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These High School Sweethearts Are Bringing Desert Dreams to Life in Joshua Tree

Written By: Jordan Nishkian
Photography Provided By: The Joshua Tree House and Tim Melideo

For Sara and Rich Combs, what began as a cross-country road trip to escape the daily grind turned into a booming project, dedicated to helping others reconnect with themselves and with nature.

“We really fell in love with Joshua Tree on that trip,” Sara says. “After we went back [home] to New York, we kept thinking about how good it felt there, how creative we felt there with the open landscape.”

The couple was drawn back to the California desert, and “without questioning it,” they bought The Joshua Tree House. While it originally began as a home for them to reset and work on their own projects, the Combs soon found success in listing their home as an Airbnb.

“We realized other people were craving a space like that as well,” Sara shares. “We eventually opened it up full-time for bookings, and then we fell in love with creating spaces for people where they can reconnect with nature and have that time to reset.”

From there, the couple began renovating more spaces and taking on more projects, which has, in turn, shone a light on how they work together as a team. While both share a similar aesthetic, Rich is more detail-oriented, and Sara is more big-picture. “Even when we were [painting] in high school and college, Sara would always work with all these really big brushes and use her entire arm,” Rich explains. “Then I would come in with a very small brush and paint the little details.”

While both their business and personal relationships sound worthy of a storybook, the journey hasn’t been without its obstacles. In 2019, the pair took on their largest and most challenging project yet: The Posada in Arizona.

“We got this property in Tucson that was an old, abandoned inn, and we wanted to renovate it,” Sara shares. “It was the biggest space we’d ever done, and we just went for it because it felt perfect.” They soon found that perfection doesn’t come easily. The property was draining both their energy and finances, and the space was simply not cooperating with them.

Not ones to turn away from a challenge, the duo pushed through, prevailed and opened the space, transforming their biggest obstacle into a joint victory. Now the couple is taking a well-deserved break—“resting, relaxing and reconnecting,” the Joshua Tree way.

 

Sara and Rich’s Essentials: Joshua Tree House

  1. Vintage pieces are more eco-friendly and have more character.
  2. Natural materials are perfect for the desert landscape. 
  3. Plants blur the line between indoors and outdoors.
  4. Coffee—of course! 
  5. Get a good playlist going.

 

The Joshua Tree House
Joshua Tree, CA
@thejoshuatreehouse Joshua Tree House