When we saw this lifestyle newborn and family shoot by Cristy Cross Photography, we couldn't wait to share it. Then we read the story behind baby Marnie's gorgeous nursery and it hit a new level! Marnie's parents Ronnie and Shannon had decided to keep the gender of their baby a surprise, but they wanted to make sure the nursery was ready when the baby arrived. Rather than opt for a gender neutral nursery, their dear friend, designer Callie Parr offered to design the room in secret, and only she knew what the gender would be. Ronnie and Shannon saw the room for the first time the day they took Marnie home from the hospital! Love this! Read all the details about how this all came about at the bottom of this post.
Cristy Cross Photography captured these beautiful photos of the finished space and the family during a sweet, relaxed session in the their lovely home. Be sure to check out the full gallery to see more.
From the designer, Callie Parr:
”Ronnie and Shannon, two dear friends of mine, found themselves to be expecting a little bundle of joy at the beginning of June. They wished to keep the gender of this sweet baby a secret and surprise to everyone including themselves, however were anxious about being prepared for the baby when first returning home. So, I simply offered to design and prepare the room for them and they agreed. At their next sonogram, they asked the doctor to seal the gender of their baby in an envelope and just like that they handed it over and entrusted a very hard-to-keep secret to me and my husband. After all, I would need someone to help carry furniture to and from the house in secrecy.
"I sat down with the expecting couple to discuss what they envisioned the room to look like if the baby were a boy or a girl including style and colors. We discussed their needs and a budget and I immediately went to work planning, shopping, and painting. I felt a lot of pressure as this was the first design project where I was forced to make all purchasing/design decisions from beginning to end. There was no asking them, "Do you like this lamp or this lamp?" as that might have given clues to the surprise. I'm still amazed at their restraint in not looking into the room from time to time to reveal the mystery or check on my progress! The nursery door was simply tied shut with older sister's jump rope so it wouldn't have been that difficult to take a quick peek. As I completed the room and tied it shut for the last time, I felt a mix of emotions: satisfaction, excitement, and anxiety all mixed together!
"A couple of weeks later, the most precious baby girl, Marnie Hudson Cole joined the Cole family. When they arrived home from the hospital, Ronnie and Shannon invited family and Jake (my husband) and I to come over as they opened the nursery door for first time. I didn't know what to expect, this being my first reveal room and wondered many times, "What if they don't like it?" However, it couldn't have been more special for me to watch Shannon carry baby Marnie into her new room and with tears in her eyes, say "It's perfect." I will never forget that moment, as it was confirmed that a fine room had been prepared for the finest of God's blessings, all 6lbs. 3oz. of her."
From the mom, Shanon:
"I always wanted to have that surprise moment when the doctor says it's a boy or girl, but having a 3 year old I knew I wouldn't have time to complete a nursery after the baby was born. I had mentioned my desire to be surprised to one of my best friends and designer, Callie Parr. She said she would be more that happy to do the room and we began to work on the logistics of how we could make it happen. I knew exactly what I wanted for a boy but only had a color scheme in mind for a girl. We met and went over some ideas and budget. I then had the doctor write in an envelope the gender and gave the envelope to Callie. She had helped me design other rooms in my house and being one of my best friends I trusted that she knew what I liked and gave her complete control over the room. We kept the room locked and had the big reveal when we brought Marnie home. We absolutely love the room and it was so much fun having two surprises to look forward to throughout the pregnancy."