.

 The new baptismal font was custom designed and fabricated for the renovation. The top piece was carved out of a solid piece of white marble. The bottom green marble formed an octagonal shape with an access panel to reach the pump on the water feature.

Baptismal Font

The sanctuary at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel received the biggest facelift. By removing the large mosaic in back, two previously hidden stained glass windows were exposed. A new crucifix was hung above the middle of the sanctuary. The three existing beige and green marble chairs were covered with all green marble and given an pointed top. The Altar of Sacrifice, Altar Railings, and Ambo were re-purposed pieces from St. Rose of Lima Church in the Diocese of Cleveland, which closed a few years ago. A new wall was built behind the chairs with marble crosses inset into it. The wall was painted in faux white and green marble. The marble lectern, bronze floor candlesticks, and wood acolyte chairs were all fabricated new.

Before and after pictures:

Sanctuary - Christmas 2012

New Sanctuary

"Words alone cannot express how appreciative I and the entire faith community of Our Lady of Mount Carmel are with regard to the incredible work everyone at Henninger's has done in recreating our worship space.  While the parishioners are truly amazed at the finished project, I have been amazed throughout the entire process, from first contacting Mark Cousineau a little over a year ago, up to the moment we returned to our glorious church - and beyond.  At every step of the process, they have been the most wonderful people to work with.  We are very blessed to have had the opportunity to collaborate with people who not only understand the many needs of a worship space, and possess the skills and resources to accomplish such wondrous goals, but also have a true love themselves for the celebrations that take place in God's house.  I look forward to continuing working with Henninger's on other projects in the future and highly recommend them to anyone seeking to create, restore or improve upon their worship space." 

Father John-Michael Lavelle 
Henninger's team is inspired by Liturgy. The Liturgy of the Word speaks to us and the Liturgy of the Eucharist lets us communicate with Jesus. The greatest service Henninger's can give is to enhance this Liturgy through high quality artwork and beautiful furnishings. Working on the renovation at Our Lady of Mount Carmel gave us the opportunity to enhance an amazing worship space and continue to reach for the heavens.


  1. nicely done, but with the beauty of the renovations, the tabernacle is not put where it should be, in the heart of our worship home?

  2. What became of the mosaics that were actually from Italy?