We caught up with the brilliant and insightful Lisa Fontaine a few weeks ago and have shared our conversation below.
Alright, Lisa thanks for taking the time to share your stories and insights with us today. Let’s start big picture – what are some of biggest trends you are seeing in your industry?
I have found the biggest learning curve for 2021 into 2022 is around how people view their spaces and a clear need for them to feel calm, cozy, and organized.
In a world with so many things out of our own control, home organization is one way we can exhibit control over our own lives. Creating a home that feels calm and cozy is the perfect way to feel safe and at ease with the chaos of the outside world. With all acceptance of the “work from home life”, people are less stressed about feeling “productive” in their spaces, and once again looking to their homes as places of entertainment—although who and how they entertain may have changed significantly. As we look towards 2022, we’ll continue to see homeowners investing in their spaces and creating havens for their families and guests.
In addition to the every popular Modern Desert and Refined Farmhouse… My Top Two Style additions include “A Refined Collector” and “Modern Deco”
A Refined Collector style is a mix of classic and eclectic vibes suggesting that people are finally starting to show off the antiques that they’re collecting! Or they are getting savvy and shopping at antique shops, local boutiques and neighborhood yard-sales to find their new favorited pieces!
“Modern Deco”. 100 Years later designers are designing with Art Deco Influences! Think “Great Gatsby”, this iconic style is known for its symmetry and use of linear geometric patterns and luxurious materials. It’s a big, bold and glam style that has a bit of a vintage flair and creates a sense of approachable luxury!
Lisa, before we move on to more of these sorts of questions, can you take some time to bring our readers up to speed on you and what you do?
I’m Lisa Fontaine, an experienced and innovative interior designer with 19 years of experience. I started my own Interior Design studio in Phoenix, AZ in the Fall of 2015. My work can best be described as a flowing conversation of connecting colors, pattern, texture & light that creates a story for each client’s unique space.
I pride myself on serving the customer’s ideas and turning them into reality. After completing projects, clients often tell me I have become both a trusted advisor and a close friend!
Interior design is not just a career – it’s a passion. I love meeting interesting people & I enjoy the variety of experiences a design career provides. In 2020 I decided to open an Online Home Décor Boutique, Fontaine & Co. This was a creative way that I could branch my design services with the inclusion of curated home accessories. Both businesses, while they intersect, serve very different creative outlets.
Lisa Fontaine came to Phoenix, AZ in 2003 with a passion for interior design, a sense of exploration, and an eye for beauty. Her early
How about pivoting – can you share the story of a time you’ve had to pivot?
I am certain that I am not the only one to share a story of how they had to pivot during the pandemic. For me, it wasn’t just a pivot but more of a push to keep going on this journey of entrepreneurship and to not give up!
I have been designing for nearly 20 years and have been in many avenues of design. From Kitchen & Bath Cabinetry design, to Model Home Merchandising, to owning my own design studio doing full home renovations. Before the pandemic I was happy with design career and 2020 was prepared for a very full year of projects. I had even hired my first design assistant. I was ready! And well, we all know what happened next. Project after project dropped off my schedule and my prosperous year turned into a dead end. And that design assistant I just hired… never got the chance to start.
This is were the change began. Don’t get me wrong, the ideas and plans didn’t happen right away. It first started with all the “What Now?” questions, sleeping in, binge watching TV, doing all the unproductive things that most of the world was doing. But in the end, that’s just not me. I like being productive and I enjoy working towards something. Being stagnate and waiting for it to come to me… well, that’s just not how I do things. I am a believer in hard work. If something doesn’t work, then try it another way.
So after realizing that this wasn’t going to end anytime soon, I decided it was time to start thinking of what was next. I tapped into this women’s networking group, The KNOW Women, that I had been apart of for 2 years. They too had to change and figure out this new world of online/virtual meetings. They had weekly master-mind classes and group chats.. anything from how to manage your business in this new environment, how to apply for the PPP, to self-care support and everything in-between! I was watching and listening to other women engaging and connecting. I had a platform that I could use to talk about design, and slowly realized there was an opportunity were I could still continue to help people curate work spaces for their new “Work From Home” lifestyle. Which eventually turned into an entirely new chapter for my business. And before I knew it, I added E-Designer to my resume!
While I wasn’t capping the year with any huge or significant financial change, in fact it was the opposite of that, I was so encouraged that I could wake up every day and have something to build, design. create and get excited about! I had helped clients all over Phoenix as well as some kitchen and bath projects in other states. I had to create new processes, forms and contracts… it was still the design I had been doing forever, but just in a new platform.
And it didn’t stop there! Not only was I now designing virtually but because the work wasn’t totally full time, there was still room in my days and weeks to dream about what was next! Would I continue E-Designing forever? Would I ever get to get back into In-Home Design with clients? The design market had clearly changed, supply chain shortages were effecting business. Was this the time to move into something new and if so, what?!
Naturally, the entrepreneur in me decided to open an online Home Décor Boutique, called Fontaine & Co. The boutique is a daily adventure! While its inline with Interior Design, its also an entirely different side of business that I wasn’t totally prepared for, but I was up for the challenge. What else was I going to do, right?! I moved from Service to Product/Retail. I became a buyer of product, I had to create a Shopify Account to sell my product, I had to reach and connect with customers, I was looking at and using social media in an entirely different way. It has been almost a year in business. I am still going strong and looking around every corner to see how I can continue to grow, learn and evolve!
If you are wondering, I am still designing, both In-Home Design projects and E-Design projects! My clients have been amazingly supportive. Most of those projects that were put on hold finally got back on the schedule. The virtual design has afford many people to have a well curated home design plan that they can execute on their own time. So it was a natural progression to keep that service available.
I am not sure if I ever thought I would be doing any or all of these things at one once, but here I am! I pivoted and the pivot that seemed so small at the time, that pivot was just something to do with my day, has turned into a multi-business career opportunity. And who knows where I will go from here!
What’s the most rewarding aspect of being a creative in your experience?
There are some rewards that are common to most creatives… such as the outlet for being creative, the flexibility of the work, and the opportunity to collaborate with others. Producing something that didn’t exist before leads to a sense of accomplishment. I love the collaboration. Creativity often benefits from collaboration, and many people enjoy working with others toward a common goal. I find it really satisfying to help others create dream spaces within their homes, places for them to connect with family and friends!
- Website: https://fontaine-ds.com/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lisa_fontaine_design_studio/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LisaFontaineDesignStudio
- Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lisafontaine/
- Other: https://fontaine-and-co.com/ https://www.facebook.com/fontaineandco https://www.instagram.com/fontaine_and_co/
Photographers include: Nick Sorensen of This is Nick Photography.