By Shani Silver

Published on October 5, 2015

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When an artist and designer decides to create a rental home (haven?) in the desert, ethereal wonder is certain to ensue. That’s precisely what happened when Sara Combs and her husband Rich purchased The Joshua Tree House, and set out to create a space devine in the desert. We’re skipping the beach, the mountains, even the Seine to spend our next vacation under a Joshua Tree sky.

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Photography by SARA & RICH COMBS
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Photography by SARA & RICH COMBS

HOW DID THIS (GORGEOUS!) PROJECT COME ABOUT?

It began last year with a month long cross-country road trip. My husband Rich and I got in a routine of driving a few hours each morning, and spending the rest of the day hiking a National Park along the route.This was our first time to Joshua Tree, and it felt different than all the rest of our stops. Something about this place pulled us in and stayed in our thoughts. Exactly one year later, we found ourselves looking to buy a home in Joshua Tree. 

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Photography by SARA & RICH COMBS
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Photography by SARA & RICH COMBS
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Photography by SARA & RICH COMBS

Sara & Rich Combs

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Photography by SARA & RICH COMBS

As soon as we stepped foot onto the property of the Joshua Tree house, we knew it was both special and the perfect place to share with others who needed to reset, reflect, and create.

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Photography by SARA & RICH COMBS

IS JOSHUA TREE A PLACE YOU FEEL CONNECTED TO? WHAT DREW YOU TO THE DESERT?

We felt connected to Joshua Tree after our first stop there on our cross country drive, and the crazy thing is that we had only stayed there one night at that point! Now that we’ve spent so much time there working on our house, we’ve gotten to see what an amazingly creative community it has. 

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Photography by SARA & RICH COMBS
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Photography by SARA & RICH COMBS
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Photography by SARA & RICH COMBS

While the desert can seem desolate, it’s actually a place that allows people to really focus on what they love without distractions.

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Photography by SARA & RICH COMBS
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Photography by SARA & RICH COMBS
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Photography by SARA & RICH COMBS
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Photography by SARA & RICH COMBS
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Photography by SARA & RICH COMBS

WHAT DECOR GOALS DID YOU HAVE FOR THIS SPACE?

We let the house lead a lot of our design decisions. With its incredible shiplap ceilings, worn concrete floors, and over 100 Joshua Trees on the property, it already had so much character. Our goal was to let those qualities shine. 

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Photography by SARA & RICH COMBS
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Photography by SARA & RICH COMBS
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Photography by SARA & RICH COMBS

We did so by bringing some outdoor colors in, such as the peaches of the sand and blues of the sky. The rest of the palette we kept fairly neutral. Our personal taste is Mid Century, so we brought a bit of that in as well as honored the rustic tones of the house.

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Photography by SARA & RICH COMBS
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Photography by SARA & RICH COMBS
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Photography by SARA & RICH COMBS
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Photography by SARA & RICH COMBS

WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE PART OF THIS DESIGN PROCESS?

Joshua Tree has a lot of amazing vintage shops, so being able to utilize them for finding unique items for the house was so fun.

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Photography by SARA & RICH COMBS

We also made it a focus to buy pieces from some of our favorite artists and designers. It felt like if we were going to be buying so much stuff, that we should support the people we truly admire.

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Photography by SARA & RICH COMBS
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Photography by SARA & RICH COMBS
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Photography by SARA & RICH COMBS

AND THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE?

We live in San Francisco, so finding the time to drive the eight hours and spend time down in Joshua Tree was definitely the biggest challenge.

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Photography by SARA & RICH COMBS

 It was also difficult when ordering pieces for the house online, because the shipment and our arrival to Joshua Tree needed to time out perfectly. There was definitely a lot of coordinating involved!

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Photography by SARA & RICH COMBS
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Photography by SARA & RICH COMBS
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Photography by SARA & RICH COMBS

WHAT IS YOUR PERSONAL FAVORITE PLACE TO BE IN THIS HOME, OR ON THE PROPERTY?

Oh, it’s really hard to choose! The front porch has incredible views of Joshua trees and the mountains, while the Jacuzzi out back is perfect for stargazing. And then there are those hanging chairs in the living room…

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Photography by SARA & RICH COMBS
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Photography by SARA & RICH COMBS
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Photography by SARA & RICH COMBS
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Photography by SARA & RICH COMBS

WHAT DOES YOUR IDEAL WEEKEND SPENT IN JOSHUA TREE LOOK LIKE?

I would definitely start out with a hike through the National Park. There are so many incredible rock formations and beautiful desert plants to see! Then, I would head to either Country Kitchen or Natural Sisters for breakfast depending on how healthy I want to be. I’d spend the afternoon vintage shopping at some of my favorite places – Holly’s Trading PostRoute 62, and Pioneer Crossing. I’d make sure to watch the sunset, and then grab dinner at Crossroads. The music scene is really great in the area as well, so I would also check both Pappy & Harriet’s and the JT Trading Post to see what shows they have lined up!

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Photography by SARA & RICH COMBS

SEE MORE FROM THE OWNERS HERE:
@THEJOSHUATREEHOUSE@SARACOMBS@RICHCOMBS
THE JOSHUA TREE HOUSE