Meet the Minds Behind These Completely Self-Sustainable Homes in Joshua Tree
Written By: Lynne Eodice
Photographed By: Nathan Cox sustainable houses in Joshua Tree
“Off the grid doesn’t mean rustic,” explains Ida Alwin, one of the owners of Baltic Sands Properties, an environmentally sensitive desert design company. The idea of fully sustainable homes was born in the winter of 2016, when Ewa & Jacques Marais came to the desert to visit Aldwin, their niece. Today, Alwin is Owner and Operations Manager of the company, and Ewa Marais is the CEO. Marais is an interior designer whose work has been featured in many décor magazines and has designed homes for many years in South Africa. Aldwin comes from a career in TV production in London. Her love for the desert brought her to Johnson Valley, California, where she built a prototype sustainable home.
“We were always interested in environmentally-sensitive housing, but Ida approached us with a business plan,” Marais says. “My husband and I thought it was a really great idea. Who better to partner with than somebody who’s as passionate about it as Ida?”
According to Alwin, Baltic Sands homes are completely 100 percent off-grid, and each has its own well. “They’re completely solar powered,” she points out. “We use mini-splits—one of the most energy efficient products on the market—to heat and cool the homes.” In addition to their ability to control the temperature in individual rooms, mini-splits utilize air purifiers, she adds.
They’re powered by solar panels, and energy is converted from the solar panels to the homes. Each home also comes with its own backup generator.
The first Baltic Sands home, JT1, sold very quickly as an Airbnb property, and JT2 is currently on the market at $835,000. Both have sleek, contemporary designs, an open floor plan and high ceilings. Two more sustainable homes are being designed in nearby Pioneertown, in addition to a third in Joshua Tree.
“We have a strong vision,” says Alwin. “We want to bring off-grid, sustainable living to a mass market.”
Baltic Sands Properties
7355 Church St
Yucca Valley, CA 92284 sustainable houses in Joshua Tree
760.853.0077 sustainable houses in Joshua Tree