Chris is the Board President of Christopher Kids as well as President and Principal Architect of Christopher Architecture & Interiors. Chris and his team at CAI brainstormed for years how to best use their talents as architects and interior designers to serve children in need. Above all, the decided mission was simple: to serve children through design. We sat down with Chris and asked a few questions about the inspiration and purpose behind Christopher Kids, and why he is passionate about serving children through design.
Why do you especially want to help children who are disadvantaged, have a serious illness or some other challenge? Why is that meaningful for you?
I feel strongly that we should be compassionate towards the marginalized, oppressed and disadvantaged. Jesus commanded His followers to “…permit the children to come to me…” Mark 10:13-16. Of all in our society, few are overlooked more than children with significant life challenges whether infirmities, illnesses or impoverishment.
I have young children of my own and I often consider how it would make me feel if they were to suffer. It breaks my heart to imagine them growing up with such challenges. God has placed this mission on my heart and blessed me with a passion to help. I want to be a good steward of this passion and have witnessed the deep-rooted desire in the hearts of our team at Christopher Architecture & Interiors to use our gifts to help others. So many of our staff and team have young children which etches a deep compassion and provides a common thread within our office family.
How can design improve the quality of life for someone?
We strongly believe that providing meaningful spaces is a key contributor to quality of life and wellbeing. This axiom transcends generational barriers and is scientifically proven. For example, creating spaces which engage natural light can transform a child’s personality, happiness, and impact their health –
“Bright light boosts mood and concentration. It may help prevent disease, circadian rhythm disorders, and near-sightedness. And new research suggests that bright light has a crucial impact on the brain: It may foster the formation of new synapses, and enhance our ability to learn.” GWEN DEWAR, PH.D., [stated in Parenting Science.]
Why are hope, joy and imagination so important to kids -- especially those with illness or other challenges?
Hope is natural to how we are created and a crucial element to everyday life. Hope is often stolen from disadvantaged children and that loss exacerbates grief. When hope is lost, joy is lost as well. When hope is instilled, joy is reborn, and that rebirth goes hand-in-hand with imagination. Even as adults optimism is built on hope based in imagination.
Design can, and should, stimulate imagination and foster hope. When children look at a tree house, they envision what their souls need to see. Through Christopher Kids, we want to instill hope and joy through creativity to supply the hope, joy, and imagination these children deserve.
To learn more about our mission and how you can help, click here!
After many months of careful planning, Nolan’s dream basement has finally been revealed! This basement has been a meaningful journey for this family predating Christopher Kids. Christopher Kid Nolan was diagnosed with Leukemia on October 1, 2017; the week after his father, Stuart, decided to remodel the basement in their family home. As you might imagine, this project was put on hold to love and care for their son during this extremely difficult and worrisome time. Three years later, Nolan has started kindergarten and finished his last chemo treatments exactly three years later on October 1, 2020!
We first met with Nolan’s family in July and spoke about their hopes for their basement. Overall, the goal was to create a retreat where the family could enjoy together to create joyful and long-lasting memories together. After learning more about the family and their hopes for the space, we decided to create a craft area and living area with a hidden secret fort. Nolan and his little brother Sutton love to color and draw. Designing a space to create is right up our alley! We had a blast getting creative with the space to cultivate creativity and freedom. The style and aesthetic of the room was inspired by the boys’ favorite colors and was designed to be intentionally masculine yet youthful. We wanted to create a space that would be appropriate for the boys now, yet still transition practically when they grow up.
We were honored to bring this room to fruition for this family and are immensely grateful to each of our generous sponsors for making the space a reality! As a whole, this project was graciously sponsored by our friends at Brandino Brass. In the living area, the coffee table, end tables, area rug, and floor lamp were kindly sponsored by Gabby Décor. The art on the gallery wall are custom pieces by the talented Camilla Moss Designs. The two beautiful sofas were sponsored by At Home Furnishings in Homewood. The indigo step-ottoman, generously given by Fursatile, is perfect for safely reaching the very top of the chalkboard. The glass whiteboard is a huge hit and was donated by our friends at Over the Mountain Glass. The door for the secret fort, Nolan’s favorite part of the room, was donated by Murphy Door. The balloon to celebrate the big reveal was donated by our friends at Party Pickup. This project would not have been possible without the donated time and expertise of the volunteers from Narnia Construction and students at Auburn University Urban Studio. Each of these sponsors have been so kind and generous to devote their products and resources to this project. We are so thankful for each of their gifts!
We are incredibly honored to have completed this project. We hope Nolan and his family can celebrate the end of one chapter and the beginning of a new one. We have loved getting to know them and wish them all the best! We want to extend a special thanks to Nolan’s family, Brandino Brass, Gabby Décor, Camilla Moss Designs, At Home Furnishings, Fursatile, Over the Mountain Glass, Murphy Door, and Party Pickup. The future is bright for Christopher Kids
To help make more projects like Nolan’s, click here to donate!