UMCH Babies First: Building Hope Through Family

Melissa Anderson

Marketing Coordinator

April 15, 2020

The United Methodist Children’s Home has been offering hope since 1986 by transforming the lives of hundreds of vulnerable mothers and young children by providing them with safe, loving, and nurturing environments. UMCH is using the “power of family” to build hope one community at a time.

UMCH hired TURNERBATSON to design a new home in Mobile, Alabama, for Babies First, a residential facility for young mothers and their babies. The 9,600 square foot “home” serves up to 10 mothers and their young children. It is designed to provide residents a chance at restoration and a glimpse of God’s unconditional love through a family environment. The girls have the chance to learn parenting skills while finishing their schooling and preparing themselves for their next steps in society.


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The design of the building is intended to reflect a gracious, timeless southern home with generous porches and a large open kitchen and den. The building and yard provide security for the families with living environments that are welcoming, bright, and practical. The house is presently under construction and is being built adjacent to an existing facility that will be demolished after completion in August of this year.


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The vision for the interior of the home is to create a safe, gracious haven for these girls with tall ceilings, durable, warm materials, and bright, clean colors. The layout includes large social areas, playrooms, and private bedrooms with bathrooms for the families. Child safety is a key factor when designing the interior, insuring corners will be rounded, finishes will be long-lasting and stain resistant, and window treatments will be secure.


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Personal cubbies, car seat storage, study nooks, and specialty furnishings will add a sense of functionality for the families. The soft, cheerful color palette will help to reinforce feelings of calmness and safety.


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The L-shaped footprint of the building is such that it will make up two sides of the secure outdoor play areas. Both bedroom wings will be positioned so that they lead to a central activity room that opens up to a large covered porch running the length of the house.

TURNERBATSON’s design team includes Principal Dave Reese, Project Architect Wil Bradford, and Interior Designer Lillian Gray. “I am extremely fortunate that I was offered the opportunity to work on this project,” said Lillian Gray. “It is an honor to partner with UMCH in making an impact on these girls’ lives and their future. This is an experience that I will always remember.”

Special thanks to the amazing team from UMCH and General Contractor MAXUS Construction. We are grateful to be a part of such an impactful project.