Our Amish friends remade it with Cypress wood. It’s quite a work of art on its own. But wait, there’s more. But just a tease…
This is only a tease, and I’ll explain more later, but I couldn’t NOT share this with you! I’m so excited I do think I actually squealed when I saw it. I don’t believe the church ever had stained glass before, and it’s not our intention to turn it into Sainte-Chapelle, but this is so delicious and perfect that my heart pitter-patters. It makes everything seem real. The Church will be a place of art, beauty, and window to God’s Unimaginable Greatness.
It’s time to address the ceiling of the Church. Like any self-respecting church, it has a high ceiling made of wood and hard to reach. It’s old, stained, and has been the home of many a spider and fly over the years.
So our initial job is to prime it with Kilz. As its name implies, Kilz will kill the stains, cover old odors and even roll over any spider nests still hanging around.
So let’s get to it. It’s cold outside in February, but the Geothermal heating system keeps us toasty inside.
The problem is the space. It’s kind of cramped up in the “attic.”
It was bound to happen.
You’re bound to raise your head….
Premature white hair. Oh well, as long as I’m not alone!
We did manage to get some paint on the ceiling, and we were pleased with the results.
Mike went to work on the wall around the quatrefoil window. Big improvement!
OK, enough wordplay with Kilz! Time to call it quits.
The light was starting to dwindle, though the daylight lingered more than it did a month ago. Spring is coming. For me, spring means a lot of busy weekends either at church or school in SE Michigan, so it may be a while before I get back to this project.
I’ve been in the habit of bolting out of school on fridays and driving north. I say goodbye to the Astronomy Club kids, hop in the car and drive two hours in the waning but magnificent burnt orange sunlight ’til I make my way to Grindstone Corners! I get to the church with some pent up energy and literally run around like a kid.
Mike arrives after me, since he has to stay later at his job. So on this particular day, I got to see it first.
See the new drywall, of course!
What does it look like? Well, I knew that Mike’s jaw would drop when he saw, so I had the camera ready when he arrived.
Let me indulge myself by showing you a happy person!
So I don’t have any nice, Pinterest-worthy photos of what new drywall looks like, but here’s what I do have:
Wayne and son came back on Saturday to do some mudding. It was the cutest thing; Wayne up on the scaffold slapping down drywall mud, and son pushing the scaffold along!
Before you know it, the team had finished up, and we had walls!
Stucco-finish paint next. Color choice will be an intense decision. Stay tuned!
I’m going to be showing a lot of pictures of progress. Progress is not always pretty. But it is exciting, and the fact that these pictures show giant steps in the progress of White Church Gallery is extra-exciting, if such a state of being exists.
Some things that were never meant to be seen by the general public are actually quite pretty. Women’s underwear can be very fancy, and I’ve seen shiny engines under the hood of a car that should be hanging on the wall as art.
The church’s underwear-engine is the spray foam. But it’s not all that pretty. It’s more like flannel underwear than silk.
You could see daylight through some of the planks.
So we had it spray foamed. Here’s a messy before and after…
But the Church is as snug as a bug in a rug! No breezes blowing through the walls now! No weird smells coming from the ancient wood. It just feels different in here!
So what is spray foam? Why not the old school pink fiberglass? Here’s what I got from Wikipedia:
It’s got a higher R-value than most other insulators. That means it’s cozier, comfier, and just better. To me it looks like a cake that was frosted! To cold air it looks like a inpenetrable blanket.
The next layer on the cake is the drywall. I’ve been asked why we got rid of the old plaster and lathe, and why we didn’t replace it with the same.We got rid of the old plaster because we really needed to insulate the church, and spray foaming was the way to go. So the plaster had to go, so that the spray foam could get where it needed to go.
We are trying to do this project right. The Church was built with loving hands over 100 years ago, and it has lasted this long, even though it fell into disuse (and possibly misuse) in the meantime. We’d like it to last at least another 100, long after we’re gone. We put a new roof on to prevent further decay. We added an economical and earth-friendly heating/cooling system, Geothermal. [Spoiler alert] We put in a septic system! And someday the Church will have water! (and with water and septic come a bathroom!) So we are spending the money and effort now to make sure the Church will survive into the next century.
As far as what we’ll replace it with, it’s an economical and aesthetic matter. We’re using drywall, but we will be using a paint that has a stucco finish, so it will actually retain some of the look of the original plaster, without being as heavy and expensive as plaster and lathe.
So, it’s a work in progress, a little messy at times, but we’re always working toward making it better!
The walls have come tumblin’ down. But not without a lot of coaxing, urging, and back breaking labor!
First step: prep. I spent a day solo moving all the furniture and tools into two aisles so that the walls were clear. I felt very empowered after the move.The place was a mess, as you see.
Step two: start ripping out plaster and lathe. Scaffolding set up, tools assembled. Masks on, ready, set, go!
Here’s the “time lapse” of the wall coming down.
Third step: down in the trenches, shoveling plaster and lathe, taking it out to the dumpster, and back for more.
One wall down, three to go. That’s enough for one weekend…
Step four: Time for some eats and drinks! Step it up, Captain Barbeque!
So what’s going on at the Church this season? After the heating/cooling system went in, we had to huddle down, replenish the coffers, and plan the next step. After much thought and prayer, it became clear that we need more…space! Yes, the church is big and beautiful, but when we take out the plaster, insulate the walls and replace them, the church will have to be emptied. Where will we put everything? Where will we have work space? Where?
In the new addition! Yes, an addition. That’s the plan.
Commence the scraping!
So the landscape around the church is a little shaggy right now. But it’s in the name of progress. The side yard is still feeling the effects of having Geothermal pipes installed deep into it.
But what about the church? Remember our beautiful antique glass windows?
We don’t want them to fall out, so we are going to take them out, one by one, and strip and reglaze them. There are 10 big windows, plus the one over the door, plus the secret special quatrefoil window behind the white cross in the red circle.
Whew let’s get started!
They are in pretty rough shape, especially the ones facing the weather- westward.
It was our first window, and we knew it was a matter of time before the first pane got broken. But who would do it, and how would it happen? The tension was thick.
Finally, one of us heard a sickening crrrackkkk and it was done. Chipping away at the hardened brittle glazing didn’t do it, but putting pressure on the glass with your knuckles will crack it.
At least the worst was over. We resigned ourselves to the fact that we couldn’t make an omelet without cracking a little glass, and moved on with our lives.
Thanks to some advice and tools from Grindstone Corners very own Paul Fisher, proprietor of the newly opened, highly successful Rybaks Ice Cream Store, I used a heat gun on the glazing and paint which softened it enough to allow gentler scraping and chipping.
So I chipped away at the glazing, Mike worked with the sander. Sanding worked wonders, as well!
It’s possible, but I bet they took them out when they moved the building in the early 1900s.
It took a fair share of effort to get the glass out of the windows, and I didn’t even want to try with the little diamond shaped top piece – it was way too intricate and delicate, but once the others were out, and with only that one breakage, we all drew a sigh of relief. It will take time and effort, but we can do it! The windows can come back to life!
While we are waiting for time to replenish our coffers and our energy, we did a little window shopping. Bay City was our mall, and Antiques were our eye candy.
Want! And also…
Want badly! Loads of gorgeous tile. But where would it ever fit? What would we do with it? We pondered and had great discourse on the subject, with no resolution other than, “If it’s meant to be, it will be.”
But we did put some money down on a great, and needed purchase.
Miles and miles of counters. Glass counters, with glass shelves and mirrors, and it’s LIT. In great shape. A little 80’s for my taste, but imagine the burgundy base covered in a rich wood and lovely rich fabric covers inside the cases. And imagine it in the Church! Yes!
Meanwhile, back at the Church, things were beginning to be a little oppressive. Too much stuff. How will we have room for the new stuff if we have all this old stuff?
So we went on a Arma-get-your-clean-on. It’s a continual battle, and it required the rental of a storage space, but so be it.
We both know our tendency towards clutter, and awareness is the first step towards fixing it, but shopping with your eyes isn’t quite as much fun as shopping with your paycheck. However, when the paycheck has already gone into heat, and light, and buying storage space for things already purchased with the paycheck, the reality of the vicious cycle hits you in the face. We can and will do better!
So we have been turning our eyes inward. I have been making a new rug, and Mike has been lovingly cleaning up his easel, in preparation for new work.
Everything is as it should be, and this is the time to be quiet, to listen for God’s voice, and to follow instructions. We aren’t in charge!
A drywall gun! This gift, along with an extremely generous gift card for the actual drywall, comes after a difficult decision to remove the plaster so we can insulate and replace with drywall. No one wants to see the old plaster go, but the walls need insulation. The Geothermal can’t do ALL the work, we have to help as much as we can.
Another gift from Mom and Dad Meyers. A Pulpit. A gorgeous, loved pulpit from Ohio. They said they made a day trip to get it and had a great time doing it.
Thanks so much, Mom and Dad, for all your support and understanding and love through all the years. And your extravagant generosity. Another great Christmas!