St. Mary by the Sea
3,000sf church addition & remodel
In the fall of 2011, the parish of St. Mary by the Sea approached me to help them remodel the entryway to their church. The original building, built by hand 1926 with traditional mortise-and-tenon joinery, is a living testament to the original pioneers who first settled here nearly a century ago. In the intervening years, however, the lack of a bathroom or even a place to stand out of the rain after Mass had proved too much of an inconvenience for modern worshippers. A new addition filled these needs, and also presented an opportunity to renovate the dated carpeting and lighting from the 60s while bringing the entire structure up to modern accessibility standards.
We spent nearly five years working together to realize the project: visioning, planning, fundraising, filing land use appeals, coordinating with the archdiocese, and eventually constructing the project. Close coordination with the contractor, volunteer labor, and the local sawmill ensured that the new finishes and trim matched the hand-finished, old-growth fir of the original. Being one of only two Catholic churches in the world that opens right out onto the Pacific Ocean, it is exposed to howling winter storms, saltwater corrosion, flying debris, and other challenges that demanded special attention to engineering and detailing.
At all times, the work focused on respect for what came before, and lasting quality for the future. It was mentioned at a parish-wide meeting that “our forefathers built this church so that it would be there for future generations, for us. Now it is time for use to pick up that torch, and care for this church, so that it will still be there for generations to come.”