Glowing results

The timing of our fundraising over the last 8 months enabled us to work on the main floor in phases separating the vestibule from the main hall. Work on the foyer is almost complete and it became a mini research trial for the main space. Products were tested on the floors, walls, windows, trim, ceiling and closets. And when the most effective product was determined, we applied it to the vestibule. For the most part we’ll use the same products again in the main hall. The wall paint is unique because Annie Sloan didn’t have a color close to the gold Lion Heart we chose. The British Company’s paint will be used in the main hall as a result of 19 Carter winning an international contest celebrating their 25 years in business. (See blog last fall). Our prize was enough paint to cover the walls plus some Annie Sloan chalk paint for the new built in cabinets.

Ronnie Owen, Paul Mikelk and Seth Asser painted the entryways, the walls and the ceiling. Even without lights, the room glows with sunlight reflected off the gorgeous walls. And the dark trim and wainscoting make a beautiful contrast with warm refurbished wood. We discovered a great wood restoration product that enhances the finish of the dark wood trim and wainscoting (once cleaned) without the efforts of stripping and re-staining.  We love products that save time and money so we’ll be using the same product on the wood in the main hall. We’re thrilled with the look and feel of the entrance, we think it reflects the warmth and welcome of our volunteers and portrays 19 Carter as a friendly community space!

Coming next doors for rooms and closets.


Well, it’s been a couple months since our last blog, but work has been continuing at 19 Carter.  In fact so much has been accomplished we expect to open the entire building later this summer. Historically this blog has been both a communication tool, and a written chronicle of the work done at 19 Carter. So the next several blogs will continue outlining work done to date, in order, it’s just not as timely as past writings.

The fundraising drive to raise enough monies to open the building was successful- garnering $85,000 in 8 months. In fact we still have a donor willing to match an additional $10,000 raised so those funds will be applied to some exterior projects. Thank you to all our generous donors.

Tom Doerr spent mid-April working on the back of the building/the addition resourcefully adding some storage space around the stairwell. In addition he completed all the finish and trim work around the custom windows as well as adding baseboards to finish the walls.  The complex work of completing the area around the accessible lift required some creative woodworking.  There can be no flat surfaces around the lift that people might be tempted to put coffee cups or other items on. This space must be kept clear so nothing falls into the mechanisms potentially jamming the lift. To accomplish this, we took the wall cap to Lloyds Woodworking in Hudson to specialty grind the surface with a triangular (not flat edge). The paint colors chosen for the lift area reflect the external colors of the building since the lift is situated next to the building’s original exterior. We love the deep reds/oranges and golds that light this space so beautifully painted by Paul Mikelk and Ronnie Owens.

Coming soon, the windows are completed and installed.


Window World

It seems like we’re always blogging about the windows; but they are integral to the architecture and the soul of the building. On the main floor there are 12 original windows each with 8 rectangular panes and three angle cut panes. So the task of stripping and then restoring the windows is painstaking. This winter restoration was completed on four of the old windows; they were painted and hung in their original places on the west side (facing Carter Street). The sash cords were re-roped and re-weighted so the windows slide up easily.


In addition to the four main windows, there is a large round window within the peak of the building. Steve Huntley restored it. He braced the circular cuts of wood with metal plates, filled the cracks with epoxy and then cleaned and painted the wood. The colored plexi-glass was a mystery since the building pre-dated its invention. Local historian and board member June Miller did some investigating. Jane Sawyer’s cousin Brian Guy said that the plexi-glass was installed during the re painting of the old church in 1976 – as part of America’s Bicentennial celebration.


So the mystery is solved, the west side windows are all refurbished and replaced; and work has resumed on the remaining glass and frames. We’re looking forward to throwing open the windows and welcoming spring, just like we welcome those who visit 19 Carter


A model of progress

floatrenovationA few weeks ago we were contemplating a way to visually represent our fundraising drive to finish the renovation. A standard thermometer displaying the results seemed dull. Simultaneously, the person that houses some of our stuff in her barn called to say she needed the space. So we would need to find a new home for the replica of the old church, our float from Berlin’s Bicentennial Parade in 2012. Kismet! We’d use the parade model as a way to track the success of our appeal.

Then we called Shirley Woodward to figure out how. Shirley is a friend of 19 Carter and a graphic artist with over 30 years of conceptual design experience. A graduate of New England School of Art & Design at Suffolk University, she and her husband Jim also own Exhibit Logic, a design and graphics company in Berlin. Her experience in three-dimensional design made her the perfect creative force for this challenge. She conceptualized a clever way to represent the tower of the 19 Carter model as a symbol of fundraising progress (like a tower-shaped thermometer).

Don Davis caulked to make the piece weatherproof, and Mi Parker and Laura Bogart painted the parade float the same colors as the actual building. Then Shirley donated more of her time, spending days painting the words and numbers of the appeal onto the piece. In addition, she created a 3-D flag that was attached to a metal piece from the building’s original tower. Now our re-purposed parade model is the perfect visual aid for tracking our fundraising progress. Click here to donate and be part of the success. Thanks to Shirley Woodward, and kismet!

Windows of opportunity

Don, Joe, Mi and Dorothy prepare to glaze a pane

Don, Joe, Mi and Dorothy prepare to glaze a pane

One of the magical things about 19 Carter is the light. And it is beautiful light, because on the main floor there are 12 historic windows, each with 11 panes of glass. The two windows on the east side were beautifully reconditioned 18 months ago by Steve Huntley (see blog entry here). We installed custom storm windows over the exterior of the ten remaining window openings, which allowed us to remove and refurbish the old window sashes.

Over the past months the window work has become a microcosm of the entire renovation project. We consulted restoration expert Christopher Crane who worked with volunteers to develop an ordered, multiple-step window overhaul protocol. This allows helpers with differing degrees of experience and expertise to work on the old windows. The large crew includes: Steve Huntley, Don Davis, Steven Read, Marty Miller, Dorothy Eisenhaure, Joe Iandiorio, Bob Barker and Mi Park. Following the protocol, multiple people can work on the project on different days and times, all with the same quality result. The group is priming and painting the frames and mullions that were previously prepped, as well as re-installing the glass. Most of the original antique glass panes were salvaged, and some smaller panes were re-cut by Don Davis. He estimates that there will be enough original glass to replace all 44 panes in the four west-facing windows in the front of the building, as well as all 33 panes in the 3 south-facing windows.

And this is why the windows are a great example of the community involvement and eclectic talent required to renovate this old church. There are opportunities large and small to help with time and talent; and we’re committed to optimizing the skills of every volunteer. Everyone can participate in the magic and bask in the light of 19 Carter.

Prepped windows await priming last summer

Prepped windows await priming last summer

painted-exteriorFall is here, and 19 Carter is bursting with all the best colors of the season. We started painting the building’s exterior in the Fall of 2014, and now the entire structure has (at least) one coat of fresh, vibrant color. We love the four new hues; Butterscotch Sundae, Country Redwood, Beverly Hills Yellow and a custom blend we call Persimmon.


Ronnie Owens

The work was done exclusively by one individual, Ronnie Owens. We were introduced through our construction supervisor Paul Mikelk when local painters couldn’t fit us into their schedule. Ronnie has been painting for decades and embodies the patience and skill needed when using four colors on a building. The effort is demanding, detail oriented and –we believe– worthwhile.


Although more work is needed to complete the exterior, the outside of the building now projects the same bright appearance as the open, interior lower level. We believe this fresh, happy image positively impacts all of Berlin Center. And like the town of Berlin, 19 Carter is open and welcome to all visitors. Stop by.

anniesloan25contestwinner19 Carter was recently chosen as a winner of an international contest and will receive free paint from the British company Annie Sloan Interiors Ltd. Annie Sloan created her own brand of decorative paint (called Chalk Paint®) twenty-five years ago. The company’s #25 Project contest was formed to celebrate that anniversary. Her products are exclusively available through a network of over 1,500 independent stockists located in over 40 countries around the world. The local distributor, Sally Barker, owner of Berlin’s Counting Sheep Antiques, nominated 19 Carter, and we were chosen as one of 25 winners among 300 buildings around the globe.

Ms. Sloan wrote about the winning contestants in her blog: “Each one is completely diverse in its use and size, however the one thread they all have in common, from the kids creche in South Africa to the specialised dementia center in The Netherlands, is that they are an absolutely vital part of their communities.” We’re proud to be recognized us as an integral part of Berlin and surrounding towns, fulfilling our mission as a new kind of community place for families, teens and seniors to meet, gather and play.mainhall

The volunteers at 19 Carter are now focused on completing the renovations on the main floor, and the donated paints will expedite this phase. After collaborating with Counting Sheep Antiques, we have already chosen the paint colors for both the tin ceiling and walls.

Remaining work to complete this floor includes painting, plus restoring the historic woodwork and windows, and installing heating units and an accessible lift. The generosity of Annie Sloan Chalk Paints® and Counting Sheep Antiques is a wonderful addition to the hundreds of businesses that have supported the renovation of 19 Carter.