Joshua Tree House Hunting – Part 2

As many of you know, Jonathan and I have been hunting for a weekend house in Joshua Tree. We drove out a few times in the fall to look at properties. There is not a lot on the market right now and there seem to be a lot of people looking. We initially wanted a mid-century house near the boulders, but quickly realized that there are none on the market. Properties like that almost never come up for sale on the MLS, and when they do they go for a very high price per square foot. Meaning they are probably going to be cash deals. I think people tend to keep a lot of these properties in their family for decades or sell to friends. So we had to be kind of open-minded and look at what is on the market now.


I was initially really excited about this big metal building, behind a small house. I thought it would make a great art studio for me.

But the building was kind of huge and too overwhelming. But impressive.


Great mid-century 1 bedroom house. It needed a lot of work and was too small for us. Beautiful windows and fireplace. I hope someone with good taste buys this and really makes it shine.

Some of the houses had spectacular views but were a bit suburban. P1070009

Breakfast nook with a killer view of valley and Big Bear in the distance.

This place was an art barn/house with a ton of land and a shipping container. It used to be a sweet potato farm.
I really liked the barn, but it didn’t have enough living space. And I wasn’t really sure what we would do with 23 acres of desert. 

Cute place with new metal fences in 29 Palms. Lots of outdoor patio space. And a shipping container.


We think this is some kind of un-finished fountain in the living room of this house. It might need a pulsing laminar stream. You see a lot of strange architectural details in houses in Joshua Tree.


Desert modern, a product of the oughts. Very SCI-arc. Clad in concrete board. We initially just wanted to see this place out of curiosity, but we kind of liked it. It’s very sharp, angular and masculine.


View of Joshua trees & the National Park in the distance. The owners of this house said that a bobcat came right up to this window once. I saw a coyote chasing a rabbit.

We saw a lot of properties on this trip. Here were a few properties I got excited about, but they were so different. I said it was like comparing 1000 ladybugs, an albino tiger and a two-headed snake. Each one was very different and had different possibilities. All in all I realized I was less concerned with having a mid-century house (and boulders) and just wanted something architecturally significant with a great view. The views are really important to me as a landscape designer. As is having bonus space for my art studio. Originally that was a “nice to have” but it became a “must have”.

We drove into Palm Springs and mulled it over at the Ace Hotel. There were a lot of pros and cons. And we asked each other if we were crazy. But we pretty quickly decided to put in an offer on one of these places. Can you guess which one we picked?!

Stay tuned for Part 3 of our Joshua Tree House Hunting saga.