St. Joseph Catholic Church

Bowling Green, Kentucky

Built in 1889, during the height of the Gothic revival period in America, the original decoration of St. Joseph Catholic Church featured polychrome stenciling, murals, and gold accents. Over the years, the ornate decoration in the church was lost, overpainted many times during various repair and restoration campaigns. In 2020, when it came time to perform significant repairs to the brickwork, plaster, and flooring, the church commissioned Conrad Schmitt Studios, Inc. to design a new interior sympathetic to the original.

CSS designers worked closely with the client to develop a scheme honoring the historic decoration and the elegant architecture. The design focuses on attention to detail, worthy of the building’s listing on the National Register of Historic Places. Lilly stencils at the ceiling were remembered fondly by parishioners and traces of the original designs were discovered under layers of paint. Historic photographs also provided clues to stencil patterns and colors. Replication of these elements contributes to the authentic historic character of the interior. Polychrome accents at walls and ceilings give the space a warm, elegant feeling, in harmony with the architectural style of the church.  The original Stations of the Cross, imported from Germany, were also restored during the project and an inspirational mural was added to the sanctuary ceiling, drawing the eye forward and upward, to the Glory of God.

Finished Photo

Finished Interior


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