Dewayne and Ann Cain, owners of Rest Haven Funeral Home and Memorial Park have always focused on helping their families honor their loved ones. As the demand for a more individualized ceremony changed the very definition of a traditional funeral, it also changed the standard design of a traditional funeral home facility.

They always say, “time changes things” but you actually have to change them yourself.” Andy Warhol

The Cain’s facility was designed by JST Architects more than 25 years ago and has met the needs of their growing business. But as the definition of “the funeral” has changed, so have the requirements of the building. Families are looking for a place to gather with friends and celebrate their loved one’s life, to have a bite to eat, a glass of wine, to reminisce and to relax.

Thus, began the transformation of Rest Haven from a funeral home to a place to “get comfortable”.

As we began the design process for the “get comfortable” facility, we took a new look at old standards. The 200-seat formal chapel became a place for remembering, reflecting and celebrating. Gone are the pews, brass chandeliers and flower walls. In their place are comfortable chairs to be arranged as the family chooses. The formal brass chandeliers are replaced with fixtures that you would find in a country club or a family room. And the flower wall is replaced by two flat screens for any digital presentation the family desires; including the ability to live stream the event around the world, as shown below.

Next to go was the infamous “chapel vestibule”, traditionally used for late comers and crying babies. With the separating wall removed, it is now destined to be best known for convenient seating with tables, refreshments and perhaps the best seat in the house!

Moving on to the sacred visitation lobby, wing back chairs, Queen Ann sofas and brass lamps were given to charity to make room for a custom high-top table to gather around. The renovation also includes a natural stone wall and carefree wood oak tile floors, just in case someone gets too comfortable. The seating is casual, flexible and can accommodate the families wishes. This area also includes a flat screen for video tributes, overflow viewing of the event, etc.

The staterooms were also included in the “get comfortable” mantra. The new furnishings and finishes are stain resistant, easy to clean, casual and relaxed. New brighter lighting completes the makeover, as shown in the picture to the right.

As you approach Rest Haven, you are welcomed with rocking chairs and beautiful potted plants on the front porch.

When you enter the foyer the stone wall and “funky” chairs tell you this is not your grandmother’s funeral home!

The arrangement areas to the foyer were also “relaxed” as a part of this process. The first design priority was to provide a handsome way to display products for sale. We provided lighted glass front cabinets to tastefully show case jewelry, urns, etc. Cozy chairs, bright lighting and fresh art complete the look.

Even the restrooms had to say “goodbye” to the nineties! Gone are the fluorescent lights and faux “marble” vanities. The new look has warm lighting, natural stone tops and inviting finishes, as shown in image below.

The whole process was spread out over six months to allow them to continue to operate and serve families. The result is a place that reflects the Cain’s mission to provide a comfortable place for their families to celebrate the lives of their loved ones. FBA

Rest Haven’s Chaplain, Rick Donaho’s prayer says it best:

Lord may your blessings be on the Gathering Place.

May it be filled with generous welcome for all who enter our door. Let The Gathering be a place brimming with warmth for our families and their friends. May it overflow with hospitality.

Let it be a place of safety for our families where they can cry, laugh and find comfort and joy in memories.

May we use it as a respite for refreshment for body and spirit.

Lord, make it a home for the time we serve each family seeking shelter from their grief.

And for us who serve, “Here am I Lord, send me.”

Bob Killingsworth joined J. Stuart Todd, Inc. in 1985 and served as the lead project architect and designer for the firm. He can be reached at 800-822-1925 or by e-mail at [email protected]