I’ve been a fan of Petit Collage’s wares since I worked on a gallery featuring kids’ room decals and found some adorable examples on their site that I just had to feature. It’s truly a testament to the quality of the designs that they appealed to me even though I don’t have little ones of my own yet and I could easily imagine them fitting into my mid-century modern decorating scheme.
Turns out that the force behind Petit Collage, artist and designer Lorena Siminovich, is quite the multi-tasker! In addition to starting the successful home decor line in 2006, she has authored and illustrated over 20 childrens’ books. Her latest book, Petit Collage: 25 Easy Craft and Decor Projects for a Playful Home, came out in April from Potter Craft, and it’s definitely one that’s for parents as much as it is for the kids. These decor projects are stylish enough to earn a place in every room in your home and the crafts would make darling handmade baby shower gifts, though they’re so cute that it’s hard to imagine giving them away once you’ve made them.
I chatted with Lorena about the book, her personal style and how becoming a mother shaped her business. Plus: Try one of the book’s sweet DIY crafts!
You were first an artist and designer, then you started your own successful decor and accessories business. Why did you decide to take on crafting books?
I felt it was nice to connect to our crafty roots and expand the brand’s look and feel into DIY projects. After all, our company started with a handmade collage on wood. The idea of doing simple projects with recycled materials, and to give our fans the opportunity to do our signature pieces like mobiles and wall decor themselves, seemed like an excellent opportunity.
What’s different about your craft book compared to all the other crafting and decor books out there?
The book is all about paper and reuse of materials, and has templates and instructions for 25 projects that are very much tied to our look and feel. We structure the book in three parts:
- Room to Grow, where we feature things like a mobile, toy bin and growth chart
- Family Life, which features projects that can go anywhere in the house, like menu planners, ceiling pendants and memo boards; and lastly
- Playtime, where we have toy drums, playhouses and animal masks.
Another important thing about this book is [that there's] no sewing required!
You have a daughter, Matilda – how has she inspired your work?
I started my company before she was born, but she definitely shaped most of our product line. We launched our eco-friendly toy line in 2012, when she was about 3 years old, since we started to have birthday parties and I noticed a gap in the market for modern playthings at an affordable price point.
What’s Matilda’s favorite craft in the book?
She is using a lot of the prototypes we did for the book! She loves the Friends Coat Rack [seen on the cover] – she puts all her purses and hats there. We use the step stool in the kitchen every day and she loves the rolling toy bin to fill with her dolls.
Did your decorating style change when you became a mother? (And how did you babyproof that beautiful home of yours?)
I won’t say it changed, but it certainly developed! I became very aware of the need for storage and the functional needs of a growing family. I also got to experience firsthand that wonderful nesting instinct that I heard so much about. As for babyproofing, I was super mellow. We did add some Plexiglass in the bottom of stair railings, but that was about it. There is a parenting style for everyone and luckily we had a cautious child, so no injuries to report!
I love the step stool project. Do you have any tips for dressing up (or hiding!) other typical kid items like baby gates, strollers, high chairs, etc.?
Oh, baby gates! The necessary evil! I do like to hack items with Plexiglass for protection – looks better than that meshy plastic. For high chairs, a simple wooden one can be decoupaged with the steps from our book. (Actually, now I feel like doing that!) For strollers and unsightly items, my motto is “everything in its place.” You need to design a storage solution so that everything has a place to live.
What are some ways parents can make their whole home more playful, as your book’s subtitle suggests?
I think the boundaries between play area and living areas are blurred nowadays. We need to embrace that rather than fight it, whether you replace your coffee table with a soft, child-friendly ottoman or you incorporate cool drawers or bins for toy storage around the house. The book also speaks about adding whimsical details (like a tree-shaped chalkboard or window decals) in the kitchen or family room, not restricted to children’s rooms.
The last section of the book is all about playtime and has plenty of toys and games to keep kids entertained. On a related note, do you have any genius parenting hacks to share?
Not sure if it’s genius, but my one go-to trick is food-related. I add faces and make shapes with everything! Tofu trees, smiley rice cakes, you name it!