How to Pull Off a Gender Surprise Nursery

Designer Vanessa Antonelli pulled off another beautiful nursery design—this time with a twist—it was a gender surprise nursery! Find out the details below from Vanessa herself on what exactly a gender surprise nursery is and how her team pulled it off. She’s also sharing the latest in nursery trends and her personal favorites.

When you think of a gender reveal, your mind probably wanders to the inside of a cake being cut to expose a pink or blue filling, or balloons flying out of a box in one of the two pastel hues. As someone who designs countless children’s spaces, I can tell you that despite the amount of social media attention these exciting reveals receive, the original delivery room gender reveal is still very alive and might be the most terrifying part of my job.

During our first meeting, my clients explained they wanted a serene space with a pop of gender specific items. The twist? They wanted it completed before the baby arrived and didn’t want to know the gender. So, it was my job to speak to the doctor, design two separate spaces for their approval and then for my team to install the correct one in secret. You can imagine my fear of one of us accidentally slipping up!

I’m proud to tell you that no one slipped up (PHEW!). Their special moment happened as they had imagined—in the delivery room, and when they went home as a family of three, they saw their baby boy’s completed room for the very first time.

I adore all of the incredible fabrics we chose. The daybed, chair, ottoman, pillows, bedding and cornices are all custom upholstered in the most stunning fabrics. I love how something as simple as a fabric can make a space completely unique.

As a side note, several of my most recent projects have included a daybed in the nursery. This is clearly a growing trend!

At the moment, I’m very into custom acrylic shadow boxes filled with…whatever you want! Over the last few months, I’ve filled them with everything from cars to flowers and even Barbie shoes. It’s a great modern and attractive way to customize a room, and when you or your child has moved on from what’s inside, you can simply change it to something else.

The final step to any newly designed spaced is styling it. I like to collect pieces from all different places. Some that are simply decorative and others that have meaning to the family, like photos and heirlooms. You absolutely cannot skip this part. It’s like baking a cupcake for someone and putting no icing on it, which is just a muffin.

Photography by Chris Veith Interiors

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