Ernesto Garcia bath

It all started with ivory Chanel and a pale blue blouse. That’s what Ernesto Garcia’s client wore the day they met to discuss plans to reimagine her 9,250-square-foot Arizona abode. Garcia, one of the Southwest’s most acclaimed designer-architects, listened thoughtfully to his client: she and her husband were recent Park Avenue transplants who shared a love of the art and romance of southern Europe, and had recently relocated west to be with family and start their own.

Garcia listened. And when he left, what he remembered was not only these, but also a gold-and-lapis brush the client revealed from her purse as the afternoon went on. For all the notes taken about her love of Florence and Rome, one look at the finished product says everything about the way Garcia works. The master bath: gold fixtures, an Italian mosaic in ivory, pale blue and lapis. Talk about reading your environment.

“Environment” is a big word for Ernesto. In fact, for him, that’s what it’s all about.

“Creating the environment, understanding the client, using fabulous products” is his mantra, Garcia says. This notion of “environment” goes far beyond fabric swatches and paint chips. Environment is, as in the case above, fashion. Environment is climate and geography. Environment is the emotional experience one has in his space – elation, drama, peace.

THG bath tub

To create this project, Garcia understood the importance of using, as he says, “fabulous products.” For the master bath at hand, Garcia didn’t think twice about using THG – Art Déco Cristal fittings and accessories.

“I’m in love with THG,” Garcia said. “Wherever I can use it, I do. Regardless of the scale of the house.”

In this case, “scale” proved no object. As beautifully illustrated by Garcia, THG’s immaculate fittings stood up to the most luxurious of master baths, looking perfectly at home among 120,000 Italian mosaic tiles. And speaking of the mosaic, one glance at the shower points to the remarkable artistry that went into the project. With THG selected for all faucetry and fixtures, Garcia undertook the daunting task of designing a mosaic to encompass the THG showerheads and knobs. In what looks like a scene pulled from a Florentine villa, the shower mosaic actually came to life in a most postmodern way: a highly technological application of printed mesh created a tessellation inspired by patterns and frescoes innovated over 2,500 years ago, then laid amongst some of the most renowned pieces in faucetry.

Ernesto Garcia mosaic

At the sink, a similarly striking representation came to fruition with a different aesthetic approach. Limiting the mosaic to the shower, the tub, and a mosaic “rug” in the center of the bathroom, Garcia complemented the gold plated THGArt Déco Cristal washbasin faucet with a custom-designed Italian lapis marble mirror. The hand-cut mirror balances perfectly with Art Déco Cristal’s half-rounded edges, creating an effect both soft and delicate, yet strong and definitive in design.

Ernesto Garcia sink

The room’s color palette was an important consideration for Garcia, as he opted for THG’s gold finish, accented beautifully with bursts of cream, ochre, and lapis throughout – the latter which brings out the faucet’s sparkling plating. Despite the bath’s southern European overtones, Garcia remained acutely aware of the practical application of his design and color scheme: the American Southwest.

“The sky [in Arizona] is an incredible blue,” Garcia mused. “I know the colors of the desert to a tee and this is the desert.”

An Italian desert. That is Garcia’s masterpiece. A place where the history and technique of Palladian architecture meets the splendor and expanse of Arizona’s topography. Where gold is the Italian sol and the desert sun. Where blue is the most revered of marble hues and the rich saturation of the sky. A meeting of the minds of art and practicality: Garcia’s vision, as executed with the most meticulous materials.

This consideration for style, craft, and design earned Garcia not only adoration from clients but also from industry peers. In 2011, Garcia received ASID’s (American Society of Interior Designers) Award of Excellence for work on this desert home and casita. Without a doubt, the master bath played a major role in the jury’s consideration.

As with all the elements featured in his artistry, Garcia is quite taken by THG’s approach to craftsmanship and design, as he derives his eclectic inspiration from the brand’s classicism.

“There is a reminiscence, a nostalgic quality about THG,” Garcia says. “It reminds one of wonderful French hotels and chateaus. I’ve seen the ancestors of these models and THG has done a fantastic job recreating them as flawless modern versions. And then, to get the gold finish as impeccable as it is, and the crystal as lovely without being over-the-top…This type of quality is typically unheard of in faucetry and plumbing.”

Ernesto Garcia bathroom

This strength in design – and in construction – gives Garcia the artistic freedom to incorporate THG in even the most unexpected circumstances. “I’m not afraid to choose a very modern looking vanity and still use THG, because there is a classic quality,” he explains.

And in a master bath pulled from the pages of different eras, different regions, cultures, the classic quality persists. Like the timeless elegance of the ivory Chanel, THG remains a constant for Garcia – a standard. For Ernesto, a faucet isn’t just a faucet. It’s an object we have intimate contact with every day, one that makes a decisive mark on our environment, and must be able to live on its own – mosaic, or not.

Or, as Garcia puts it, with the greatest of word economy: “Let the faucet do the talking.”

All photos courtesy of photographer Kim Perina.

Ernesto Garcia Interior Design, LLC, provides high-end interior design services for residential, commercial and hospitality projects in a range of traditional to contemporary styles. As an award-winning professional member of the American Society of Interior Designers, his work has been extensively published. Located in Arizona, between Phoenix and Scottsdale, Ernesto provides interior design services to many customers in Paradise Valley, and also has projects nationally and internationally.

For more information, about Ernesto Garcia Interior Design, LLC, visit www.ernestogarciadesign.com