Celebrity Nursery – Gender Neutral Jungle Safari

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This gender neutral nursery was designed for Lisa and Buddy Valastro, stars of The Cake Boss by Sherri Blum, owner of Jack and Jill Interiors . Due with their fourth child, they didn't want to know the baby's gender prior to birth. The parents had very different ideas about how they wanted the nursery decorated, as well. Lisa wanted an elegant, traditional nursery, and Buddy wanted and over the top Jungle Safari nursery theme. My job was to help them find a compromise.

Design Inspiration

The deep green silk fabrics. They were so beautifully rich in color. My client had very elegant, traditional taste which was reflected throughout the rest of her home. Yet her husband wanted a jungle safari theme. Therefore we selected the colors of deep green and ivory to give the feeling of nature/outdoors, while selecting silk fabrics and traditional furnishings to compliment the decor in the rest of the home.

Decorating Style

I don't adhere to one particular decorating style, because each client has their own tastes, needs and goals for the space. I use my design knowledge and background to bring life to the design dreams of my client. Therefore each client's finished room will vary from the next, depending on the client's style preferences.

Project Details

Lisa and Buddy Valastro, stars of The Cake Boss on TLC, and owners of Carlo's Bakery, contacted me to help them design a nursery for their fourth baby due in February. They did not want to know the gender of their baby prior to birth, and therefore desired a gender-neutral baby nursery. The problem was, Lisa wanted a traditional elegant nursery, while Buddy wanted a whimsical Jungle Safari themed nursery. My job was to find a compromise! Of course the consultations were scheduled and due to Buddy's busy schedule at Carlo's Bakery, the initial meetings were with Lisa. We selected elegant traditional nursery furniture in a beautiful antique silver finish which included a stunning iron crib. Silk dupioni was used in the custom crib bedding and window treatments and other elegant custom fixtures such as the light fixture and nursery glider were selected as well. I was a bit concerned about Buddy ending up dissatisfied with the nursery's lack of jungle and safari elements, therefore I  convinced Lisa to allow us to paint a stylized tree in the nursery's corner to give Buddy a bit of jungle atmosphere. I also shared with her my own Giraffe Family wall hanging and promised her that if we put this in the nursery, along with the rocking giraffe and other stuffed animals, that it would appease Buddy's desire to have animals in the nursery. I had my own muralist ready to paint the tree, however Buddy wanted Juan and Ralph, two of his artists from the bakery, to paint the mural for Lisa. There was much debate on whether or not they would follow Buddy's instructions to add animals to the mural, or follow the desire of Lisa and myself and paint a simple stand-alone tree. I also wanted to be sure that the Valastros' older children felt important to their new baby brother or sister. I asked Lisa to provide me with favorite baby photos of her three children, Sofia, Buddy and Marco. I blew up their size and cropped them to a 6" square and changed them to sepia tones. I purchased three 12" square scrapbook frames at Michael's Craft Store that were a dark brown and spray painted them antique silver to match the silver nursery furniture. It involved alternating layers of gold and silver to get them just right. Then, with permission from the scrapbook paper manufacturer and artist, I used scrapbook paper as a matting to the photos and ended up with sweet custom photos. I believe it's very important when there are older siblings, to make sure they feel important to the new baby. By bringing in their baby photos, we've honored these children as well as provided the new baby with sweet, familiar baby faces to enjoy while mom or dad is changing diapers. Babies do love to stare at other baby faces! Since there was not an existing shelf to coordinate with the beautiful antique silver Chelsea collection by Bratt Decor, I asked them to send me their pink Jane shelf instead. I sanded it down, primed it, and again layered gold and silver spray paint to get it just right! I also try to bring a sense of nostalgia into each of my nurseries by incorporating items from the parents' own childhood. I asked Lisa's mother, Gloria to help me surprise Lisa with some items from her own childhood to place on the shelf and to hang from the pegs. Gloria went home and brought back Lisa's own christening gown and shoes, as well as a sweet photo of her as a toddler. Perfect!

Favorite Items

The Giraffe Family canvas wall art, of course! ;)


When creating a gender neutral nursery, think ahead a bit. Before purchasing the elements, plan how you would add or change little accessories to later gear the room towards a specific gender. You will likely want to make changes soon after the baby is born and you won't want to spend too much on those gender-specific changes.  With this room, we planned to add deep rose ribbons and accents for a girl, and pumpkin orange for a boy.


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    I love the rich and earthy colors you have here.  I think you did a great job at melding the traditional with the whimsical. I don’t think I’d be able to come up with something as beautiful as this nursery.  While I love that giraffe wall hanging as well, my favorite is the sweet dreams lighting fixture you have…it looks very elegant.  Did you make that?

  2. 2

    Thank you for your kind compliments, Ken. I did not make the Sweet Dreams Ceiling Medallion, but ordered it from the artisan. You should visit Marie Ricci’s website to see all of the stunningly beautiful products she produces! I’m a huge fan of her work!  http://www.mariericci.com .

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    This is a beautiful nursery but it’s not very gender nutral if you ask me. It’s very frilly and girly.

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    Somebody essentially assist to make significantly articles I would state. That is the first time I frequented your web page and thus far? I amazed with the research you made to create this particular publish amazing. Great process!

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