Posted in materials on January 25, 2016 1:27 pm EST

Finishing Well

A look at problem-solving fittings and finishes right for church specification, from natural timber to motorized drapery to cleverly covered AVL gear, and more.

Veterans Chapel in Randolph, Vt., courtesy of Vermont Timber Works.











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TAGS: ff&e, interior design, materials, specification,


By Rachel Hayes

A defining characteristic of good design is its ability to solve problems. Another is whether or not it’s aesthetically pleasing, and accomplishing both in the design of houses of worship is dependent on far more than drawings and vision. The foundation those elements lay must be complemented by finishes and fittings that also seek to solve problems and bring beauty—as well as a certain element of uniqueness. Church Designer has gathered some of the newest and most innovative products and providers that meet the basics while remaining flexible and customizable to achieve the perfect fit and finishing touch.

Problem: Identifying sustainable building materials that convey warmth.

Solution: Achieving warmth, simplicity, and structural soundness through use of natural elements.

Vermont Timber Works’ Handcrafted Beams

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Christ Episcopal, Springfield, Mo., Vermont Timber Works

All of Vermont Timber Works’ frames are handcrafted to meet exact project requirements. Their work is represented in numerous churches, chapels, cathedrals, and monasteries and showcases the versatility but universal warmth of timber in design. Vermont Timber Works’ portfolio reportedly includes churches seeking a modern design with the rustic complement of rough-hewn beams, as well as more traditional churches desiring to replicate long-established sacred structures’ timber trusses. All of its timber is cut using solar power and the company takes pride in using the technology of today in junction with craftsmanship techniques passed down through generations. They work primarily in Douglas fir, cedar, hemlock, white pine and oak, but source and craft from other species. They also offer a variety of stains and textures.


Problem: Locating handcrafted sacred pieces worthy of a reverent environment.

Solution: Finding a reputable artisan source for new or replica artwork and restoration services.

Ferdinand Stuflesser Custom Carvings

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Bronze Holy Family, Ferdinand Stuflesser

Since 1875, the Stuflesser family has applied its talent and craft to the creation of beautiful hand-carved altars and other sacred pieces. A majority of the company’s work is focused in replicas of high altars made of wood, marble or bronze, and liturgical restorations of damaged woodwork and sculpture. However, they are highly sought for custom wood-carved or marble altars, lecterns and pulpits, and other interior church furnishings; bronze-cast and marble sculptures and statuaries; and more detailed Ecclesiastical pieces. Since all of Stuflesser’s work is custom, any detail or wish can be executed, the company reports, guaranteeing a unique piece. Stuflesser’s bronze pieces are also of note since bronze is ideal for casting artwork. The liquefied metal flows into all crevices of a mold, reproducing every detail of even the most delicately modeled sculpture, according to the company.


Problem: Finding a way to safety contain and hide AVL gear and cables in the worship space.

Solution: Facilitating the technology of worship in an optimal location without detracting from a worship space’s aesthetics.

HSA Inc.’s Rolltop Desks, Racks and Podiums

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Inspire Rolltop Custom, HSA Inc.

While a centrally located control booth is best for the technical side of worship, it poses some security and design problems. HSA rolltop desk and rack systems address both of these areas, the company reports. Customizable rolltops and racks bring together the user-operational electronic component part of the system design into an ergonomically appropriate arrangement that provides protection against dust, dirt and abuse. They also secure and camouflage the expensive and critically adjusted and programmed front-of-house system while organizing the assortment of mixing consoles, computers, monitors and cables into a neat and beautiful addition to the church’s worship space.

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