Inside Jeri Ryan's Daughter Gisele's Nursery

09/09/2008 at 12:00 PM ET

Elizabeth Messina


No over-the-top nursery for Jeri Ryan and husband Christophe Emé, a chef in L.A. "We wanted a room that could grow with our daughter and was a little more sophisticated," the actress says. But when it came time to choose a crib, Christophe couldn’t resist indulging Gisele Lynn, now 6 months, with furniture fit for royalty: "the most ornate iron canopy princess bed!" describes Jeri. The couple designed the room around the crib, adding a custom changing table and dresser, wood floors and green walls for a "soothing, relaxing" ambiance. The one must-have item for every nursery? "Comfort," Jeri says. “That’s the most important thing.”

— Eunice Oh, PEOPLE

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Elizabeth Messina

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE NURSERY?
I wanted something very soothing and [my husband] Christophe and I both were pretty adamant about not wanting over the top baby, baby, baby, you know, with murals. We wanted a room that could grow with her and was a little more sophisticated and kind of blends in with the rest of the house. It isn’t this glaring, different, ‘BABY WORLD!’

WHAT KIND OF LOOK WERE YOU GOING FOR?
We wanted a classic look. It’s actually a funny story with the crib and bedding because we started out when I was pregnant. When we first found out we were having a girl, Christophe was veryadamant – "OK, I don’t want ‘baby, baby, baby!’ It needs to be classic. It needsto be a crib that we can use again when we have a little boy" cause we want morechildren. [He said] "I don’t want little girl, girl, girl [stuff]!"

So I startedlooking at furniture and I think he wanted dark wood. And I bring home a catalog from one of thecrib companies and he turns instantly to the most ornate iron canopy swag princess bed! And he says, that’s it! I looked at him and my jaw dropped. I was like, you’ve got to be kidding me! He was like, she’s our princess! So we had to get the whole swag and whole nine yards. 

Jeriryanrabbit

Elizabeth Messina

IS THE NURSERY HOW YOU ALWAYS ENVISIONED IT TO BE?
Absolutely! From the wood floors – we’ve got that in a lot of rooms in our home. We’ve either got old stone or terracotta or old wood and we have 150-year-old wood floors in one of ourrooms so we knew we wanted that feel because I love the warmth of wood.

The green [on the walls],it’s a color that goes throughout our house but it’s also just a really soothing, relaxing color. You spent so much time in the nursery the first few months, especially when you’rebreastfeeding, that I really wanted it to be a very relaxing color for her and for me and foreveryone that goes in. And we both love the really cool, pure look of the white bedding and white drapery. 

WHAT’S THE FIRST THING YOU THINK OF WALKING INTO THE NURSERY?
Well, our princess! She’s got the draped canopy bed. That was the goal. [Christophe] wanted thebed for his princess so that’s what we got. 

DID YOU DESIGN IT AND/OR BRING IN ADDITIONAL HELP?
I designed it by myself for the most part, with the help of designer Adaline Fagen of Espace Design. The changing table I had custom built, it was based on aPottery Barn design, but I had them flip flop the side that the changing table was on and I had themdo a custom finish to go with that room, a charcoal gray finish.

The dresser I had made based on aphotograph that I saw of a old French antique that was just a little, thin night stand-type piece.Then I had them build it out to a dresser. And then my designer that we worked on, that’s worked on the rest of my house, helped us with the built-in shelves and stuff that used to be a closet. 

WHAT FOR YOU IS THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF THE NURSERY?
The overall feel of the room for me was the most important. I just really wanted itto be soothing and peaceful and a room that can grow with her. 

Elizabeth Messina

WHERE DID YOU GET THESE PIGGY BANK AND STUFFED ANIMALS?
They were all gifts from friends. And then there’s a Noah’s Ark. That was on one of hershelves and that was [my son] Alex’s when he was a baby. The cradle, my father made that when I was pregnant with my son. So my dad made that for me forAlex so under the mattress he carved in the wood Alex’s name and birthday and when Gisele was born he carved her name and birthday next to it. That’s the wooden cradle, but she’soutgrown it now.   

THERE’S A SMALL BED, A CRIB AND A CRADLE. WHAT PIECE OF FURNITURE IS USED THE MOST?
Well now she’s sleeping in her crib. For the first four months we kept her in the cradle just because a) she’s little and b) I wanted to use it! And now when the nanny has her nights off wehave the cradle up in our room and we’ll still put her in it, even though it’s a little tight for her so she’s next to our bed and not so far away.   

WHAT’S A MUST-HAVE FOR EVERY NURSERY?
I think a comfortable changing table is critical and a comfortable chair to sit and feed the baby because you’re spending so much time sitting and feeding especially if you nurse. It really needs to be comfortable.

Also, you have to test chairs! You can’t just buy something that’spretty in a picture! You have to sit in it and it has to be comfortable. I know because I have a badback anyway, I have to get a chair that’s comfortable. I had a little support pillow made so that I’ve got support in my lower back. And I had it made to match the rest of the bedding. Socomfort is critical, because you spend so much time feeding the baby.   

WHAT WAS THE DESIGN PROCESS LIKE?
The design we conceived pretty quickly because as soon as [Christophe] picked out the crib, we designed the rest of the room around it. I knew the color of the walls that I wanted. I knew thefloor that I wanted, cause we mimicked the wood floors in the other rooms in the house and just dida slightly lighter finish on it.

It was just a matter of finding the pieces. I had already seen apicture of the changing table, the dresser I wanted to duplicate and have made. So it actually was a pretty quick process. The work, getting it done and getting it made, was particularly bad but thedesign itself was pretty quick. I guess it is a daunting process if you’ve never gone through it before. Fortunately I’m a second time mom. My son is going to be 14, I can’t believe it,in two weeks. So I knew what the important elements of the room were. I knew things like flip-flopping the side of the changing table. That’s how I knew what’s comfortable for me. I  know how I need to stand to change a diaper. I know which way I wanted it to face. I know how I want the crib to face so you can see the baby when you walk in.

And just comfort, that’s the most important thing, cause there has to be a chair in there because you’re going to spend alot of time in there with the baby and you’ve got to use something comfortable. I mean, I can tell you with my daughter, for the first three months, I was sitting in the chair for 90 percent ofmy day! It’s a green upholstered, arm chair that’s a recliner and swivelchair. I mean, it’s a really, really, really comfortable chair.   

Elizabeth Messina


THERE’S A BED IN THE NURSERY. IS THAT FOR YOU OR THE BABY, OR BOTH?
It’ll be her bed in a few years. Now, if we had to spend the night in the room with her for whatever reason and if she’s taking a nap and I want to just stay in there with her, there’s a place. Especially in the first few months when I was so exhausted, it was just nice to take a nap when she napped and to be close to her. 

WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO THE NURSERY WHEN GISELE GROWS UP?
Oh, it’s always her room. This will be her room. We re-did the bathroomwhen we did the nursery the same time so that it’s a tub and showerthat grows with her. It’s all for her. There’s nothing in the roomthat’s so baby specific that it can’t grow with her. Once she gets outof the crib, the crib g
ets out of the room, and there’s lots of roomfor play toys and a desk later and things like that.

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Showing 28 comments

DLR on

Oh my, now that’s one nice and pretty baby’s room! I remember the pictures of Jennifer Lopez’s baby room which was a bit extravagent, if not finicky like the beds and all the extra stuff (althought maybe it was for show in the photograph) that could trip one half-asleep in a dark room. This is nice and simple, and easily adjusted as the baby grows.

kb on

The canopy fabric hanging all around the crib scares me. I’d think like pillows etc. you’d want to avoid all choking hazards around an infant.

Cookie on

Personally I am also a person who would pick colors like Jeri did. Even though I think themed rooms to be pretty but I still think in a practical way -> the baby can grow with it. Love the pastel colors!

Cassandra on

What a beautiful room! I’m not too worried about the canopy on the crib, I’m pretty sure the extra stuff is for decoration. No one keeps all the stuffed animals in the crib other than for pictures. The canopy will only be a problem when she starts getting grabby.

kate on

I would be frightened of all the loose fabric hanging down around the cot. I have heard so many horror stories of babies/kids getting caught up in them and, well, you can guess the rest, I can’t bring myself to write it.

pixie on

I have to say this nursary is one of the most elegant I have seen. I love it the colours are beautiful and the accessories adorable.

LG on

I agree with kb on the fabric being a little scary. Surely she took all the extra stuff down after the photographs were taken. I know at 6 months my little one started getting into things! The room is just beautiful!

trl on

i had a cradle like that and i hated it! But the nursery looks good. I love the bed in there for mom! We did that too.

Ivey on

I like the sage green with pink accents. Sometimes baby girl nurseries go a little overboard on the pink factor!

AzureSong on

Could CBB please find out what color green she used for the walls? Thanks!

MB on

This is one of the most beautiful nurseries I have ever seen!

Also, I wouldn’t be too concerned about the safety of the frills. It seems like the issue comes up for most celeb nurseries and I think it’s like how it was for JLO: the photographers want things added for show. I would be surprised if someone who put so much thought into the nursery and had a designer consult didn’t also take into consideration all the potential safety hazards, you know? But I understand bringing it up for the sake of readers who might not know.

kmb on

absolutely beautiful!

Jen on

What a gorgeous room! It’s so simple and pretty. I love rooms like this more than the over the top decorated rooms some celebs show off.

mummyof2 on

“Now, if we had to spend the night in the room with her for whatever reason…”

That part made me chuckle. Our daughter is 18 months old and still sleeps in our room, in her crib.

lily on

I love the story of the craddle, so touching!

SAR on

That is really a lovely room for little Gisele. And it’s wonderful that her parents are looking to the future: they decided on a room that will grow with her.

Natalie S. on

Stunning room.. I think I would want to take a nap in that room or maybe live there..lol

Beth on

I never have commented before…however, as soon as I saw the fabric canopy I started to laugh and just had to see all the comments that would mention it. Like readers are the only people that would think it is unsafe. HAHAHAHA. I am sure the parents are WELL aware that it will need to come down. I will step off my soap box now, but at least I am not on my high horse!

Sarita on

I love that her father made the cradle and carved the names of the children, that is just awesome. It can be passed down for centuries to come!

shan on

How refreshing to see a down to earth elegant babies room. Nothing over the top or pretentious and so extravagant that the child becomes a spoiled brat from birth. This is stunning and easy for anyone to do.

Erica on

Wow, this nursery is gorgeous, practical, and yes, sophisticated. Definitely a room to grow into. I vastly prefer this kind of understated design for nurseries (especially girls’) as opposed to the over-the-top, ultra-frilly, bubble gum pink rooms.

terri on

Absolutely gorgeous nursery.

baby changing stations on

aah …i think the room designed is perfect.It can be modified according to the changing demands of the growing baby.And the best thing being its too airy and has lots of open space for the baby to fiddle around and play.

Bancie1031 on

Now I think this is one beautiful little girls room and not too over the top! I definitely love this nursey.

JJ on

That is one lucky baby. Room looks fantastic.

EspaceDesign.US on

The color of the paint we used in Gisele’s room is Fawn from Farrow & Ball.

BACmom on

I got this WONDERFUL crib at poshtots.com. It’s great because it is a 3-in-1 crib so it can have the 4 posts, or a canopy or just a standard crib. it also converts to a toddler bed. Posh Tots has actual design consultants that you can work with (at no additional charge) to help you design your nursery!! I worked with a young lady, Ashley W, who was a big help!

…by the way, love this nursery – it looks so cozy🙂

Lacie on

This crib is absolutely beautiful!

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