The H.J. Holtz & Son team believes that every structure, no matter what its use or purpose, deserves to be cared for and painted well. So when officials from Richmond’s Cathedral of the Sacred Heart called with a significant painting and restoration need, it was easy to say “Yes.” 

The company recently repainted theMhistoric church’s choir loft, a commanding space that overlooks the sanctuary below. Soon, a new organ from Canada-based Juget-Sinclair Organbuilders of Montreal  will be installed, and the church wanted the space to be ready.

“We learned a lesson” years ago, after flaking ceiling paint threatened to damage the pipes of another Juget-Sinclair organ at the front of the church, says John Marike, the church’s facilities manager. To remedy that problem, the organ manufacturer added fine wire mesh coverings to the pipe openings.

Seeking to avoid a similar post-installation fix for the new organ at the rear of the sanctuary, church administration hired H.J. Holtz & Son following a competitive bid process. Using a framework constructed by Scaffolding Solutions to reach every inch of the curved ceiling – which peaks 34 feet above the balcony floor – up to five Holtz team members could work at the same time. The team repainted the loft’s plaster walls and ceiling, and also repainted the wood of the choir loft railing, banisters and half the wall paneling.

Selecting colors for the choir loft was a critical element of the job, as they needed to match the remainder of the sanctuary, which will be repainted in the future, Marike says. The Cathedral of the Sacred Heart is more than 100 years old; it’s recognized as a Virginia Historic Landmark and is on the National Register of Historic Places. With an Italian Renaissance Revival style, the cathedral’s interior is impressively ornate. Its soaring ceiling has many architectural elements for visual interest – rosettes, scrolls, faux mirrors, etc. And there are multiple paint colors, including a shiny faux gold leaf, for added impact. 

“The Holtz team’s attention to detail was great,” Marike says. “The colors were so hard to match, and they really worked hard to get them right.”

Marike credits the team’s determination to stay on schedule, even with interruptions for regular midday church services and funerals that naturally occur without much warning.

“Even with interruptions, they still managed to finish ahead of schedule,” he says.

Next up on the schedule: the new organ!