Athena Charis Interior Design

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Athena Charis Interior Design • • 925.683.0724

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Christ the King Catholic Church in Pleasant Hill, California is a vibrant community with an ever-flowing celebration of masses, baptisms, marriages and funerals. Finding time to shut down the church to give it a much-needed “facelift” is tricky, but best found in summer, when the high holy days are over.  How much time could be stolen away for the project? Four weeks.

Four weeks to remove and replace carpet, flooring, and pews and to repair/replace and repaint the walls and ceiling of this 10,000-square-foot iron and concrete marvel from 1979.

Respectful consideration was the guiding philosophy as we prepared numerous presentations for several church committees –– the administrative staff, the facilities committee and the environment


Designing public spaces can be a slippery slope with one unavoidable pitfall ––you can’t please everyone. Redesigning public spaces, in this particular case, a

30-year-old Catholic church, is like a walking down a

well-worn path full of sacred cows. And no matter how skillfully you maneuver down that path, you still can’t please everyone. But it is a challenge that can be rewarding if you approach the problem with respectful consideration, a cool head, and a gentle hand.

Designing for a House of God

The Church stripped of its pews and carpet is ready for its make-over.

Nine scissor-lifts performed an aerial ballet.

ministry. Our presentations reflected a plan designed by the aforementioned gentle hand, with no radical changes in the parishioners’ spiritual home of 30 years. No structural changes were proposed for the church; we simply introduced a new color palette,

re-assigning it to the existing architectural elements.

Coordinated colors, fabrics and materials were chosen for paint, pews, upholstery, flooring, carpet walls and ceilings were presented both traditionally/conventionally as well as with new methods, such as photoshop-style proposals. All done in hopes of having few surprises for all concerned as the project unfolded.

On June 14, 2009, one hour after the last Mass, the project began with the removal of the old pews, which were recycled, and the tear-out of the carpet, which was fully amortized. The clock began ticking on a countdown to a wedding scheduled for July 18.

Cool heads prevailed despite the usual unexpected surprises encountered during the project. Neither equipment failures, tradesman delays or past-due light bulb deliveries were able to stop this fast-moving train, which actually finished four days early.

Tim Manning is our resident artist and a church

parishioner. He spent three days restoring the

specialty paint finish of the sanctuary wall.

New church pews were assembled plank by plank.

The final result was well received by the majority of the parishioners, deemed refreshed in its appearance and warmer in its feel. In fact, most parishioners first felt the change before they saw it, which for us was a mission accomplished.

You may view a 5-minute video of this project on the next page. “Next Page” button is below.