Thursday, September 13, 2012

Render a Gender- Designing a Neutral Nursery for Baby

 There's a segment of the population that want their baby's gender to be a surprise until birth.  If completing the newborn's nursery ahead of time is a priority, then for sure the term gender neutral comes up.  Oh, but how I wish we could adopt a term other than gender neutral to describe that desire.  Gender neutral sounds like a physical impairment or a sarcastic answer to a dating preference question.  Regardless, whether they are inny-outty-unsure, seat up or seat down undecided or reproductive representation reserved, those choosing to wait on their baby's sex have decor decisions to make in their nursery.

From all angles in my work as a kids designer and artist creating art and products for the retail marketplace the trend of color is being shouted from the mountain tops.  How's color a trend you may ask?  Well, the trend nerds who spend their every waking hour looking for hints on how to forecast consumer's buying habits all look into 2013 and beyond as years of saturated color.  They are proclaiming the full spectrum of rainbow colored hues IS the new black.   They say it has a causality relationship between our rebounding economy and the need to feel optimistic, re-energized and alive!  Alive with color....say it with me....ALIVE WITH COLOR!  Extra points for your jazz hands and open mouth smiles, well done reader, well done!

This gotta-have color trend relates back to my topic of gender neutral, because basically, I'm not a big fan of mousey mint and rubber duck yellow.  Those official colors of nursery neutrality are tired and thankfully my most recent nursery client agreed.  When I brought up the topic of color, in our initial client meeting, I met no resistance to pushing the color palette into the super saturated one.

zebra nursery

My client was ever so happy to put faith in my decisions and abilities.  She used the magic words "I trust you!"  So off I went shopping for fabrics and all that might inspire a color rich room while trying to remain neutral to gender or, P or V identification procrastination.   Having hit every fabric resource in town with my faithful designer counterpart Shannon Ponciano, whom was designing the rest of the clients home, we came upon a terrific abstractive chevron fabric.  It was color rich, fun yet sophisticated.

This fabric choice led me to my fellow children's artist Melanie Mikecz's wall art entitled the Rainbow Zebra.  What a beautiful mix of happy colors, a fun subject and textures I am so drawn to.  I was delighted to frame the piece with a custom frame, made here in the studio.

rainbow zebra art

From there the room's design rapidly came into fruition.  I planned on saturating the walls with a deep teal, adding a vanilla framed color block of green on the ceiling and furnishing the room with blasts of color and the neutrals grey and white.

gender neutral nursery

Throughout the home's interior, rustic woods are being used in modern ways, so I designed corner shelves for the nursery and constructed them out of 50 year old reclaimed barn wood topped with an acrylic polyurethane finish and lined with burnt orange paint.

gender neutral nursery mobile

For those of you that know me, you are aware of my love for building and creating unique items for my kid's spaces.  I drew up several ideas for a crib mobile and was ready to build my favorite until I came across a terrific DIY, by Jaime over at Sew She Sew's.  Her mobile design was an amazing mix of homespun ingenuity and artful elegance.  I couldn't imagine a better fit for the nursery.

Having solved the mobile dilemma my attention turned to props and accessories.  I created a custom alphabet piece, a vintage wood mirror and a cute green chalkboard to compliment the grouping anchored by a 30 inch tall giraffe sculpture.

gender neutral nursery giraffe art collage

A Red Ryder wagon entered my studio brand new, out of the box, and left a distressed and faux antiqued piece ready to act as a bookshelf along the room's bank of windows.
Inspired by the crib fabric I chose to render one wall with a series of elongated zig zags inviting more color into the room.

gender neutral mural colors

Once baby arrives the room can evolve to impart a more feminine or masculine attitude.  Of course that depends on their little one either having a wee wee or a she wee!  Yep, after that, I'm fresh out of gender neutral terms.

I have an extremely happy client, I've made the hidden from sunlight trend seekers proud and most of all had a lot of fun.  I did however piss off all of those mint and yellow fans.  Oh, well....sorry, I'll repay you in 20 years when the whole southwestern pastel aztec trend reemerges like a zombie.  Aaaaaahhhhh!


This nursery is featured until September 23rd in an open home tour, in Vancouver Washington.  The homeowners are opening their newly completed home to visitors as part of the Clark County Parade of Homes.  If you're in town, I'd love to have you drop by and check it out.

Of course, I'd love to hear your comments here or you can join me on my Facebook page, where I'll share a few more details.  For you Pinning Peeps I've loaded up the collection of photos on a Pinterest board for you to share.

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