I was asked to make the prayer room function better at our church. I would call it an anteroom, in the style of old Mennonite meetinghouses: a little room back of the pulpit used for various small purposes.
In this case, it's the site of the pre-service meeting, as well as part of the library and some service supplies like candles and baskets and drums. See? Various small purposes. It was cluttered with chairs and an overhead projector, as well as some things on the shelves that no one noticed because, as is the way of many spaces, everyone assumed someone else was the homemaker or caretaker. Unfortunately, I don't have a "before" photo.
To open up the space and allow for maximum flexible seating, I took out the clutter of chairs and put in three backless benches. I made some cushions for people that objected to hard benches. I straightened the shelves and re-homed some lost items.
All of this cost about $70 in materials when (I think I recall) my budget was $300. The benches were in a fascinating graveyard of church history up on a third floor. A fellow property commission member resized the one bench for me. I spread out a dropcloth in a Sunday school room and painted the benches (with trepidation for the carpet) over a week in Benjamin Moore's turmeric. I had to do it Monday to Saturday - luckily we live close to our church and luckily Phoebe could amuse herself by climbing over and under pews.
At first, the yellow looked dreadfully brassy and brazen and I had to force myself to finish. But when the benches were dry and placed in the prayer room, I was so relieved to see them warm and brighten the space, just like my vision.
For the cushion covers, I used pre-cut patches that were given to me a few years ago and backed them with red corduroy left from Phoebe's dress. The colors play together in such interesting ways - a little Amish here, a little somber there, a little clashing over there. A little brightness wherever a cushion roves in the room.
I also hung a wooden plaque in the prayer room with a quote by Menno Simons: "True evangelical faith cannot lile dormant. It clothes the naked, feeds the hungry, comforts the sorrowful, shelters the destitute, serves those that harm it, binds up that which is wounded; it has become all things to all people."
And we're all very happy with our little prayer room in its freshness.
Great job, really lovely!
Your benches and cushions could not be any BETTER!
How wonderful, Margo. I guess they knew who to ask!
You did such a great job! I don't remember our anterooms ever being quite so welcoming! ;) It where we always went for "council" before communion, and I remember how somber and quiet everyone was. I also love that quote by Menno Simons!
Darling. And I love that plaque. We need more reminders of that.
Very nice! When our youngest son got married almost 7 years ago there was a room like this where the entire wedding party and parents and grandparents were sequestered before the ceremony. It was full of cast offs such as rolls of carpet and cardboard boxes of misc junk. All the guys were perched on the rolls of carpet and the rest were squashed onto the few chairs in the room. What a difference it would have made to have a lovely room like yours to wait in that day.
Even without a Before picture it is clear you've worked wonders in making this multipurpose space much more inviting. I'll have to share this with my sister.
(I basically NEVER remember to take a Before picture.)
You've made what was utilitarian into something lovely and serene. The color of the benches is perfect, and I love the cushions. As we say in my family, 'It's a save!' :-)
The cushions remind me of stained glass windows.
What a beautiful job you did - the colours are wonderful.
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