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Married with Furniture
By Catherine Hong
Deep in the heart of West Texas, a husband-and-wife design team has built a brand inspired by their surroundings -- warm colors, weathered surfaces, and an abundance of sunshine. Welcome to their studio and their idea house, which embody their comfortable, colorful aesthetic.
Jamey Garza and his wife, textile designer Constance Garza, arrived in Texas in 2003 to work on a hotel project. They thought they’d stay for just a year and eventually settled in Austin, but a full decade later, they’re still living and working in the town that gives their flourishing home-design company its name: Garza Marfa.
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Big and Bright
Color and craftsmanship are the hallmarks of Garza Marfa’s furniture, textiles, and interiors.
A Garza Marfa saddle-leather cot with pillows made from vintage blankets, at Corte del Norte, a rentable guest property in Marfa that the Garzas designed. They painted the wall a deep navy after realizing that the strong Texas afternoon sunlight “washed away the room,” says Constance. “Now the space has a glow.”
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State of Mind
Their signature product is a take on the tried-and-true Acapulco chair, an outdoor bucket seat first popularized in Mexico in the 1950s. In the hands of the Garzas, its metal frame is powder-coated in a range of vibrant colors (including aqua, red, and yellow), and in place of the usual woven vinyl cord, the seat is made of polished saddle-grade leather. “It was the first piece we did that made us realize we were on to something,” says Jamey, who learned metalworking as a kid hanging around his grandfather’s radiator-repair shop in Austin. “The saddle leather took the chair from a beach vernacular to a desert vernacular,” he explains. “And then when Constance picked out the group of colors for the base, it felt like an entirely new product.”
At Corte del Norte, the Garzas hung a vintage wall-size geological map of Texas behind a pair of round saddle-leather chairs and an end table. The chocolate-brown drum-dyed leather, paired with a white-painted steel base, makes for one of Jamey’s favorite combinations. (They also used looped leather straps to hang the map.)
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The Colorful Home
The cheerful steel bases are also a signature of Garza Marfa’s tables and day beds, as well as their two newest designs: a dining chair and a low-slung waxed-canvas lounge chair. “Jamey gets mad at me because I’m always trying to add more colors to our metal,” says Constance, a former fashion designer who’s clearly the more color-besotted of the two: She has no fear of combining, say, “pink, orange, and yellow -- like a Moroccan rug.”
The couple designed a custom vanity and painted the bathroom floor fire-engine red.
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All of Garza Marfa’s pillows, blankets, and other textile products are sewn by Constance herself. She has a particular fondness for indigo fabrics, Indian quilts, and vintage Bolivian frazadas, the traditional striped blankets. “I love how no two are ever the same,” she says.
Here are stacks of napkins designed by Constance, many made with Liberty of London floral prints.
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Stripes, Prints, Inspiration
Constance’s collection of vintage Moroccan blankets.
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Constance in her studio, in front of a painting by local Marfa artist Leslie Wilkes.
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A vintage suzani from Uzbekistan that Constance found on eBay hangs behind a Garza Marfa platform bed at Corte del Norte. “I like to layer colors,” says Constance, who dyed the silk velvet for the pillow to match the yellow in the textile.
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One of Garza Marfa’s (garzamarfa.com) newest designs -- a lounge chair with a waxed-cotton canvas seat, native Texas pecan–wood armrests, and beaded lacing across the back.
In the past year, things have happened quickly for the couple. Heath Ceramics has started carrying their products in San Francisco and Los Angeles. And their new canvas chairs are already installed at the Ace hotels in Los Angeles and Casco Viejo, Panama. Their latest project, however, is a bit more slowgoing. “We’ve been working on our own place -- two old adobe houses that we’re connecting with a breezeway for what feels like years,” says Jamey. “But I know we’ll see the light.”