The North Coast Feature


Sarah Garcia—A Dominicana Role Model

Sarah Garcia is revered as an architect, considered by many to be the top designer on the North Coast, if not in the entire country. She has become the architect of choice for the moneyed owners of Sea Horse Ranch. Her contemporary homes are showpieces in their gated communities. But she also designs resorts, and a prime example is the boutique hotel Casa Colonial, which was challenging because of its odd-shape oceanfront setting in Playa Dorada.

Garcia is one of five daughters of Don Isidro Garcia, a poor boy from rural Río San Juan. When he was a boy, her father sold small packets of rice to neighbors, traveling on horseback. But from these humble beginnings he grew up to become a land baron, making his fortune in cacao and cattle; in 1986 he began to invest in resorts. Don Isidro recently passed away at the age of 82, leaving his daughters to manage his estate. As Sarah says: "My father was my hero. I couldn't believe that he could die. We were all girls, and he raised us to be proud and to be strong together, as well as individuals. This is a country of men, and I worked so hard to develop myself. In New York it is difficult to make a name for yourself; imagine here? Dominican women use their 'weapons' (sensuality); I let my work speak for itself. People say that I am the best, but the most important thing is to compete with yourself. Thank God, the clients come to me now. I don't have time to knock the doors!"

Garcia's advanced education took her to the United States, England, France, and finally Italy, and it was in the latter where she became accredited in interior design and where she met her husband, Roberto Casoni, who is the vice-president for the Victoria Hotel Group. "As for Roberto," she says, "we have love and we are partners, too. I was lucky to find the other half of my orange! He understands my desire to work and to continue to reinvent myself. I feel that makes me both a better wife and mother."

Garcia volunteered her services to redesign the family home of Independence hero Gregorian Luperón, to create a museum for national heroes. It's in the old town of Puerto Plata, the city of her birth, and is expected to open in 2011.

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