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Destinations: The Joshua Tree House

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Here at Bourbon+Blue, we love the water. It moves us, inspires us, gives us a reason to get outside and clear our heads. It's with mild irony then that at the top of our wanderlust list is a desert retreat. 
Located in Joshua Tree, California, the Joshua Tree House is a sun-drenched getaway that is as meditative as it is energizing. ( And insanely Instagram-able.) Co-designer and owner Sara Combs was kind enough to indulge our aesthetic daydreams and chat with us about this amazing Airbnb
Tell us a little about you + Rich.

We're high school sweethearts who live and dream in Joshua Tree, CA (located in the Mojave desert). We run our own design studio, as well as our lifestyle brand and vacation rentals called The Joshua Tree House (@thejoshuatreehouse on Instagram).


When y’all started looking for houses in Joshua Tree, did you ever imagine the house turning into what it is today?

Not at all. After a cross country road trip a few years ago, we fell in love with the charm of the small creative community and breathtaking landscape of Joshua Tree. We felt a magnetic pull that we couldn't ignore, and bought the house as a vacation home. We initially thought that we would occasionally rent it to cover the mortgage, but it quickly became so much more than that. The creative freedom of designing a spatial experience for our guests became a passion. 



Your house blends minimalism and warm southwest vibes so well-- where did/do find inspiration (beyond the park itself?)

Thank you! We find a lot of inspiration from the homes themselves. The House was built in 1949, and the Casita in 1958. We love old homes, and always imagine what kind of stories each house holds. Our goal is to stay true to the location and era of each home while bringing that mood to the present day. 


Many of our design choices are also driven by experience. We want our guests to be able to slow down and listen to a record while watching the sun rise from the front porch, or take a sunny afternoon hammock nap. You'll see lots of hanging chairs, hammocks, and swings throughout our spaces that are there as reminders to play and rest. Our houses are places to reflect, reset, and create.


Do you have a favorite space in the house or casita? 

At the House we really love the living room. We have two hanging chairs that look out through three original casement windows to scattered Joshua Trees. The view still looks completely surreal to us.


At the Casita, we love spending time out in the garden. Under the pergola and string lights, we have an outdoor living room with daybeds and a long picnic table. We've spent many magical nights out there having dinner parties or simply soaking in the stars and silence. 



Any favorite stories from the house?

Historically, we love that the House was one of the early homes built in Joshua Tree. Around that time, it was starting to become popular to build a homestead cabin due to the homestead act that promised free parcels of land with an 'improvement' of some kind. For most, this was building a small structure. The Casita started as one of these cabins, and the House was built next door to the Joshua Tree Inn as the Innkeepers quarters! Driving through Joshua Tree, you'll still see many of these homesteads scattered across the land. Some are in various stages of decay, and some are under renovation by a new generation of dreamers.




What local artisans (goods, foods, spirits, we love ‘em all)  we should be on the lookout for next time we’re out near Joshua Tree?

A local shop called bkb ceramics carries their own gorgeous ceramics as well as many local artisans, so it's a great place to stop for local work. Inside, you'll also find Wonder Valley olive oil, and various weavings and writings from the studio at AZ West. The Joshua Tree Candle co is hand pouring desert inspired scented candles, and Blockshop Textiles is producing gorgeous scarves and rugs. Food wise, the ladies at la Copine are making art in the kitchen every day.



Do you and Rich have any Airbnb travels planned for yourself this year?

Yes! We just stayed at a magical little 100 year old cabin in Montecito, CA, and are looking forward to an adventure in Ireland later this year. 



What dream events would you love to hold at the Joshua Tree House? 

We love hosting workshops. Last year, Emily Katz the macrame artist held a macrame and meditation workshop at the House. That was pretty magical! We've also been dreaming about hosting a dinner party in the Casita garden with some live acoustic music.


And finally, what is one piece of advice that you can’t live without?

Elle Luna's book the Crossroads of Should and Must has a ton of inspiring advice. It helped guide us to trust our guts. Our gut knows the difference between what we believe we 'should' do, and what we feel deep down that we 'must' do. Trusting and following those musts leads down a truly beautiful path.


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