Twin Cities Rectory Gets a Face Lift

Twin Cities Rectory Gets a Face Lift

Archimea Interior Design Services is the interior design branch of Suntide Commercial Realty in St. Paul. Most of Archimea’s clients are office, retail, and industrial businesses located throughout the Twin Cities. However occasionally Archimea gets a unique, specialty client such as a school or a church.

This was the case with a project Archimea completed last year for St. Mary of the Lake, a Catholic church in Plymouth. The church’s priest had recently retired, and a new priest had recently moved into the church’s on-site rectory. He wanted to update the rectory for the next generation.

Dark, Narrow & Out of Date

The church’s rectory had been built in the 1960s, and it was clear that it had not been updated since then. The hallways were covered in dark wood paneling and heavy, ornate frames. The kitchen had busy floral wallpaper and a mismatched oriental rug. The adjacent dining room, where the priests would share their meals, was crowded with bulky, old-fashioned furniture.

Each of the priests had their own suite which was basically a bedroom and an office. Many of the suites came with jarring colors, low grade carpet, and heavy wooden desks designed before the era of computers.

The Vision

Archimea met with Father Phil and listened to what he wanted to accomplish. Father Phil hoped to attract new talent by offering a living space that was cleaner, brighter, and featured more modern amenities. 

Archimea designers took a tour and garnered inspiration from the church’s sanctuary with some of the warmer hues found in paneling and stain glass windows.

Brighter, Spacious & Community-Focused

The process started with removing all of the rectory’s old wall coverings, carpeting, and fixtures.

The walls between the kitchen and dining room were removed to create one big communal space. A breakfast island was installed in the middle where the priests could enjoy casual dining and exchange ideas.

Next, Archimea applied a softer paint palette. The main overall color was a warm grey with four alternating accents: eggshell, tangerine, sky blue, and pale violet. Fixtures such as quartz countertops and vanity tops were added throughout to finish the look.

Lastly, an over-sized, dramatic lighting fixture was installed at the top of the staircase landing. This was a central location that was visible from both the first and second floors. In this way, all the tenants could enjoy the three-dimensional light and aesthetic it created. 

Archimea re-used as much existing material as possible – both for sustainability purposes but also to pay tribute to the church’s rich history. Many of the cabinets were removed, refurbished, and then reinstalled in creative ways. A dark wood finish that emulated the original was chosen as an accent wall in one of the living quarters. And lastly, Father Gill, instead of buying all new furniture, reached out to his congregation for donations of chairs, end tables, and décor that matched the space’s new look. 

Looking Forward

The new space is brighter, spacious, and updated for the 21st century. Several recurring priests have already visited the rectory and are amazed by the before and after transformation.

“I think the takeaway is that interior design is a partnership between the client and the artist,” says Vicki Kotsonas, Director of Design at Archimea. “How will this space be used? How can we modernize the space for the appropriate audience? What existing elements can we re-use or re-purpose in order to fit the customer’s budget? I think all of these questions are integral to the design process.”

Brenda Stock, Archimea’s Senior Interior Designer, agrees. “Father Gil was very happy. The new space offers all these great communal spaces that they didn’t have before. I think they will be very, very happy for many years to come.”

If you are looking for a remodel or renovation for your office, retail, or industrial space, you can contact Archimea at 952-854-5206 or visit