This House Is a Lifeline

A showhouse supporting adoption is a perfect fit for the Waltchack family.

Photography by Leslee Mitchell

On a beautiful, family-sized lot in Vestavia, a special renovation has been under way.

For Derek and Rushton Waltchack, the house they purchased in 2008 held many special and warm memories. But the growing family needed more room and the opportunity to re-imagine the house was very exciting.

Plus the renovation provided an opportunity to support a charity that is very close to the heart of the Waltchacks. Derek and Rushton have adopted three of their six children and have been very supportive of Lifeline Children’s Services, an organization that focuses on assisting families with international adoption in all 50 states, each of the US territories and with U.S. citizens living abroad. Lifeline focuses on adoption, family restoration, orphaned children, and counseling and education.

The Waltchacks have utilized the services of LIfeline themselves. “Lifeline has helped us with our adoption of Mei Sims (8), Colley (6) and Mimi (6). The people at Lifeline have become like members of our own family. And we can’t say enough good things about their work and their dedication to children around the world,” Derek says.

“As for adoption, it was one of the best decisions our family has made,” he says. “I can’t imagine life without all of my kids. One of the things I was worried about, pre-adoption, was would I love them like my biological kids. I think that’s a very common concern. But the love does come and it burns bright and strong. It’s rooted in the choice  we made—we chose these girls—and we saw where they came from. If anyone is ever thinking about adoption, I’m happy to talk, just give me a call.”

The Waltchacks’ need for a home renovation and their support of Lifeline came together with Christopher Architecture & Interiors to create a showhouse that raised money for Lifeline and left the Waltchacks with the house they really loved and needed. Narnia Construction was the general contractor.

“The old house was a 3/2 and we have 6 kids, so we had always planned on a redo when the time was right,” Derek says.

Chris Reebals is the principal of Christopher Architecture & Interiors. “We started the conversation with the Waltchacks because I have had a long time relationship with them. I’ve known Derek probably for 25 years. The house that existed on the corner was very special to them,” Reebals says. “They like the location primarily, but with six children and a growing family, it was just in need of an update and attention. I think the first concept was about three years ago, but the construction was about 15 months. We basically tore it down piece by piece.

“We spent time contemplating designs and ideas and concepts before we finally, through multiple kind of schematic phases, decided on this particular design,” Reebals says.

Madeline Hoisington was the lead architect on this project. “We like to have an eclectic approach. I know that Derek and Rushton were more interested in a farmhouse-esque element, because it went with the fun vibe that they wanted to have in their house. But you know, as you can see, we have a more traditional front elevation, but that’s juxtaposed with this back elevation that’s very modern steel and glass. So it is just a mix of elements,” Hoisington says.

Lydia Smith was the lead interior designer on the project. “In talking with Rushton, I think the thing that she kept on bringing up to me was they wanted the house to be fun, to be livable and be a comfortable place. One thing we decided to do was that we wanted to bring in lots of color through accessories, furniture and rugs, cabinet colors, things like that. But the majority of the walls in the house are white to keep it light, bright, open and airy. Rushton is actually an artist and so she had a lot of different things that we were able to pull in to the house, which gives it a very personal touch. We collaborated in that sense on what would work best for their family, using items, antique pieces and things like that that have been in their family for years and years,” Smith says.

This is the second time Christopher Architecture has organized a show house. They previously raised funds for pediatric cancer research.

“We raised over a quarter million dollars for that charity. Over the years of our relationship with the Waltchacks, we’ve seen their passion and heart for children. They’re really giving their heart to children and not just by bringing them a toy for Christmas, but truly opening up their home and inviting them into their family. That’s inspiring to me, and to all of our staff,” Reebal says.•

Show House Sponsors

Auburn Millwork


Barnett Furniture

Brandino Brass Co.

Central Alabama Insulation

Champion Electric

D & N Plumbing, Inc.

Environmental Design Studio

Falkner Gardens



Hinkle Roofing

Kingdom Woodworks

King’s House Rugs

MES, Inc.

Over the Mountain Glass

Skelton’s Heating & Air

Summer Classics/Gabby

Surface One

Triton Stone

White Gutter Company

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