In 2003, I was involved in a major remodel of St. Stephen’s Church in Belvedere, CA. I was chosen by Murray Construction to install doors and windows, build window walls to complete office spaces, install interior wall cladding in the form of clear vertical grain tongue and groove siding, and construct door jambs, window sills, and other finish details to complete a beautiful design.

The most challenging aspect of this job was the hanging of metal fire doors and large industrial doors on the kitchen spaces, as there was zero room for error. These were safety doors and couldn’t be modified from their original manufacturing after the fact. I love to get a challenge like this, as I get to learn how to do something new, oftentimes having to devise a way to accomplish the goal.

This was a large commercial remodel, under the direction of a project supervisor, and the crew all had to wear hard hats. It was my first time on a commercial job, and the freedom to get the job done at my own pace was nice.

The majority of the work was on the support building, not the sanctuary, but there were a few things that I got to contribute to the sanctuary after I had completed the other work that I had agreed to do. I worked quite a bit on the narthex, between the entrance doors (which I also hung) and the sanctuary itself, doing trim work on the finer details of panels and doors.

In the auxiliary building, I hung all of the doors and built the window walls for the office and classrooms. The elevator and kitchen door are also in this building. My favorite part of the job was hanging the siding inside of the meeting, or community room. It is an unusual shape: it goes from about 16’ tall in one corner, the adjacent corners are at about 12’ tall, and then the last corner (diagonal from the first, and tallest, corner) is about 8 feet tall. There are floor to ceiling windows, a fireplace, the kitchen opens into this space, and it is a large room – maybe 100’ by 35 or 40’. The t&g siding, hung vertically, covered all of the walls in this room, and the small hallway leading into it. The windows were trimmed out in clear redwood, and really looked great when they were complete.