Garza Marfa

Simple midcentury-modern furniture fizzes with Texan cowboy flair at a showroom in this must-see desert town

Image: Justin Clemons

The small town of Marfa, Texas, may be a three-hour drive from the closest airport, but it has long been a bucket-list destination for art lovers, thanks to the late Donald Judd. The artist made Marfa his home in the 1970s and created the Chinati Foundation, one of the biggest permanent collections of large-scale and site-specific art installations in the world.

This corner of west Texas is not known, however, for its shops, but here Garza Marfa – a furniture and textile showroom – stands out. Husband-and-wife owners Jamey Garza and Constance Holt-Garza (first picture) have lived in Marfa for over a decade – they originally moved to Texas from Los Angeles to work on the renovation of Hotel San José in Jamey’s hometown of Austin. But what brought them to Marfa was a commission to make furniture for the renovation of a 1950s motel called the Thunderbird, and they’ve been there ever since.

Image: Justin Clemons

The couple owned the two buildings that are now home to the Garza Marfa showroom and workshop for three years before opening to the public. A former appliance store and repair shop, the wood-framed corrugated-steel buildings are in a largely residential neighbourhood (the couple live across the street). Most of the fabrication of their furniture – in various combinations of vegetable-tanned saddle leather, regional woods and steel – is done on site.

“I’ve never been involved in the cowboy part of Texas,” admits Jamey, “but I love everything in the saddlery shop in [the nearby town of] Alpine, and started buying some leather through them, playing around with it on metal frames.” The results are very simple yet sophisticated, referencing the southwest in terms of materials but with shapes that are firmly rooted in midcentury modernism. The collection was launched with leather and steel pieces that include a round lounge chair (from $1,400) with a plain or powder-coated-steel base, an ottoman (from $735), a bench (from $1,380), bar stools (from $980) in two heights and a daybed (from $2,200). More recently, the couple have been experimenting with canvas, creating, for example, a sling armchair ($1,350, second picture) with lacing up the back, an upholstered daybed ($1,900) in navy, grey or army-green waxed canvas and a matching pouffe ($885). “The furniture mixes well in so many different environments – from woody southwest tile and serape to midcentury houses,” explains Jamey.

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But it looks even better when paired with the colourful textiles either sourced or made by Constance. Found around the shop are stacks of vintage Bolivian blankets (from $275), which she also makes into throw pillows (from $200). Textiles by Constance is her line of table linens, with napkins (from $26) and place mats (from $15) in colours “informed by this high desert landscape”.

Garza Marfa is currently by appointment only, but showing true Southern hospitality, the couple will also open their doors to those who simply drop by.

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