Published on February 21, 2019

It all began with a blue tile.

“I wanted a backsplash and started researching tile companies and designs. I found Zia’s site, saw that Nova tile, and I was in love,” says Lindsay Hollinger, artist, designer, and newly minted owner of the coolest kitchen in Joshua Tree. “The cobalt color and star motif remind me of the desert sky and Georgia O’Keeffe. The tile kick-started the whole affair; after I chose [it], everything came together pretty quickly.” 

The kitchen in question is part of a 1200-square-foot home near Joshua Tree National Park. Affectionally dubbed #thatdeserthouse, it’ll be available to rent in March 2019. Hollinger, along with friend and business partner James Burial, has been slowly renovating the entire home. The kitchen is the first room the duo completed, and while it was a labor of love, the end result was totally worth it.

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“It felt endless!” says Hollinger of the four-month-long kitchen reno. “The biggest challenge was installing the tile ourselves. James taught himself how to do it, and I was his assistant. I was so nervous we’d mess it up, but it worked out great and ended up being fun.”

Aside from the tiles, there were a few key items Hollinger’s dream kitchen had to include. White appliances, a refreshing departure from the overly modern fixtures of most contemporary kitchens, topped the list. She had long wanted a built-in dining nook—“it’s a great way to maximize space,” explains the artist. She also added a black sink basin inspired by another Airbnb she once vacationed in.

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Photography by Lindsay Hollinger

The design duo kept the original neutral floors but tore everything else out and started fresh. They wanted the new space to reflect the surrounding desert landscape—warm, natural, and layered.

“I love spaces where the interior amplifies the exterior environment,” says Hollinger, noting that she was hooked by the home’s views from the very beginning. “I wanted to create an indoor space that reflects the natural world and makes guests feel inspired by the Mojave desert. I’m endlessly inspired by Georgia O’Keeffe’s homes and always look to her for interior inspiration, so I definitely pored over tons of pictures of her two homes in Abiquiú, New Mexico.”

As a result, colors were kept subdued and finishes were kept natural. The kitchen is a largely neutral space—save for the bold tile, of course—accented with woven pieces like a rattan pendant light and throw pillows. Open shelving displays a carefully chosen assortment of dinnerware and servingware, which serves just as stylish a purpose as it does a functional one.

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Photography by Lindsay Hollinger

Speaking of function, practicality was kept top of mind throughout the renovation. Beyond building her dream kitchen, Hollinger was also building a space to eventually rent out on Airbnb, and designing for hospitality comes with certain parameters.

Aside from cleanliness—she included a glass-top stove expressly for easy cleanup—this meant thinking about warmth and an inviting environment.

“Design with your guest in mind,” says Hollinger of her top tip for creating a space based around guest use. “What will they cook? Most likely, breakfast and happy hour snacks. How will they use the furniture? I imagined a game of cards at the kitchen table, so I included comfy chairs and lots of pillows.”

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Photography by Lindsay Hollinger

She recommends going the extra mile with personal touches in your guest-friendly kitchen. A wine opener, oven mitts, decaf tea for older guests, and enough dish towels make all the difference. And don’t forget the most important meal of the day: coffee.

“Morning coffee and tea accessories are a must for any good Airbnb, so I bought really special mugs from local Joshua Tree potter Elizabeth Eisenstein of ZZIEE Ceramics so guests could stylishly sip coffee while enjoying the view from the patio.”

In this carefully designed and painstakingly outfitted kitchen, the tiles may draw you in, but the thoughtful accents are what make you want to pull up a chair to the dining nook and stay a while.  

See more stunning transformations:
This Tiny Bathroom Before and After Is Truly Jaw-Dropping
A Wow-Worthy Kitchen Transformation Plays Up Unexpected Color
Justina Blakeney Gives a Dated Bathroom a Boho Makeover