Our Family Wall
Updated: Feb 8, 2021
My husband and I have always had a family wall. While it has morphed over the last twenty-five years in two homes in two different states, the essence of it remains the same. It is our way to honor the family members we still have with us, as well as a way to remember those who are no longer with us, especially those we were lucky enough to know. Through the family wall, I hope that our son will feel like he "knows" more of our families than he will truly know.
The first image is the current incarnation of our family wall. The main folks we have always included in each version of the wall have been: our nuclear family, parents, siblings, aunts/uncles, nieces/nephews, grandparents, and great-grandparents, as well as a few great aunts that my husband and I actually were able to know when we were kids. We have always included our wedding invitation and baby pictures too, so you will see those for my husband and me, our son, and all four of our parents! This time around, we decided it would be fun to add our initials, as well as to honor our son's godparents with a photo taken at his baptism. Who you choose to include will be unique to your family and is what I enjoy most when I see family walls in other folks' homes.
When executing this project, the key for me was to keep the frames and images as consistent as possible. First, I determined the mix of frame sizes based on the relationships: our nuclear family is the largest at 11x14; our parents, son's godparents, and recent picture of my husband's family from a joint vacation are all 8x10; grandparents, aunts/uncles, nieces/nephews, and baby pictures are all 5x7; and all of those other folks we wanted to include are 4x6 images in five-image frames. This was my way of having different sizes to play with and also to make sure we were consistent across both families as far as who is in what size frame! Now, if you know me, you know that pretty much everything in my house that is in a frame, is in a black frame! I just think a simple, clean-lined, black frame almost always allows whatever is inside the frame to be the focus. Our family wall is no exception. I bought all the frames at the same time, from the same retailer (I miss you, Aaron Brothers!), and from the same frame collection. This ensured maximum consistency with the frames and an easier time figuring out the collage "puzzle" of how they should go up on the wall. (When buying the frames, I also tried to anticipate nieces/nephews who would likely one day have separate families of their own and bought a few extra frames in the correct size. And one of these "extras" has already gone up on the wall!) Finally, for additional consistency, I took all of the photos that we wanted to use for the wall, some of them black-and-white and some of them color, and reprinted them in black-and-white. (Pre-pandemic it was easy to do this conversion at my local FedEx store on their photo printer; however, for the updates I made during the pandemic, I ordered prints from mpix.com, which were excellent.)
The spot I chose for this version of the family wall is on the upstairs landing near our bedroom. It is an area we walk by many times a day (especially since we are all home all the time during the pandemic!). This is a relatively new spot for us, but in both houses, we have tended to put the family wall near our bedroom, so that we see it all the time (see the other two images of other incarnations of our family wall). When I put this version up, I decided to start from the bottom and leave strategic room at the top for the every-now-and-then additions to the wall. Our version of a family wall is not static. While there are many pictures that have been and always will be the same, I do try to update the other pictures every so often. We take a family portrait every year of our nuclear family, so I switch that one out each year. I also update the nieces and nephews as spouses and children are added. And you might notice that there is one blank spot. That is for a great-aunt that I hope to find a photo of one day, but so far, I've had no luck. There's always hope to find that shot of Aunt Susie -- after all, I just recently found a shot of Aunt Kate!
Does your family have a family wall? If so, I hope you will share it in the comments!