Lisa Lynn Knight is a successful interior designer and owner of Lisa Lynn Knight Designs. But it was a house outside her normal scope that really highlighted her professional portfolio. Lisa designed a Kosair Kids playhouse for a young boy named Vance, which was designed, built and decorated especially for him as a therapy aid. Vance has Norrie disease, which is a rare genetic disorder that has rendered him completely blind in both eyes. The disease also causes hearing impairment, developmental delays, mental challenges and behavior abnormalities. Though she donated all of her services and products to this project, it turns out that the real gift was from Vance, who taught Lisa so much about a sacred sense of space. Today, we’re thrilled to introduce you to Lisa, our FACES of Louisville feature, and the home she created for her special new friend Vance.
Tell us about the Kosair Kids playhouse that you recently designed. Who was it for and what are some details about it?
The child’s name is Vance, he is 4 years old and he was born blind. He has a disease called Norrie disease, a genetic disorder in male children. He will eventually go deaf, and his developmental delays will get worse as he ages. The playhouse for Vance was baseball-themed. He is a huge baseball fan, and loves to listen to the games. All the finishes in the house were based off that idea.
Vance’s parents wanted to introduce him to multiple textures in his playhouse. Since feeling is seeing for him, our hope was that he would learn much more by providing him various textures in the playhouse. This idea was applied in the large main room, where we carried the textures onto the floor material and walls. The main room housed tile and hardwood on the floor, giving him two different types of textures. The tile will be cool to the touch, and he will be able to run his hands across the tile and feel how each tile is joined together. The hardwood flooring also allows him to touch the planks and feel the grooves and textures in the wood. We also put a brick wall in this room, which allowed him to feel the rough surface and mortar joints. In the ball pit room, we had rubber flooring in the actual ball pit, including up the walls, and carpet on the floor outside of the ball pit. This gave him even more textures to explore.
This room also held his sensory table, which was such a very important element added to his playhouse. The sensory table was custom built just for Vance. This table is used for Vance to feel and play with endless textured items, as well as develop motor skills, for instance, scooping items with a cup and pouring them back onto the sensory table. We provided bins filled with corn, rice, beans, Play-Doh and sand, just to name a few. This table can ultimately be used for anything that his parents want to introduce to Vance. We also added a sensory wall that has various objects and knobs, such as chain locks, slide locks, doorknobs and water handles, which allows him to develop important motor skills that he will encounter on a daily basis in life. This wall was by far the most important component of the playhouse, not only for learning, but also because this is how Vance sees things. We also added a therapy cuddle swing, which hangs from the ceiling and cuddles you, emulating being held securely around your entire body. It has a calming and comforting effect that is very therapeutic to children with his condition.
What is your favorite part about this particular job?
Meeting Vance and his parents. Vance is sweet and kind and loving and needed our help, and it felt great to provide this for him.
Saying goodbye to Vance.
Who are your mentors and what advice do you treasure?
God is my mentor. And the advice I treasure is to stay faithful, work hard and give back, and He will guide you.
Give us a peek at your agenda. What’s a typical day or week like for you?
Staff meetings on Mondays, followed by meetings with my designers on their projects. Every day, I meet with clients, work on projects, check invoices, buy furnishings, check sales, create new ideas for business, think of how to improve our business, deal with issues, network, check orders, paperwork, etc.
Fill in the blank. “You’ll never see me without my ___.”
Jewelry and my cheaters
Where can we find you hanging out around town?
Bonefish, or my hearth room and screened porch
What’s your bucket list travel destination?
Traveling the coast of Maine, Hawaii, Germany, Paris and Australia
What’s your favorite thing to do in Louisville?
I love having my children come home, cooking at home for my family, hanging out with good friends or spending time with my husband. And I love the track and theater.
What are your favorite local restaurants?
What’s on your personal reading list right now?
The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch
Lightning round! Give us your:
- Candy or junk food splurge: McDonald’s french fries
- Guilty pleasure song: “Brick House” by the Commodores
- Tearjerker movie pick: Love Story
- Standby nail polish color: French manicure
- Cartoon alter-ego: Wonder Woman
Thank you, Lisa, for letting us in on your amazing experience working with Vance and Kosair Kids.
As always, much gratitude to our FACES photographer, Adele Reding, for her fantastic work. Visit her website at adeleredingphotography.com.