Note: Our "art walls" were featured at Apartment Therapy on September 20, 2011!
A few months after Oliver was born, we "renovated" our place. We made some huge changes (gave Stella her own room) and some that can't be seen by the naked eye (we rid ourselves of about a third of our belongings, which felt great!).
One of the things I was most proud of in the work we did was to turn an interstitial space at the corner of a hallway into a really lively area, where the kids can draw on a huge blackboard and where we can nicely display Stella's artwork.
After we finished the blackboard wall, we started to wonder if we'd made a mistake. Were we teaching our young son that it was okay to draw on the walls? Bad move, right?
Actually, it turned out fine. It took us repeating "only on the black wall!" over and over for a few months, but there have been no incidents of writing on furniture or other walls because of this chalkboard. This extends in a way to childproofing. I am a big stickler about covering outlets. That's my biggest fear, having grown up with a best friend who almost severed her fingers on one hand by sticking a bobby pin in a socket. But giant lamp teetering perilously on a tall stool? Hasn't been a problem. Let the children pick their battles. If you let them lead, you'll know what you need to childproof and what you can just give a warning or two or ten about. Oliver shows no interest in stove knobs, but if the dishwasher is open he's all over it. He loves to put small "choke-ables" in his mouth, still, but won't try to open any of our drawers or cabinets. It's a crapshoot, really.
I love to see the kids using the "black wall". Oliver has been scratching away on something to the right side of these photos for a long time, and only recently started standing on books to draw higher up. What an imp.