SAINT JOHN– A Saint John funeral home has a new lease on life (sorry, couldn’t resist that bad pun) after undergoing an expansion and redesign with help from the local designer.
Fundy Funeral Home, located on Westmorland Road on the city’s east side, recently underwent big renovations and expansion to give the funeral home both more space and more modern amenities.
“I started here back in 2000, and when I first started, we were serving 80 families. Last year, we served over 400,” says Paul Daigle, managing director of Fund Funeral Home.
“The need was there to grow for our community, for our families that we served to have more space. We need more space for receptions, for visitations, more washrooms. We just needed more space to keep providing service for our families.”
“We wanted to have a very modern funeral home, something that’s not the norm. When people think of funeral homes, they’ve maybe had a different perception of what we are right now,” says Daigle. “But I want to look forward to the next 30 years of funeral service. I’ve been to Tuck Studio many times. I like Judith’s design and I thought she would be the best person for the design of the funeral home.”
The funeral home’s foyer, chapel, reception, salon rooms, and offices all got a major facelift. For Mackin, Fundy Funeral Home was a type of client she never had before.
“It’s one thing to design a restaurant or someone’s home, but then it’s an entirely different thing taking a place and making it comfortable, comforting and current for the next 20 years,” she says.
“I had to be very thoughtful and I also had to put my own fears in-check and approach it in a professional way.”
Mackin brought clean lines, local art, modern furniture and colours that would stand the test of time. Mackin said she wanted to move away from the typical “heavy” decor and textiles often seen at funeral home, but still provide a nice and comfortable atmosphere.
“I think what we’ve all seen was this overabundance of fabric, busy carpets, overdetermined in terms of decorative objects in funeral homes,” she says.
“I felt like in many ways we needed to strip it down to be more ethereal, so that when people bring flowers in or when people bring in photographs of their loved ones, it wasn’t competing with the carpet and the chandeliers and the busy wallpaper. It was about pairing the space down so that we could focus on the loved one that has passed away.”
Check out some before and after photos below:
See more photos and read more details of the redesign here.
Daigle says the funeral home’s new look has gotten lots of positive comments.
“It’s so warm and welcoming, but it’s bright. It doesn’t feel dark,” he says. “I’ve heard many comments from families coming in how beautiful it is and it doesn’t feel like a funeral home. It doesn’t feel sad when you come into this place.”
Like any other business, Daigle says Fundy Funeral Home wants to adapt and grow with both industry technology and the people they serve. Their latest expansion and renovations reflect that.
“I know for my generation and for the generations coming behind us, the millennials, they want more technology. They want new innovative ideas even when it comes to funeral service,” he says.
“We’ve created a memory wall in every one of our parlors and our reception rooms so families can display their videos and photos they have. We can live stream funerals from our chapel. We can record funerals. We just want to stay on top of anything that’s possible for funeral service.”