Sometimes, you meet people out there in the world and find an instant kinship. Sara and Richard Combs are friends just like that to me. We met through IG, where our mutual respect and admiration for the desert bonded us practically overnight! Our design styles compliment each other so well, it’s almost like we’re on the same frequency, working together toward the same goals.
The Combs own The Joshua Tree House airbnb, an Insta-worthy hacienda ten minutes outside it’s National Park namesake. Just like Trav & I, they’re no strangers to the DIY lifestyle — together they restored the property over 2 years, listing it on Airbnb to help fund the project.
We’ve loved to visit this beautiful retreat. Every time I make it out to Joshua Tree, it’s like I get to take a deeeeep breath in the open-ness of the landscape. And Sara & Rich’s spaces are so lovingly designed to highlight the environment, I can surrender completely to that feeling of relaxation. I love going in Spring most of all: the desert is a perfect cure for June Gloom!
Last year, in addition to celebrating their first wedding anniversary, our friends expanded their beautiful brand. Sara & Rich just opened up a 5 suite inn in Tucson, AZ. Our family definitely knows the blood, sweat, and tears that go into a renovation project of this magnitude! So we just invited ourselves on over to celebrate. 😉
Our trip to The JTH Posada!
Our family’s trip to Seattle in July was our first Covid quarantine break since March. We were so fortunate to have taken two weeks to reconnect with family! After that first leap of faith, we felt much better about making the trip to Arizona. And I am SO glad we had this end-of-summer respite to unwind before the craziness of school-at-home started.
After all, safety is priority, but so is our mental health! We need to balance the two, thinking of safe and creative destinations to get out and about. Sometimes when our spaces feel most cramped and energy feels wild or unsettled the best option is just to get away! The JTH Posada definitely gave us a space that was intimate and self-contained, so we could keep a healthy distance from other guests.
We stayed in the Ocotillo Suite, which has 2 bedrooms & 1 bathroom, with access to a second shared bathroom on property — the perfect size to keep our family in a vacation mindset. My older girls LOVED having their own room together, away from us. They felt very grown up! Plus, both bathrooms gave me a ton of inspiration for our upcoming Desert Bathroom makeover! (I can’t wait to share it with you.)
The suite also had some great shared spaces that made it feel very homey. The cute kitchenette was a fun zone for us to cook breakfast in bed. When Travis & the girls ventured out, the sitting area gave me a dreamy space to catch up on work.
One evening we roasted s’mores by an open fire pit—not that we needed the heat. The sun had gone down and it was still 95°! The chocolate practically melted itself! On other nights together we played board games and held family movie nights. This is something the Yokotas are very into! Even on vacation.
Healing Desert Vibes
Even though JTH Posada is a full-blown inn, Sara & Rich approached each space with a special vision. The Ocotillo Suite is totally different from the other suites on property, but every room has its own unique, pueblo-style charm! This design story is told through rustic texture where it meets contemporary clean lines.
The Combs’ thoughtful minimalism uses organic shapes and colors that showcase the surrounding environment. Everything feels of-the-place, embedded in the panoramic landscape. It’s enough to just be on property, soaking in the enormous, open sky! The desert is the kind of place where you can enjoy moving slowly.
I even woke up early to meditate! I like using the cool, quiet mornings to meditate, clearing my busy mind. The Posada has a tranquil yoga room (they thought of everything!) where I would go to step away from our suite for some self-reflection. Travis enjoyed using it as a music venue, too! The acoustics were great, and the view was stunning.
Monsoon weather arrived with us, and it was so refreshing! I was surprised by the rain, since I never knew monsoons occurred in Arizona. I had only associated them with Asia and tropical places. At the Desert Museum, I learned the summer rains come in from coastal Mexico every summer, and help suppress the heat.
The land is so wide open, you can watch the monsoons roll in across the horizon in the evenings. The storms are short and furious, full of lightning and thunder, flooding everything immediately. As fast as the water appears, it’s absorbed into the desert! What the earth isn’t able to soak up in time will evaporate in the sweltering temperatures. It amazes me how alive this unforgiving environment really is, and how quickly it can change even on the stillest of days.
Practice Going Slow.
This is a land of extremes. It’s a relentless biome, where wildlife conservation and habitat preservation are important topics. I loved the Desert Museum as an opportunity to show my girls an ecosystem at work, and the importance of balance—both in nature, and in our day-to-day lives. Coming to the desert is a way of life apart from suburbia, and there’s so much to learn here!
My favorite part was the night we had dinner with Sara and Rich. It is such a joy to connect with like-minded, creative people! This was something I had missed so much after spending months quarantined from colleagues. I love bouncing ideas together and exchanging resources. It’s such a relief to share the triumphs and challenges of entrepreneurship with people who GET IT and support you!
Our whole trip was a reminder to settle the mind, body, and spirit in order to create space for the new. And these little lessons are everywhere! In the afternoon, the Sonora Desert gets so hot and still it seems like nothing could possibly endure the baking sun! But then dusk comes alive with the vivid color of Southwestern sunsets, and it’s a completely new territory, marked by the call of coyotes in the distance.
Maybe I admire slow living because my life can feel like it’s anything but. Staying at JTH Posada helped me to totally immerse myself in the desert landscape and the renewal it represents for me. For a moment, I can step out of all the bustle I so easily get lost at home so I can see clearly. For miles and miles! And there is so much possibility on the horizon.