This Art-Obsessed Nursery Showcases a Fresh Take on the Chalkboard Wall

Much of the work of any interior designer is a work of art: selecting it, framing it, hanging it. But for Naika Andre, who was recently commissioned by an Athens, Georgia-based couple to design their son Garvey’s bedroom, he’s also encouraging it. “He had a few NFTs to sell,” André jokes…although it’s very likely that one day he will be. The almost 3-year-old is constantly working on new creations, usually on the surfaces of dry-erase or blackboards (then there’s the occasional piece of construction paper). Although Andre didn’t have to buy fancy gallery frames, the toddler’s space needed smart solutions to display and foster his artistic side. Ahead, the designer reveals how she turned a bedroom’s white box into a mini Picasso hideaway, while making the most of her old childhood furniture and decor.

living room Mobile

While a mobile is meant to serve as a distraction above a crib or changing table, it can live on as a sculptural display. André had two hangings to work on in Garvey’s old space: a knitted rocket versionwhich she hung flat against the end of the wall near the door, and a modern with delicately balanced abstract shapes, now attached to the top of her play tent. “People always think mobiles are for babies, but go to a museum and you’ll see them hanging everywhere. It’s a cool art installation,” says the designer.

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The navy rug has been with Garvey since his nursery days, mostly because it’s actually made up of individual tiles. Not only are they easy to move from room to room and house to house (they can be pulled apart, wrapped, and reinstalled with fresh adhesive), but they’re also easy to clean. “You can put a single square in the sink or the washing machine, instead of having to roll it all up and take it to the cleaners,” Andre points out.

The swivel chair was also a perfect transition piece. When Garvey was a kid, he could fall asleep in it. Today, it’s a place he can curl up for story time and, more importantly, unlike a traditional rocker, his solid base prevents accidental toe injuries.

State of the art

Because a young painter’s gallery is always on the move, Andre adopted a flexible system of two single wires with clips, so mom and dad could swap Garvey’s latest works on the fly. Then there is the live installation: the closet doors. Andre charged Gus Darnell of Oneta Woodworks with the making of new folding panels with chalkboard fronts so Garvey could draw and doodle all day. Darnell also created the special pencil-slash-brush holder that sits on top of the dresser, so he doesn’t have to rummage through a million bins to find his tools. An artist’s time is precious, after all.

Dora W. Clawson