2019 Southeast Designers & Architect of the Year

We are excited to announce our President and Principal Architect, Chris Reebals, has been selected as a finalist in the Southeast Designers and Architect of the Year Awards (SEDY).

Congratulations Chris! This is the third consecutive year that his talents and hard work have been recognized and nominated. Presented by ADAC and VERANDA, this award recognizes exceptionally talented architects and designers across the southeast. The winners will be honored during DESIGN ADAC, a three-day event “honoring the fusing of art forms with the practicality of function to create a new world of finely-crafted products and projects for home and hospitality.” The SEDY awards ceremony will take place Thursday, April 25th. Thank you to the esteemed judges, Bunny Williams, Roger Seifter, and Steele Marcoux for recognizing Chris’s work.

“These awards are held in high regard by the design community because the people and firms submitting know that the judges are highly qualified to appreciate and understand the work before them. Across the board, the quality of work from throughout the region stood out because it reflected a definite evolution of design in the Southeast. There was graciousness, elegance and a reverence for history and tradition in abundance, but there was also tremendous diversity in how those quintessentially Southern elements were executed.”
Katie Miner, General Manager of ADAC

We’ve Moved! A New Christopher Office

Exciting things are happening at Christopher Architecture & Interiors, and we wanted to share the news with you!

To accommodate our firm’s growth, CAI has moved into a new office located in the heart of the historic Highland Park area. Conveniently located between the rapidly expanding amenities of downtown and the communities over the mountain,  we are excited to be a part of Birmingham’s thriving community.

The property was completely renovated, transforming an abandoned building into a timeless and inspirational office space.  Large, open studio spaces were created to allow natural light into the center of the building and provide a greater connection to the various outdoor environments developed on the site. It’s always a joy to design the places where we spend a vast amount of time. We have thoroughly enjoyed the process and look forward to sharing more about the space with you in the coming months. 

Please update your records with the new address below. Our email, website and telephone numbers will remain the same.

Please direct all mail and deliveries to our new address:           

Christopher Architecture & Interiors
2601 Highland Avenue S
Birmingham, AL 35205

FEATURE: Our Modern Farmhouse is presented on ArchDaily

We are excited to have our Modern Farmhouse design featured on ArchDaily, a website that consistently educates and inspires us. It’s an honor to be included in “architects’ main source for tools, information, and design inspiration.”

Read the full article here.

Choosing a Countertop Material

As in all design, you want your kitchen counters to be beautiful and functional.

Here, our vice president and director of interiors, Joanna Goodman, explores five hard-working and attractive materials she has incorporated into several elegant designs.

1. Soapstone

Soapstone is a natural stone, like granite, that is quarried. It is ideal for kitchen countertops for a number of reasons. It is heat resistant; you can use Clorox and other cleaners on its surface; and even though it can scratch, you can treat it easily with mineral oil to restore it to its natural state.

2. Marble

Marble has become a popular choice in recent years and remains the top choice for many homeowners.  You can specify that the marble have a honed or polished finish, and seal it after installation to protect against stains. We typically prefer a honed finish in the kitchen because an acidic kitchen liquid like lemon juice or vinegar will etch a polished marble and leave a dull, whitish mark. If someone spills red wine on a honed marble countertop, rubbing half a lemon on the stain in a timely manner will remove it. As long as you choose carefully, know what to expect, and care for white marble countertops, they can be a beautiful, functional choice for your kitchen design that lasts a lifetime.

It is available in varying thickness:

 5 cm thick marble slab
5 cm thick marble slab
 3 cm thick Carrara marble
3 cm thick Carrara marble

3. Quartzite

This is a white quartzite from Brazil that resembles the Italian Calacatta marbles in appearance, but is much harder and more durable. It can be used for kitchen countertops without having the scratching and etching issues experienced with marble. 

4. Onyx

If you are looking for a unique and rare option, onyx could be an option for you. It is available in a variety of colors and the “veining” adds contrasting colors to make these slabs look like a piece of art. For even more appeal, try backlit onyx, which has a wonderful glow that can create a wow factor.

5. Fantasy Brown

Fantasy Brown is what we like to call a “combo stone.” It is a combination of a wide variety of different mineral compositions that blur the lines of marble, granite and even quartzite. This particular stone is defined by the movement and waves of the earthy pastels swirling together, evoking images of a beach landscape. 

Using different types of materials in the same kitchen is acceptable. Below are two different kitchens. In the first, we used Olive Green Limestone around the perimeter and Bianco Rhino Marble on the island. In the second, we featured Calcutta Gold Marble on the sixteen foot long island and used soapstone around the perimeter. 

Qualified designers will help you navigate selections that are both functional and aesthetically appropriate for your lifestyle.

BEST OF CAI: Room for Your Thoughts

They are the places where our days begin and end, not to mention the almost incalculable time in between.

Well, truthfully, a quick Google search told us that in a woman’s lifetime, she’ll spend the equivalent of one year, seven months, and 15 days in the bathroom, just a month longer than her male counterpart. That’s quite a chunk of time in such a small domestic space. It’s not a room that draws people in to gather and connect, rather it’s often the place that offers a moment alone with our thoughts, or some brief and necessary peace and quiet.

So we’ve decided to pay attention to the bathroom; to make them beautiful, to acknowledge their importance and potential. Some boast smooth marble, some are sparkling white, some are warm and woody. They all surpass the needs they meet and offer beauty too. We are often recognized for our attention to interior design detail and are included in home features such Dering Hall.

Here are some of our favorite bathrooms:

The Way Good Architecture Feels

“In so many of the places you normally find yourself, it feels as if you’ve put on a cheap suit with your pants twisted one way and your jacket the other, and you are trying to walk a straight line. But when things are right, and you are in an architecture that is strong and receiving of you, you are home safe and free…. Good architecture requires whole vision, expert timing, and sensitive placement.”

— Bobby McAlpine of McAlpine House

Sometimes the desire to design in contrast rather than in context can be hindering. If we design in contrast, in an effort to stand out and create something notable, we run the risk of its uniqueness contributing only chaos instead of insight or reflection of the current society or the personalities of the occupants.

Properly addressed contextual considerations like time, space, and people will reduce chaos if not eliminate it. The heavy-hitter for our firm in this line-up is people. We ask ourselves questions like, “What are the occupants’ traditions? What are their perceptions? What are their needs?” These are not questions we ask and answer once, of course. We are continually asking them, answering them, and then asking again.

Architecturally interesting and compelling window treatment we are
saving in our renovation of this mid-century office space.

Residentially speaking, this contextual element is obviously necessary. However, is it less-necessary in commercial architecture? We don’t think so. We are currently constructing a new office space for CAI in Birmingham, and as with every project, we want to know what the occupants will need. What will make their professional lives better, more efficient, more beautiful, more inspiring?

Contextual design that fits well and feels right is a non-negotiable for CAI.

Want to see more of our commercial projects?

BEST OF CAI: Julia Child

“If You’re Afraid of Butter, Use Cream” — Julia Child

You know all the kitchen-type cliches: it’s the heart of the home; kiss the cook; never trust a skinny chef, etc. Truly, the kitchen is where a lot of magic can happen in tangible and ethereal ways, and there’s plenty to be said about them. Maybe it’s the room that has the most potential to turn a house into a home – so we’ve gathered some of our favorite kitchen designs here for you. One of our designs was featured by Style Blueprint.

Painted by hand

Our Lofts on 15th development received a special signage treatment as part of the exterior scheme renovation. Local sign painting company Skidmore Signs paints each sign by hand the old fashioned way. Sometimes the old fashioned way is still the best, it creates an authentic feel.

FEATURE: Our french estate renovation makes the Birmingham Magazine

One of our favorite renovations was featured in a Birmingham Magazine article.  The program called for the renovation of a tired, mid-century ranch house into a robust, modern home that effortlessly interacts with its traditional context. Click here to read the full article.