New Year, New You: Sara and Rich Combs of the Joshua Tree House Are Ringing in the New Year with an Exciting Adobe-Style Inn

The interior design influencers are excited to add new offerings to their breathtaking Joshua Tree House rental abodes with an inn outside of Saguaro National Park.

As the new year approaches, people are always eager to refresh their space and start the next chapter off on the right foot. For interior designers, this often means one thing: renovations.

Sara and Rich Combs are owners and founders of the design studio, lifestyle brand and vacation rentals called The Joshua Tree House. For the Combs, the new year is going to be full of new features, as the couple is currently renovating an old inn in Tucson, Arizona, which borders the incredible Saguaro National Park.
“We both grew up on the east coast in Connecticut and actually met in high school,” said Sara in an email. “After working as designers for other companies for many years, we decided to go out on our own and start our freelance design business. During that time, we began to test the boundaries of our work environment; we worked as we drove cross-country and traveled throughout Southeast Asia. When we returned home from our travels, Joshua Tree had stood out from all of the rest of the destinations as a place in which we felt creatively inspired. We immediately went back to Joshua Tree in search of a place to call our own. We scoured real estate sites, toured tons of homes and eventually found our dream home on Craigslist.”
Since then, the Combs have not only renovated that first home that they found in Joshua Tree, called the Joshua Tree House, but a guest house as well, the Casita, and their personal home which is called the Hacienda. Now, the designer duo is taking on a new project—renovating a 10,000-square-foot inn.
“The spaces we choose to renovate have plenty of history and character even before we begin,” said Sara. “Our goal with our renovations is to bring the spaces in some ways back to what we believe they once would have been. We also love to highlight the incredible landscapes surrounding these homes by keeping the interiors somewhat minimal and framing the exterior views. We tend to use a lot of natural materials in our designs as well, which adds character and wears beautifully over time.”
The Posada is a five-suite inn bordering the west side of Saguaro National Park. The adobe-style building is situated on 38 acres of land peppered by forest of Saguaro cacti, native plants and an abundance of wildlife that all combine to create a relaxing and reflective space.
The duo has been hard at work renovating the beautiful Posada , including sanding floors, patching the roof, building kitchenettes in two of the suites, creating a stucco pony wall, installing yellow lighting and much more.
The Combs were happy to keep the original layout of the property but immediately recognized that the bathrooms would require the greatest deal of work. The process involved drawing more attention to the beautiful wooden ceiling and installing a plaster vanity nod to stay true to the style of the building, as well as a chiseled sink and matte black faucet to make the bathroom feel more modern. The couple also removed the previous light fixture that was casting a yellow glow in the room and brought the space into the present day with vessel sinks and brass fixtures.
Regarding the exterior, the couple has been thrifting vintage accessories and furniture, adding benches, a firepit, gooseneck lights and even renovating the gorgeous, outdoor stone pool. In the terrace, the couple added ocotillo panels for the ceiling to cast scattered sunlight down on the tile. Other renovations including patching the roof and adding railings on the patios.
“We started with the Joshua Tree House and progressively learned more about the renovation process with each house,” said Rich. “The Joshua Tree House was just the two of us figuring out DIY projects and fixing the house up on a low budget. When we started on the Casita, we hired some help for larger renovation projects such as taking down walls and renovating the kitchen and bathroom. We were still able to do a lot of the work ourselves, but learned that with our other design work, it wasn’t smart to take everything on ourselves—we could focus on design and get the project done much more quickly with help.”
While the couple continues to hone their rennovative skills, there certainly isn’t a lack of creativity. “Living rurally after many years of city living has given us endless inspiration—in the plants, animals and open spaces we’ve found here in the desert,” said Sara.
Now, as the Combs continue ringing in the New Year with renovations on their Tucson inn, they are making sure to keep the desert creative and fresh.