Historic Glenelg church sees new life as an interior design showroom and office

For Howard Magazine
How an interior designer reincarnated a Glenelg church:

Howard County folks once worshiped at the 1889 church whose neo-Gothic steeple overlooks the fork of two Glenelg roads. The former Providence United Methodist Church later became Tatiana, a go-to place for unique and beautiful pottery. Today, renovated, restored and redecorated, the structure’s new identity is Homewood Interiors, where designer Stacia Smith plies her trade.

Smith is no stranger to historic buildings. She and husband Gary lived in a 15th-century thatched-roof house outside of Oxford, England, and now reside in an 18th-century home in Ellicott City.

But even for one with experience and connections in the field, turning the building into a home for her business wasn’t quick or easy. The “labor of love” was a down-and-dirty 20 months.

Architect John Lehman of Highland, well-versed in issues of vintage properties, saw to removal of partitions, the pottery kiln and a 1970s addition.

Smith wanted “green” features such as a geothermal heating and cooling system, energy-saving windows to replace originals while retaining their arched shapes, and original floors too damaged for current use to remain as a subfloor beneath a surface of reclaimed wood. Old stained glass couldn’t be restored but was replaced with quatrefoils in Homewood Interiors’ blue and cream hues.

A new wing perpendicular to the church axis serves as a design studio and offices. A truss-and-beam ceiling structure in a natural tone is topped by a stunning 8-foot glass dome providing natural light.

“Stacia has a real flair for putting old and new together,” says Lehman. “The addition is respectful to the Gothic design, bowing to the original structure.”

Theatrical lighting in industrial style is juxtaposed with retained ecclesiastical motifs, while a computer projects Homewood’s logo or another image on a sanctuary/showroom wall.

Old Providence cemetery backs up to a new deck, whose irregular shape, in a little architectural whimsy, matches the shadow cast by the building at a certain point in the summer.

Sanctuary-showroom furnishings recently included an elegant silvery canopy bed Smith describes as “fit for a princess or a royal couple,” a “mouth” bowl that goes with, if not on, business director Susan Cowley’s “eyes and nose” desk, a Sgt. Pepper throw pillow and assorted canine pieces perhaps honoring Bonnie, Smith’s dog.

“The place always had a good feeling,” says Smith, who first saw “her” (the church)shortly after moving here 21 years ago, “but I think she’s happier now.”

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Homewood Interiors

4290 Triadelphia Road, Glenelg
Open by appointment only.