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Lisa Fontanarosa

Exploring the lavender fields

Article by Lisa Fontanarosa

Photography by Caroline Mendoza, Gabriella Marks, Vanessa Vassar, Stephanie Roberston

Originally published in Albuquerque City Lifestyle

My name is Lisa Fontanarosa and my shop at Jo’s Farms showcases my floral creations as well as the creations of the artists I have represented from Europe since 1997. It is here where I showcase my deep and worldly mix of passions. A place to discover unique décor, as well as lavender and flowers—a  celebration of that perfect moment of home happiness!

In 2018, a search for a property with meandering gardens led me to find my 2 acre property which at the time was a blank canvas.

Now beautifully planted with a lavender field, lovely meandering flower gardens and paths where scented flowers unfold and perfume.

I am an interior stylist and floral creator.  During my career as an interior stylist, I’ve traveled all over the world working with A-list designers and style makers and collecting the beautiful objects that I surround myself with in my shop and in my home.

I am a curator and creator of a world filled with poetic pieces. My choices are guided by Paris, where the mix of antique and modern complement each other like a favorite old shirt and shiny new shoes.

A keen editorial eye, a love of design, floral artistry, color and all that blooms inspired my journey. The first time I visited France in my early 20’s it was clear it was going to be a life-long love affair. My floral obsession began in Paris when I walked into a little flower shop and was instantly taken with the French style. A trip to Provence inspired my lavender field. My gardens inspired my floral storytelling of my creations.

My interest in design started at age 14 when my mother, who was born in Sicily, and my dad, who was from Naples, took me on a trip to the Mediterranean.

It left an indelible mark on my heart and led me to France and the lavender fields of Provence, where my passion for design, art and flowers became the inspiration for my styling business in which I source unique objects, lighting and textiles to incorporate into the rooms I style.

I spent my early career in the New York fashion scene working for magazines such as Vogue. It was a job styling the window displays for the Henri Bendel department store that solidified my love of interior design and styling and ultimately led to an international design career and the founding of my business, The Lisa Fontanarosa Collection in 1997.

My success means that I have one foot in Europe and especially France – a culture and lifestyle for which I have a particular fondness. A favorite point in my career was in 2009, when the Paris boutique, Colette, asked me to style an exhibition from three different artists.

Jo’s Farms is the farm that I share with my husband, Joe Ornelas. It is our home and garden. But it’s more than that, too.  It's the story of beautiful gardens, a lavender field,  my little light filled shop which showcases the works of artists around the world, a lovely A-frame flower shed, an apple and fruit orchard, pleasure gardens and our newly built greenhouse.

The gardens we planted  became the inspiration for my latest floral pursuit, my flower mannequins.  My floral fashions are made of dried flower arrangements fashioned  on the vintage dressmaker’s models from France.

I love to create beautiful sculptures from dried blooms I’ve collected from my field.  My runway-ready sculptures are inspired by all things Femme and French.

From still-life depictions to blooming landscapes, flowers have been a tried and true inspiration for nature-loving artists throughout the course of art history.  I take a more avant-garde approach to the floral craft by creating works of art made out of real flowers that I dried in flower shed. They celebrate my love of fashion and flowers.

Jo’s Farms houses my floral creations as well as an ever-changing collection of coveted accessories and  unique and unusually beautiful furnishings from Europe and beyond. Situated near my lavender farmland next to my flower shed, it is also a place that I can indulge my signature decorating aesthetic — It’s truly a curated collection . . . a chic shop where you can discover my dried floral sculptures and one-off collections from the artists I have represented From France, Sweden, Scotland and the Netherlands.

The French know how to shop.  They take their time until they find that “ coup de coeur” falling for something. You’ll find that “coup de coeur” at my shop.

Conceiving, creating, styling, arranging is always my visual pleasure.

I like to mix and match my finds to create unique, beautiful, whimsical, inviting spaces  Creating a story for oneself from these objects and my floral creations, is the most beautiful way of expressing yourself in your home

Gardens are such special places. They never fail to delight, inspire or calm me.  A garden, as with all the natural world, is a constant miracle that unfolds before one’s eyes.

This property inspired us to add the lavender  field and surrounding gardens and meadows. My love of flowers inspired my own creative projects.  Living with flowers everyday infuses beauty to our spaces and enriches our lives with nature’s grace.

Flowers are deeply rooted in my soul. There is no greater freedom of expression than working with flowers.

At Jo’s Farms we want everyone to be carried away by the intoxicating scent of lavender and the sweetness of life surrounded by lavender.

We are hosting lavender picking at our lavender farm July 5th, July 6th and July 7th.

I am a curator and creator of a world filled with poetic pieces.

  • Lisa and her husband picking lavender