I keep waiting to be finished with the chapel to share it here, but I keep NOT being finished with it, and I’m tired of waiting. I made a ton of progress on it over the summer, but now that the homeschool year is going and with all the conference and book launch stuff going on, not much has changed in the past month or so. It’s in a useable state now though, and I’m so happy in there. So, I figured I’d give you guys a look at it so far, and the process that got it there.
The chapel started out as an upstairs storage room off of what was the servant’s quarters in our 1920-built home. It had shiplap. And a chin up bar.
And this great cathedral ceiling. The first time we toured the house, the husband and I just knew this room needed to be a chapel.
During the major renovations on the house before we moved in, we had a period stained glass window and light fixture installed. The window features St. Anne and Mary and was from a church in England. I found it on eBay. The light fixture was from a local architectural salvage.
I liked the shiplap, and I thought at first that I’d stain it all. But I couldn’t find a color I liked. And after a lot of different tries, I went in a completely different direction . . .
Whitewash! I never would have thought I’d want to cover the natural wood color. But the woodgrain still shows through and it’s so cool and calming. It’s 100% right for the room.
But it was messy.
My first decorative painting project was the center beam of the ceiling, which I stenciled with the traditional shield symbols of the twelve apostles.
I designed and created every stencil I used in the chapel using Picmonkey and this Cricut cutting machine. The designs are cut into adhesive vinyl, then I apply, paint, and remove them.
Next up was the ceiling, which is covered in Bible quotes in English and Latin, and small medallions featuring saint and traditional Catholic symbols. You can see the vinyl stencils here.
For the two tone blue and gold look, I painted the stencils in gold first, then went back with a detail brush and added blue to the edges of the letters, then removed the stencils.
Then I painted the side walls blue, a couple shades lighter than the blue in the ceiling quotes.
Then I had to decide what to do with the floor. We had a new plywood subfloor professionally installed, back when they put in the window and light. I briefly considered tiling the floor, but I really wanted to do the work in there myself (or make my kids do it) and I don’t think cutting and installing tile is in my skill set. The original pine board floors which are in what used to be the servants’ quarters but are now the husband and my room would have been painted when the house was new. So I decided to paint the chapel floor, as a nod to that, and because I know how to paint.
Except I guess I don’t, because I primed it with wall paint, which you are definitely NOT supposed to do. It took 45 minutes to prime the floor, and two days of sanding to get it back off. Here’s me just sitting there smiling before I knew I’d have to sand it all back off.
After TONS of research into two part epoxies and Los Angeles paint-related air quality regulations, I just decided to go with good old porch and floor paint from Sherwin Williams. It’s only been down a couple months, but it’s held up very well to a lot of foot traffic.
Next, I blew up this crucifixion scene from an 1899 Missale Romanum into an eight piece stencil for the back wall.
And then created a chi rho and fleur de lis pattern stencil (this one wasn’t adhesive) because the rest of the wall looked pretty bare all of a sudden.
This is the altar wall. I’m planning to use two of these prop doors (from when our house was in an episode of the TV show Justified) to create a triptych wall featuring some art, but it’s not finished yet.
The paintings are Madonna and Child by Marianne Stokes, and Christ with the Reed by Ary Scheffer
My dad did these pews for me. They were under my friend Micaela’s parents’ porch! He split, repaired, and stained them, and then whitewashed them because I didn’t like the stain. Then I stenciled the floor with medallions of all of our family’s patron saints.
And layed down some catechism between the pews. The left side of the chapel features the mysteries of the rosary.
The right side has the Sacraments, the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, and the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy. It’s my attempt to recreate a little of the beautiful way that medieval churches taught the faithful through tile, paint, and stained glass.
This stunning standing crucifix was a gift to our family from the very kind people at Holyart.com. You can find it here. Both the cross and the corpus are hand carved wood. The detail is breathtaking.
The chapel is not done yet. I want to add more elements to the floor, and finish the altar wall, and there’s a closet at the entryway that I still need to decide what to do with. We haven’t had it blessed yet (not since the whole house was blessed) or had a Mass said in it. But we are finally able to use it as we’ve envisioned would be it’s usual function, as a place for private prayer and quiet reflection inside a very full and noisy house.
If you’ve got twelve minutes, you can watch the whole thing unfold in timelapse. According to the app I used, it was about 600 hours of recording time, over about two months.
Hey, speaking of time (how’s THAT for a professional segue?) only two more days to grab the the Catholic Mom Bundle this season. It’s full of lovely Advent (and other) resources, all created by Catholic Moms for Catholic Moms.*
*You don’t have to be a mom to use this bundle.
There are twenty digital items worth $246, offered for only $25, but only through November 16th.
My contribution to the bundle is an At Home Nativity Play Script booklet. And I’m offering an Advent Wreath Prayers booklet and a Christmas Novena booklet as a free bonus gift for anyone who orders the bundle through my affiliate link (for which I receive a commission). Just forward or screenshot your order confirmation to me at [email protected] and I’ll send you the other two pdfs. Now you’re getting 22 resources!
Okay, so, the chapel . . . what do you think? What else do you think it needs in there once I get going on it again?
Hi! I’m Kendra. I’m a Catholic wife and mother of many, from little to teenaged. I also dabble in teaching, reading, writing, cooking, baking, sewing, crafting, party planning, graphic design, home remodeling, and watching Netflix streaming. This blog is a place for me to share how we live.
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