Celebrity Nursery Designer

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 pendant nursery light 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 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 furniture so I decided to paint a shelf to match. 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!

I wanted to further surprise the family by adding special designer touches like the green Sweet Dreams ceiling medallion, the custom tile and the beautiful memory box, as well as the custom topiary letter that I painted myself. Since we were completing a gender-neutral nursery, we used the family’s monogram on personalized items so that it would be right at home in this nursery, no matter the baby’s name or gender.

While hard surface floors such as hardwoods, bamboo or cork are best in nurseries to help prevent allergies and asthma, we still wanted a soft, warm and hypoallergenic area rug to walk and play upon. Wool is hypoallergenic and all natural, meaning no off-gasses from the manufacturing process. This is the best choice in rugs for children’s rooms whenever possible.

The nursery mural was completed by Juan and Ralph, talented artists from Carlo’s Bakery. It was quite entertaining to work with this team, to say the least. When all was said and done, Buddy and Lisa loved their baby’s nursery. The looks on their faces when they saw it all come together…priceless! The icing on the cake…Lisa loved her nursery so much, that Buddy surprised her with a replica of the entire nursery made out of cake for her baby shower! Who else can say their nursery design was “immortalized in cake” by The Cake Boss, himself?! I do love my job.