Lexington’s Grace Episcopal repaints the old-fashioned way

Published: Nov. 23, 2021 at 5:42 PM EST
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LEXINGTON, Va. (WDBJ) - Grace Episcopal Church in Lexington is looking pretty good now with a new sanctuary and paint, but until the renovation ...

“It was a church that was very dingy,” said church member Pat Gibson.

Before all this work, the walls were an aging white.

“The 1930s, when the sanitary period is what they called it, and they painted with white paint,” Gibson, also the church’s historic paint consultant, explained.

It hid the original decorative trim work from the 1880s, hand-painted some 140 years ago.

Why not take it back, at least behind the altar?

“We’re saying, well, we’ll just fill in there,” Gibson remembered, “and so once you start just filling in there, like in a coloring book, you find you have to fill in more.”

And more, and more.

“So once they moved the organ, I went back there with my tools and started chipping and scraping the paint,” Gibson said, “and found it was a completely different border from what was on the side wall.”

The patterns’ colors have been carefully matched along with the stencil used to paint them, but it’s not that simple.

“And the hardest part about that is you have to wait for each section to dry,” according to Gibson, “because you could mess up the whole thing by moving it before it’s ready.”

But, difficult though it is, there’s still plenty of church to go.

“And we’ll go down the side walls. That’s the plan,” Gibson said.

And plenty of support for the work.

“And everyone who’s seen it just wants to do more,” said Gibson. “So we’ll see where it goes.”

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