A Modern, Minimalist Artist Retreat in Marfa, Texas

Take a spin around a modernist, West Texas compound. Designed by the late Marlys Tokerud, this rental is a testament to her iconic legacy as well as a warm and welcoming take on Marfa-style minimalism.

Photo By: Rustic White Interiors

Photo By: Rustic White Interiors

Photo By: Rustic White Interiors

Photo By: Rustic White Interiors

Photo By: Rustic White Interiors

Photo By: Rustic White Interiors

Photo By: Rustic White Interiors

Photo By: Rustic White Interiors

Photo By: Rustic White Interiors

Photo By: Rustic White Interiors

Photo By: Rustic White Interiors

Photo By: Rustic White Interiors

Photo By: Rustic White Interiors

Photo By: Rustic White Interiors

Photo By: Rustic White Interiors

Photo By: Rustic White Interiors

Photo By: Rustic White Interiors

Photo By: Rustic White Interiors

Photo By: Rustic White Interiors

Photo By: Rustic White Interiors

Photo By: Rustic White Interiors

Photo By: Rustic White Interiors

Photo By: Rustic White Interiors

Photo By: Rustic White Interiors

Photo By: Rustic White Interiors

Photo By: Rustic White Interiors

Photo By: Rustic White Interiors

Photo By: Rustic White Interiors

Photo By: Rustic White Interiors

Photo By: Rustic White Interiors

Photo By: Rustic White Interiors

Photo By: Rustic White Interiors

Photo By: Rustic White Interiors

Photo By: Rustic White Interiors

Photo By: Rustic White Interiors

Photo By: Rustic White Interiors

Photo By: Rustic White Interiors

Photo By: Rustic White Interiors

Photo By: Rustic White Interiors

Photo By: Rustic White Interiors

Photo By: Rustic White Interiors

Photo By: Rustic White Interiors

Photo By: Rustic White Interiors

Photo By: Rustic White Interiors

Photo By: Rustic White Interiors

Photo By: Rustic White Interiors

Photo By: Rustic White Interiors

Photo By: Rustic White Interiors

The Story

The late Texan interior designer Marlys Tokerud (1936-2016) of Tokerud + Co. created a magnificent indoor-outdoor compound in Marfa, Texas. Available as a short-term vacation rental, the three structures on the property include a main house, a casita and a pavilion with accordion sliding glass doors that open up for spectacular entertaining.

The Main House

One of the main building materials used by iconic artist Donald Judd, who moved from New York City to Marfa in the late 1970s, is concrete. The exterior of the Tokerud + Co. compound features an industrial, organic concrete application along with brick and a corrugated aluminum roof. Thanks to the dry weather and stunning West Texas landscapes, almost any spot on the property is ideal for sitting back and enjoying the slow pace of Marfa.

Chihuahuan Desert Terrain

The low maintenance exterior features wild grasses that define the landscape of the Chihuahuan Desert terrain. Architects, artists and landscape professionals in Marfa embrace many of the vernacular natural grasses, using them for decorative ornamentation.

Outdoor Shower

The main house offers guests an incredible showering experience with a private outdoor shower along the rear of the property. Industrial in style, the outdoor shower boasts a beautiful combination of steel, concrete, wood and beadboard cladding.

Outdoor Shower Privacy Wall

In true minimalist form, less is more in Marfa. Standing across the road from the property, a privacy wall conceals the outdoor shower so it blends into the exterior architecture.

Concrete Partitions

The Donald Judd-inspired concrete partitions along the property help delineate all of the different exterior spaces and, standing at just 26 inches tall (counter stool height), the partitions double as bench seating when entertaining guests.

Godbold Feed Company

Centrally located right smack in the middle of the downtown district of South Marfa, one of the town's most iconic structures sits directly in the backyard. Godbold Feed Co., which was used for the distribution of groceries in the 1940s, is currently being redeveloped as a distillery.

Multiple Structures

Large wide-open space between the three structures allows for guests to wander freely and take in the incredible desert weather year-round. To connect the three structures visually, a multi-tiered walkway made of wooden decking leads guests over the decorative grasses and stone.

Corrugated Metal

Because of strong desert winds and harsh sunlight, most Marfa homes are made of hardy and low-maintenance materials — creative, yet practical. Corrugated metal is used along the exterior of the casita and the pavilion.

Pavilion

Available on Airbnb as three separate rentals (main house, casita and pavilion) or one entire compound, the pavilion is ideal for entertaining large groups of guests in an al fresco manner thanks to accordion sliding glass doors and cool concrete surfaces. In addition to the entertaining space, the pavilion also offers a kitchen and a bathroom.

Covered Patio

During the day, the weather in Marfa can soar above 100 degrees Fahrenheit, but after dark the temperature can quickly dip down to sweater weather. The covered patio between the casita and the pavilion features a sculptural Donald Judd-inspired concrete fireplace that keeps the area warm for enjoying friends and family fireside.

All About the Materials

Modernist architecture relies heavily on a mix of materials rather than ornamentation and decoration. The exterior of the casita features concrete, corrugated metal, welded steel and wooden decking that's been sealed rather than stained for an organic, gray effect.

Casita Patio

Most casitas are small, but the casita on the Tokerud + Co. compound designed by Marlys Tokerud feels spacious, open and airy thanks to smart design and decorating choices. The great room opens up to become an indoor-outdoor living space with a pivoting picture window made of welded steel and glass.

Open and Close

The pivoting picture window of the casita is hugely helpful for cooling and heating purposes. When open, it aids in excellent ventilation. When closed, it helps keep the chilly night temperatures at bay.

Extra Large Solar Shade

As the sun shifts and the winds change, the casita's dining room can shift with it. Once the pivoting picture window is closed, a solar shade installed just above can be lowered to filter out any harsh UV rays and keep the interior cool and more shaded.

All About the Designer

Inside the casita, guests are greeted by a tribute to late designer Marlys Tokerud, including the meaning of her name, its pronunciation and photos of Tokerud enjoying her life as a celebrated Texas design professional.

Concrete, Metal, Wood and Glass

Four main materials make up the design of the interior of the casita: concrete, metal, wood and glass. While the white walls and grey concrete add a cool touch, the wooden ceiling brings warmth to the space.

Less Is More

Everything incorporated into the casita for decoration serves a purpose and has been meticulously edited. This approach is what makes Marlys Tokerud's design so timeless and classic.

Artistic Accessories

Marfa's arts community offers so many mediums that you can shop for almost any type of object within its tiny city limits. This snake accessory features up-cycled bottled caps to add texture and personality to the tabletop surface.

Structured Seating Space

The gathering area in the casita's great room features a well-structured sofa with tribal-inspired upholstery fabric and a very Marfan coffee table with industrial flair. Made of four hardy chunks of wood fastened together with steel accents, the coffee table's construction is similar to the public works of Marfa art legend Donald Judd.

Stunning Use of Light

A small 4-inch span of frosted glass installed floor to ceiling in the living room adds an ethereal glow to the space. This sculptural chair, strategically placed in front of a concrete wall, becomes a key design feature of the home during daylight hours.

Zippers and Fabric

Marlys Tokerud curated a remarkably unique mix of art inside of the casita. One of the most memorable pieces is made from several layers of a chunky fabric along with layers of zippers.

Artistic Storage Solution

Instead of everyday cabinetry, the designer opted for corrugated door fronts adorned with repetitive screen print labels for a classic grocery store vibe. These add color, shape, contrast and graphic impact to the otherwise modestly sized space.

Light and Bright

All of the rooms inside the casita are kept light and bright thanks to an abundance of windows and white surfaces that bounce natural sunlight around the entire space.

Quirky Kitchen Storage

For industrial flair, the lower kitchen storage is characterized by locker style bins in punchy colors. A classic piñata adds a Tex-Mex touch to the room.

Simplicity

The casita has a single full bathroom designed with materials and a monochromatic palette of bright ultra-white. The simplicity of the white mixed with the classic lines of the tile, mirror and vanity, ensures the room will remain classic for decades to come.

Paint Everything White

Although technically traditional in style, the casita comes across as modern and minimalist, because its walls, trim and flooring are covered in a clean, crisp shade of white paint.

Color Pop

Many interior designers, decorators and architects suggest painting all surfaces of interiors a bright white, not only to help a space feel airy and light, but to allows unique items take center stage. This Mexican blanket in the casita's bedroom becomes the focal point of the room, mostly because it's one of only two things in the space with color and pattern.

Minimalist Storage

Tucked along the side of the bedroom is an entire wall of storage. Plus, a floating modern dresser offers plenty of negative wall space for displaying favorite items or art.

Filtering the Sunlight

The space above the casita's bed features a skylight. For a tent-like vibe, the skylight has been draped with a solar shade to filter out the harsh UV rays during daylight hours.

Organic Texture Everywhere

Another key design element of Marfa interiors is the use of organic texture as decoration. Everything inside of the casita's bedroom is made from organic materials, from the bedding, to the wooden folk art, to the wicker-and-chrome armchair frame.

Across the Way

Across the wide-open space between the three structures sits the main house with its mature trees and grasses. Its simple, industrial modern silhouette adds a nice contrast against the big blue sky.

Marfan Mudroom

Guests are welcomed into the three-bedroom main house by a very Marfan mudroom. A utility space is disguised by a sliding partition made of extra-large chunky woven felt-like fabric. The space offers a place to sit down as well as open storage for hats and bags.

Hard-Working Kitchen

The main house's simple kitchen is ideal for throwing together quick meals. An industrial island offers a great spot to enjoy the company of friends and family.

Industrial Doors and Windows

One of the most spectacular features of the main house is its custom-made industrial steel doors and windows. Here in the spacious living room, steel and glass doors allow light to flood in from outside. They also help regulate temperature when opened and closed. Just beyond the set of doors is a privacy wall along the front of the house made of brick and concrete.

Sculpture Everywhere

Just like the town of Marfa itself, the interior of the Tokerud + Co. property is packed with sculptural elements, including a modular console bench placed directly below an oversized work of modern art.

Surreal Dining Experience

The dining room of the main house is decorated with abstract personality. While the woven chairs and X-base dining table are transitional in style, a trio of ceramic pitchers holding bendable neon pencils and a one-of-a-kind paper and metal chandelier bring in a surreal, artistic touch.

Doodle Lighting

Look closely at the light fixture above the dining table. You'll notice it serves double duty as an ever-evolving art piece. Suspended wires offer space for doodles, drawings, sketches or notes to be changed out with simple clip rings.

Patinated Doors

One of the most unique aspects of interior architecture inside the main house is its use of wooden doors with rich patina. To highlight these, the walls were painted stark white while the casings are painted in a deep contrasting shade of gray-brown.

Modern and Traditional

Marlys Tokerud decorated the main house with a mix of modern, traditional and transitional furnishings. Most designers will agree that the best way to keep a home timeless and classic is to mix eras and styles meticulously. This bedroom epitomizes that approach.

A Collected Vibe

A contemporary platform bed; traditional bedding featuring a Celtic knot pattern; a red painted Asian armoire with a large tumbleweed on display above it; and a primitive wooden bench featuring three folding seats give this bedroom the perfect eclectic ambience.

Asian-Inspired Bath

Industrial, minimal Asian-inspired pieces complete this stylish en suite bathroom.

Safari-Inspired Bedroom

This main house bedroom features safari-inspired elements, such as a woven coverlet, framed artwork and wood grain headboard.

African Touches

Classic African touches and textures complement the design of the lounge area of this bedroom. The campaign style chair, carved stool, rattan armoire and painted vessel weave the motif together seamlessly.

Mosaic Minimalism

Across the hall is a guest bathroom with a stunningly bold, blue mosaic tile covering the interior and exterior of its walk-in shower.

Industrial Bath

Located along the backside of the house, the industrial master bathroom connects guests from the main areas to the privatized outdoor shower.

Play on Shapes

Shapes and textures are important design elements in this industrial-inspired space. Here, a round mirror is mimicked by a vessel sink and the mirror's aluminum sliding is mimicked by the square pedestal below.

Trough Tub

Perhaps the most Texan design feature on the entire property is this soaking tub repurposed from an old metal trough. To keep the area around it architectural and organic, a picture window allows light to flood the space; a concrete column delineates the tub from the adjacent outdoor shower; and a tub filled with dark gray river rocks round out the look.

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