St. James Catholic Church – Restoration

Louisville, Kentucky


The beautiful St. James Catholic Church in Louisville, Kentucky, was designed by prominent church architect, James J. Gaffney in 1912 and originally decorated by the Conrad Schmitt Studios in 1927. To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the parish, the congregation wished to restore the ornate decorative scheme that had been previously painted over.


Because Conrad Schmitt Studios was involved in the original decoration of the church in 1927, the research into the original colors and patterns began in their extensive library of project files. The file yielded the original contract and black and white photos that became the blueprint for the restoration.

Restoring the scheme with historic accuracy meant that the artists needed to gather additional facts. A comprehensive investigative study determined the original decorative elements and colors used in the 1927 scheme, including 26 paint colors, 7 glaze colors, 3 types of metal leaf, a faux mosaic dome ceiling and extensive trompe l’oeil stencils.

After the investigation, Studio artists proceeded with the creation of an onsite decorative sample. This sample helped to propel a fund raising campaign that allowed the parish to make the transformation of the interior a reality.

The project was completed in seven months, allowing the parish to celebrate their 100th anniversary in the glory and tradition of their original worship space.

Conrad Schmitt Studios has also enhanced the Blessed Sacrament Chapel and Tabernacle of St. James Catholic Church in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin with Leptat® etched glass installations and a hand carved crucifix.

Moberly Photography


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