Text: Kaitlyn Kirby | Photo: Lonni Paul Design
A former finalist on HGTV’s Design Star, Lonni Paul has taken her design to the next level with children’s furniture collection PetitNest.
From her years working as a fashion model in around the world, Lonni Paul developed an eye for understated elegance and taste for luxurious comfort. It was this Los Angeles native’s worldly experience in clean lines, color, and texture, that ultimately landed her a position as a finalist on HGTV’s Design Star, chosen from over 10,000 designers. Now a mom to 7-year-old twins Sophie and Jett. Paul happily juggles life as a busy parents, furniture designer of the PetitNest collection, and continues to style chic, modern spaces for the stars.
MINI: Have you always been interested in design? When did you know you wanted to be a designer?
LONNI PAUL: I’ve always loved design and fashion. I was so fortunate to model in Europe for many years and the beautiful architecture had a big impact on me. I started building spec homes and attending UCLA Architecture and Interior Design program. People would ask me to do their interiors because of the spec homes and finally one day there was a home I couldn’t pass up so I said yes!
MINI: What are some of your favorite design elements to incorporate into your spaces? Why?
LONNI PAUL: In a nursery I love to incorporate a sofa. I’ve been doing that for years. It’s such a great piece in a nursery because Dad and siblings can join in while mom’s in the glider. It makes the nursery a family space.
MINI: What advice do you have for parents designing a nursery?
LONNI PAUL: I think it’s really important that the nursery be an extension of the design aesthetic you have in the rest of your home. The nursery should flow with the home. Colors can be anything from subtle and soothing to fresh and bright.
MINI: What is one misconception that parents have in designing their children’s spaces?
LONNI PAUL: That they need to have bright colors for the child to be stimulated. There are so many toys that stimulate our kids, I think it’s great to see a nursery that’s done in calming tones. Bring out the toys for playtime! Don’t forget scale. For instance, in a playroom make sure everything is reachable that you want your child to be able to get to easily.
MINI: How did you decide to design your children’s spaces? What was your inspiration?
LONNI PAUL: My twins are seven now, so I just did makeovers in their rooms. My son Jett is into robots. I painted horizontal stripes in different widths on the wall in blue, green, and white. The headboard is a very tech looking, blue polyurethane. I painted his old white desk orange for a great pop of color in the room. Artist Brady Smith painted the most awesome huge robot painting that I have hung over a teal blue love seat (made from mock mohair, sunbrella fabric). His dresser is the Odile from PetitNest which is a geometric design. My daughter Sophie loves pink and what girl doesn’t? She has a custom headboard I designed for PetitNest out of our fabric. She also has a custom duvet cover and love seat all from an upcoming PetitNest toddler line. She is really girly so I have some fluffy white and sparkly pink throw pillows on a custom designed PetitNest Chanel pink sofa and a white flokati rug. She has the Sophie dresser from my line in her room too which I designed and named after her.
MINI: Tell us about PetitNest. How did the collection come to be?
LONNI PAUL: PetitNest is a line of eco-friendly children’s furniture made entirely in the USA. I use no-VOC paint and everything is formaldehyde-free. I started the company while I was designing Tiffani Thiessen’s nursery for her daughter Harper. We kind of joked around that it would be great to have our own line of kids furniture because we were on our way. Tiffani is bi-costal, so it was too much for her to continue. I’m running it on my own now and loving it!
ON MY MIND
MY MOM UNIFORM US…
A comfy sweater and jeans and boots or laceless Converse.
MY PROUDEST PARENTING MOMENT WAS…
My daughter who was six at the time put a note she’d written on my bedside table. It said: ‘Mommy, I could not have a better mommy than you.’ It choked me up and I thought, I must be doing something right in spite of my shortcomings.
MY PARENTING BOOK WOULD BE CALLED…
Growing with Style or I Love You, but Get Your Dirty Shoes Off My Sofa!
MY KIDS WOULD SAY I AM…
Really funny and a cool dancer. But wait until they get a little older, that will change!
MY DESIGN PET PEEVE IS…
All the primary colors together in a nursery. Red, blue, green, and yellow together. It reminds me of a day care or gym.