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Tuesday, March 5, 2024

‘A Place for Respite’

Ziemer Funeral Home gets an updated look

Ziemer Funeral Home had two goals in mind when renovating its East Side location: functionality, and a soothing sense of style.

“A comfortable gathering place — a home,” is how Operations Director Jennifer Ziemer describes it.

The Ziemers worked with designer David Oldham-Heidenreich of Elements Interior Architecture to carry out their vision. He proposed a mid-century modern design, abstract art, soft lighting, and flexible spaces with several options for families to gather.

Jennifer and Daniel Ziemer

Ultimately, the design professional was allowed to take the wheel. That was the correct move, the Ziemers say, because he captured the calming, tasteful vibe the family wanted.

The property at 800 S. Hebron Ave. hosts about half of Ziemer Funeral Home’s services, with the remaining half split between two locations on North First Avenue. The interior had been untouched since the 1980s, and it showed its age.

Jennifer’s husband, Daniel, co-owns the business with his father, Jerry. The Ziemers were referred to Oldham-Heidenreich by Evansville real estate agent and property owner Stacy Stevens.

Oldham-Heidenreich was surprised to hear from the Ziemers because he had never worked on a funeral home project before. He was intrigued and told the Ziemers to be prepared “because I promise it won’t look like a funeral home when I’m done.”

With a color combination of Sherwin-Williams’s Tin Lizzie gray and cornflower blue with amber accents, the design’s touches include comfortable seating, soft lighting with attractive fixtures, and the ability to host meals or even bar service if a family chooses.

The previous look, according to Oldham-Heidenreich, felt too ornate.

“I said the Queen of England isn’t coming here for a funeral, so why are we decorating for that?” Oldham-Heidenreich says.

David Oldham-Heidenreich of Elements Interior Architecture

The updates, he says, invoke “comfort, healing, everyone being welcome, a place for respite.”

“One of my prime goals was to create a space for all people that lent itself to a wide variety of religious expression or not,” he adds.

Now, he’s tasked with weaving a similar redesign plan, with slightly different color schemes, at the company’s other two locations.

The job he did at the Hebron Avenue location will be tough to top. The Ziemers say it’s an environment where a family can mourn while having a celebration of life.

“It’s a little more modern, a little more sophisticated,” Daniel says. “I wanted it to be like walking into a nice hotel — it can become almost a cocktail party where people can tell stories.”

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Maggie Valenti
Maggie Valenti
Maggie Valenti joined Tucker Publishing Group in September 2022 as a staff writer. She graduated from Gettysburg College in 2020 with a bachelors degree in English. A Connecticut native, Maggie has ridden horses for 15 years and has hunt seat competition experience on the East Coast.

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