Reality show ‘Room2Grow’ provides expectant parents gender reveal nurseries
Gender reveal parties and announcements are quite the trend, as expectant parents open envelopes, release balloons or slice into a cake to learn if they are having a boy or a girl.
After struggling for several years to conceive, Belle Vernon’s Chris and Stacy Galiyas were eager to learn the gender of their first child.
They combined their reveal with a nursery design.
“When we found out she was pregnant, we took the envelope (with their child’s gender written inside) to the paint store. We asked for two colors – one for male, and one for female,” says Chris Galiyas, 40.
They brought home the paint can and opened it.
“It was the color for a boy,” the proud father says.
And they knew Arrow, now 17 months old, was on his way.
And they also knew how they wanted to decorate his nursery.
Galiyas, a full-time art teacher at West Mifflin Area Middle School and a part-time muralist, got to work.
Stacy Galiyas, 34, is employed by the same school as a physical education teacher.
The two shared their reveal on social media.
Feedback was immediate and positive.
“We thought, ‘We have something here.’ We just didn’t know what we had,'” Chris Galiyas says.
— Room2Grow (@Room2GrowShow) October 18, 2017
Room 2 Grow is born
What they had, it turns out, was the inspiration for a new Pittsburgh-based reality TV show, which premiered online this spring.
The pilot can be viewed at room2growtv.com
The couple partnered with Pittsburgh’s Apple Box Studios to produce the show.
“I thought it was a novel idea. I thought it was a creative and interesting approach. I liked their story, how they struggled with infertility,” says Michael Wertz, Apple Box Studios president and CEO.
He and the Galiyases created a partnership, Apple Box Motion Arts LLC, and he is shopping the pilot around to various networks.
Wertz believes it has a potentially wide appeal beyond “home improvement shows.”
“It’s more about values and how you’re going to raise a child, as opposed to what the room looks like,” he says. The Galiyases, he says, come across as “very real.”
“Sometimes they have some friction, and they work it through, like every couple does. They both bring complementary skills,” Wertz says.
Stacy Galiyas chose colors, bedding fabric, accent pieces and other decor for the nursery.
As a new mom, she gravitates toward the practical — where the changing table will go, how easy the floor is to clean.
“I would say my biggest role is to keep things more functional, keep it down to earth. We try to pick a theme and ideas that will last at least a few years,” she says.
“That’s why we like to get to know (the parents) and see what they like and enjoy. You are not going to keep a room that way forever, but you don’t want a room that would just have (teddy) bears,” she adds.
The right couple, the big reveal
A Facebook post resulted in nearly 200 area couples applying to share their stories for the first gender reveal nursery.
Michael and Jessika Keefer of Hanover Township in Beaver County are the lucky parents selected.
The couple planned to let their first child’s gender be a surprise.
But after learning about the show online, they decided to pursue the opportunity.
Jessika Keefer, 33, works for InventHelp. Michael Keefer, 35, is employed with Shelton Design/Build.
After providing the Galiyases with an envelope revealing their baby’s gender, they gave the couple two themes: A Secret Garden for a girl, Sunset Fishing at the Lake for a boy.
In the pilot, they discuss values they hope to instill in their child, and what they look forward to as parents.
“We didn’t know what they were going to ask us. Nothing was scripted or rehearsed,” Jessika Keefer says.
The Keefers also share potential names, with Jessika joking that she came into her marriage with a name for her first son: Kyus.
His middle name would be Lake.
She spent childhood summers near Lake Erie, where the couple have a cottage and where they married.
‘Mum’ is the word
The work was done late last fall, over about 10 days, with the Galiyases and the film crew behind the locked nursery door, tarps over the windows.
Finally, the Keefers open the door and enter a room full of outdoor, water and fishing decor, sunsets splashed on the walls.
And the name Kyus Lake on a wall-mounted life preserver. And they realize a son is on the way.
Keeping that fact a secret was a challenge.
“It was hard not to say ‘he’ or ‘him’,” Jessika Keefer says.
Family and friends who view the nursery immediately know what to expect. Even after his birth, on March 27, the news was kept quiet until the show’s debut.
A gender-neutral baby shower, confidentiality agreements and deactivating her social media accounts, she says, laughing, helped keep lips zipped.
Everyone who has watched the show has told the couple they enjoy the idea of a room renovation coupled with a gender reveal, Keefer adds. “It was a lot of fun,” she says.
And if a second baby is in their future?
“You don’t want to do anything short of what the first one got. … We might have to call Chris and Stacy again,” Keefer says.
Mary Pickels is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-836-5401 or [email protected] or via Twitter @MaryPickels.