From the April/May 2023 Issue  

Fit for a Prince

Writer Meg Fox  |  Photographer Chris Veith  |  Designer Vanessa Antonelli  |  Location Holmdel, NJ

Kid Zones-Savvy designers share stylish spaces for sleep and play that spur the imagination and strike a balance between fun, comfort and practicality.

For more of our Kid Zones showcase, see Color Their World, Room for Two and Adventure Awaits.

Rooms nestle in leading-edge style

The crib and dresser were refinished in sophisticated silver and gold metallic paint, which plays off the modern lighting and artwork. “No one who hires a designer wants to redo an entire room in a few short years,” designer Vanessa Antonelli says. “With this in mind, any time I design a child’s space, I make selections that are easy to switch and ones that will grow with them.”

Beautiful and subtle, the nursery wallpaper is a combination of a plaid and linen graphic, explains Antonelli.
The bookcase/storage unit was refinished in the same metallic tones as seen on the crib and dresser.

Lauren and Michael Sorrentino (of “Jersey Shore” reality TV fame) put their trust in designer Vanessa Antonelli to work her magic designing a nursery and playroom for son Romeo in their Holmdel home.

“They wanted both spaces to feel modern and sophisticated, embrace the beautiful tall ceilings in each room and be able to transition into the next phase of life,” says Antonelli, owner of Manalapan-based Vanessa Antonelli Designs. “It was important that the rooms were different from one another but still feel like they belonged in the same house.”

In the nursery, the crib and dresser were refinished in custom silver and gold metallic paint by Micalizzi Furniture Restoration in Englishtown. Lucite and solid brass drawer knobs are a stylish finishing detail. Micalizzi also fabricated the custom window cornice. “The interesting shape definitely made it a challenge,” Antonelli says. Fortunately, the company “not only embraces all of my crazy ideas, they bring them to life in the most beautiful ways.”

The fun and whimsical playroom can also function as a guest room thanks to the comforts of a velvet-upholstered mini sofa and built-in bed tucked between two house-shaped storage units. Says Antonelli: “I designed the wallpaper to create the feel of a playful summer drizzle and started it at the top of the ceiling to truly give the rain-down effect.”

For the playroom (above), the designer’s goal was to make it feel warm and cozy but also bright and airy. “I really wanted to bring the Danish concept of hygge into the space,” Antonelli says. “That’s where the white, blue, gray and wood palette came from with all the different soft textiles.”
In consideration of the room’s angles and tall ceiling, “I knew it would be perfect for built-ins that are shaped like a house,” the designer says. It was an ideal way to bring fun and whimsy to the playroom while also solving their storage needs. “You can never have enough storage!”

Whimsical, but not childish artwork appeals to both kids and adults alike.

The final design incorporated a bed between the cabinets to give the Sorrentinos the option of using the space as a guest room. “I considered making the cabinets white, but then decided the wood tone and beautiful wood grain would keep the room sophisticated.”