Comfort, Safety and Dignity in New Owen Sound Hospice


Tour the new residential hospice for palliative care for Grey & Bruce Counties.

A version of this article originally appeared in the Fall 2017 issue of  OUR HOMES Grey & Bruce Counties, p.76. Find local businesses in our Grey Bruce directory.

Comfort, safety and dignity. These three simple yet powerful words were and continue to be the pillars used in both the design and function of Chapman House Residential Hospice of Grey Bruce in Owen Sound. They characterize the foundation of the palliative care facility.
Grant Diemert, of G.M. Diemert Architect Inc. designed the 18,700 sq. ft. hospice to emulate a residential experience as much as possible, under general contractor JP Commercial Contractors Inc.
“The building was built without government funding, relying solely on donations from our community," says Wendy Bye, the project’s interior decorator. "We took ideas from others, but we wanted to make sure our ideas worked best with our space, our community and our residents.” Chapman House was named for the family behind Canada’s largest independent ice-cream maker, which generously donated $1 million towards the project. 

G.M. Diemert Architect Inc.

Neale Kemp, Project Coordinator

Wendy Bye, Interior Decorator

Owen Sound 
Artists’ Co-op


Benedict Electrical

Bluewater Construction & Landscaping Ltd.

Bruce Telecom

Clemore Masonry

Concept Signs & Marketing


Country Charm

Creative Blinds

CRS Contractors Rental Supply

Décor Design

DJ Peat Roofing & Sheet Metal Ltd.

Everest Trees

Exquisite Wood Designs

Extreme Linings and Coatings

Foto Art

Freiburger Communications

GM BluePlan Engineering

Gas Plus

Grey Bruce Coatings & Insulation Ltd.

Grey-Bruce Construction Limited

Grey Bruce Drywall

Grey Bruce Line Spraying & Lot Maintenance

Grey Bruce Paint and Décor

Grey Bruce Sod Supply Limited

Harold Sutherland Construction Ltd.

Heartwood Home

Hewett & Milne Ltd.

The Home Depot Owen Sound

Inside Ideas

John Thompson Movers


JP Commercial Contractors

Krueger Custom Steel & Machining

Locking Business Furnishings

Living Lighting

Macdonald’s BrandSource Home Furnishings

MacDonnell Excavating

Meaford Factory Outlet

Miller’s Home Hardware Building Centre

Nedlaw Living Walls

Owen Sound Ledgerock Limited

Redmond’s Tree Service

RF King Excavating

Shouldice Designer Stone

Spec Furniture

The Miller Group

The Old Barn Polished Stone Creations

Troy Life & Fire Safety Ltd.

Van Dolder’s Custom Exteriors

Van Dolder’s Kitchen and Bath

Westside Nurseries & Greenhouses Ltd.

“This particular property presented the opportunity to orient the building to the winter solstice,” Diemert explains. The vestibule – the first point on the axis – reveals a curved donor wall that leads to the main hall. “The architecture actually reflects a journey, if you care to interpret it that way," he adds. Significant spaces and functions occur along the central axis: the protective canopy at the exterior vehicle crossing, the entrance vestibule, the kitchen within a double height space lit with clerestory windows, a skylight feature, the nursing station, an empty niche and finally, the family room with its culminating box bay window.”
A journey through the building’s corridors channels one back and forth across the axis to spaces such as the residential rooms or the quiet rooms where families can gather.
Bye’s vision saw that people could find tranquility in the kitchen with its beautiful floor-to-ceiling living wall that functions as a bio-filter. As with many homes, the kitchen is where people congregate and it was the designer’s hope this space is one where strangers come together and find comfort in one another while at the hospice and in the difficult days ahead.
Wide, angled corridors filtered by natural light, lead to the first of the nine resident rooms (only eight of which are funded).
Bye decorated each residential suite to provide the comforts of home for those staying in their final days. Each bed is adorned with a beautiful, handcrafted quilt. The colours on the walls are calming in nature and every detail, big and small reflects that calmness. Floating shelves allow space for each resident to display special memorabilia and precious photographs. Each room has soft, dimmable lighting. Roll out patio doors allow residents to be outside and take in the beauty of the hospice’s surroundings. Each suite is a separate bedroom that accommodates loved ones with closet space and storage to hang their personal belongings. “We wanted to make the space feel as comfortable as possible for families too,” says Bye. “It’s their experience that they carry forward.”
The Quiet Room, the Family Room and the Kids’ Room are each special spaces where families can gather and gain a sense of normality during a time far from it.