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Architectural background

Our project people

The reproduction artwork and decorative finishes in the St. Catherine Chapel was produced by Wallflowers of Marblehead. Bernice Hartnett, proprietor and master finisher, has been working with oil paints and glaze formulas since 1979.   Her background in historic paint methods has included training with Day Studios based in Los Angeles, and studying with the renowned Ina Brosseau Marx.  Her work with Charles James of Rocky Mountain Painting Company lead to assisting and teaching classes on glazing and faux finishes throughout the country.  Bernice and her Wallflowers have traveled to Palm Beach, New York City and the Hamptons, Denver, Watch Hill and Phoenix when her expertise has been called upon to enhance the interiors of fine residences and commercial spaces. Assistant painter, Alicia Irick Cohen, received a BFA in 1984 from Moore College of Art.  In addition to her work with Bernice, she paints murals in homes and businesses as well as works of art. Her most recent series of paintings includes portraits of her favorite patron saints, using friends as models.

Views of Wallflowers finishes can be seen at, and Alicia’s artwork can be found at

Watching the seed germ take root

Here listed below are the prevalent drivers that guided the discussions as they progressed.

1.  Chapel program, orientation and circulation: dealing with what was existing.  Shifting the wall, Part 1. Achieving the grandest possible volume and eliminating pre-existing extraneous features. Working with existing parts, especially the structural and very present ornate columns.

2.  Architectural character and materials: gleaning what transposing remnants would aptly fit into the new chapel plan coming from the closed church. Archways, beautiful woodwork, stained glass, pews, and other reminiscent features of significance — much to choose from and not only how to narrow it down, but how to actually do it!

3.  Style-wise, accenting an articulated style that would provide constructive contrast, one that wouldn’t clash with Saint Mary’s.                 Additionally, to orchestrate an overall and hierarchical melody for which each of the desired components would fit nicely within. (Given that from the initial proposal, we weren’t sure what all was going to be incorporated)

4.  Phasing, revising for code and permitting compliancy.  Shifting the wall, Part II.  Rusty on board and getting the ball rolling … the same goals, different materials and now a sense of installment time — changes to control cost and windows of opportunity to build – the pre-school out for the summer, etc.  Finalizing the design and scheduling construction. Also, key features, approaching the dome, niches, accessibility, and all code-compliant requirements and anything and everything else along the way.

5.  The delicate touch:  special affects — finishes, lighting, and sound, etc. Input from experts and special advocates; the generosity          of the participants, capitalizing on unanticipated opportunities and the truly committed involvement of all. Honing the general scheme into something better!

6.  Remaining objectives (esp. those yet financed). New exterior stained glass windows and the additional inclusions over time to-do list.