A group of interior designers donned hard hats and carried clipboards to tour a house still under construction: the future home of the Matthews House Hospice (MHH) centre of excellence. As they went from room to room, they watched busy drywallers and listened to noisy drills. Scaffolding lined some walls and portable heaters took the chill from the air. What they saw around them was distinctly different from their mental images of finished rooms with furnishings and decorative touches. The interior design is being made possible by many designers volunteering their time and, some, donating furniture.
“This is awesome,” said Kim Ytsma, co-owner of the Home Hardware Building Centre at Alliston. “It’s a beautiful place. We find that when we do something like this, everyone benefits. We are going to donate the furniture and have lots of fun decorating the room together for the benefit of our community.”
As she surveyed the interior, she was excited about the opportunity of adding a little Home Hardware flair with the help of Samantha Forster, Home Hardware kitchen and bath designer.
“There are small touches that everyone likes to have around them,” she explained. “Doing this now may end up helping someone we know in the future. I think we all probably know someone who has been helped by hospice, and we may know someone who will benefit from this house.”
The MHH building committee agreed months ago to rally the support of the design community for the house and they are heartened by the response. The project is viewed as an opportunity for designers to collectively work to showcase their talents while giving an insight into how active they are in the community. And, it could serve as a catalyst for more good things to come.
Support has come in many forms, from pro-bono labour to items sold at cost as well as direct contributions from organizations and individuals. Professionals from many fields have been involved from the beginning, from building contractors, to landscapers, floral shops, plumbers, electricians and others.
“This is a huge community project,” said Kim Woodland, MHH CEO. “It’s a concept of people working together to achieve a common cause.”
The ten-bedroom home will offer one more option for hospice patients and family members. Plans include private patios for each resident as well as family and game rooms in the basement. A walk-in pantry includes a freezer so patients can store their favourite foods. The dining room was enlarged from the original blueprints to accommodate family groups who might want to plan a special celebration.
“This house is all about dignity and quality of life for our patients and families,” said Woodland. “That’s the hospice concept. Ensuring the quality of lives is what we do.”
The official groundbreaking was held in April 2017 and the groundswell of support has continued. Last summer, the Flato Development Group donated $150,000 that will be added to Ontario government funding, which is expected over the next three years.
To join the group of designers involved in the project, contact Andrea Roylance, gifts and gratitude manager, at 705-440-6755 or [email protected]
In the photo, several area interior designers discuss plans for the Matthews House Hospice at 131 Wellington St. E.