Connecticut Stone Case Study: St. Thomas More Church

Recently, Connecticut Stone had the incredible opportunity to work alongside Rick Zini of Doyle Coffin Architecture, Martany Tile, Father Paul Murphy (Pastor), and Building Committee Chairman/Project Director, Robert Gartelman to renovate and restore St. Thomas More Church in Darien, Connecticut. Over several months, we were able to help the church create its vision by reconstructing and restoring various parts of the existing building — all in time for the church’s scheduled consecration.

More About St. Thomas More Church

Built in 1972 and dedicated in 1973, St. Thomas More Church needed a major overhaul. Because a large portion of the barn-like structure was built on wetlands, a total rebuild was out of the question. Initially, there was also a very limited budget for this project. It was determined that the most cost-effective and practical option would be to redesign and remodel. Ultimately, the church was able to raise $6 million to fund this project.

Connecticut Stone’s Role

The church and its building team reached out to our team at Connecticut Stone because of our long-standing reputation for quality stonework. The church was also looking for a stone professional with the proper knowledge, experience, and resources to properly engineer and restore various pieces from the original building.

One of the most significant undertakings for our team at Connecticut Stone was to restore a marble altar that was rescued from a church in Philadelphia being sold. This altar was initially built in 1930 and required extensive work that involved shipping the pieces to Connecticut Stone for mosaic restoration. Donated initially in memory of Edward d’Invilliers, an alumnus of the University of Pennsylvania, this remarkable altar cost $2,375 in 1930. The team at Connecticut Stone appreciated the opportunity to breathe new life into this historical piece.

Meanwhile, Connecticut Stone was also tasked with restoring and constructing various marble, including an ambo, baptismal font, various statue bases, and flooring. We also fabricated a remarkable 21’ tall custom arch in beautiful Taj Mahal quartzite that adorns the altar.

Unique Challenges and Solutions

There were many challenges unique to this project, starting with the fact that each piece that needed to be restored or constructed was 100% customized to suit the client’s needs. The scheduling for this project was also a challenge because the church was set to be consecrated by a specific date; as a result, individual pieces needed to be done and brought to the church in time for the blessing.

Ultimately, our experience in restoration work and custom stone projects made it possible to meet these tight deadlines while working alongside our industry partners. We were also able to coordinate with the architect and installer to ensure that everything would be finished in a timely manner before the scheduled consecration of the church itself.

The End Result

Once the restoration work was done on St. Thomas More Church, the church had its insurance company come through and were informed that the restoration work done on the building was priceless. We were also told that the marble altar would not have been salvageable without the knowledge and experience that our professionals brought to the table. Our team at Connecticut Stone is proud to have been a part of this one-of-a-kind project; we have thoroughly enjoyed seeing this building transform into a thriving church that continues serving its community today.

Check out more photos from this renovation here.