Meet our next FREDA Girl, web designer and co-founder of The Joshua Treehouse & The Casita, Sara Combs. We were first introduced to Sara through a mutual friend and former #FREDAGirl Aleksandra Zee and were immediately taken by her warm demeanor. By day, Sara along with her husband run a full-service web and design studio and by night, run two picture perfect rental properties, with another property in the works. Sara is a beautiful, badass, creative woman who embodies the essence of what inspires us – daring, self-expressive, confident and casual ease in her day-to-day life.
We caught up with Sara at her new property, The Hacienda, to talk shop and find out how she stays inspired. Read on…
Tell us about your creative path and what brings you here today?
My path has been varied, but every passion I have is guided by a love of creating experiences. I use many different mediums to do so; at the moment my favorite mediums are interior design, web design, and illustration. I love thinking about how a space or a piece of art can influence someone’s emotions and actions. I truly believe that our surroundings have a huge impact on how we live our lives, whether those surroundings are three dimensional or digital.
The Joshua Tree House looks like a magical spot. How did you decide on the property and what inspired the design? Any more properties on the horizon?
Thank you! After a cross country road trip exploring many National Parks along the way, my husband and I fell in love with Joshua Tree. Somehow it was different from all the rest, and we couldn’t get it out of our minds. During the rest of our travels, we were searching real estate listings non-stop. Hundreds of listings in, one Craigslist ad for a house for sale stood out. It was a 1949 hacienda with so much charm, and we instantly fell in love. Somehow we knew we wanted to buy it from a few tiny photos on Craigslist before we ever set foot inside.
The design of the space was completely inspired by both the home and Joshua Tree itself. We wanted it to be a place to slow down, so everything we put in the house was with that goal in mind. Anything that was invented to speed life up was removed… this is a place to watch your coffee drip as the sun rises.
After the House, we loved the process of designing an experience in the desert so much that we designed and renovated a second property called the Casita. We are currently working on our third space, the Hacienda (this is the house we are living in).
How have the places you have lived and worked influenced your design and aesthetic? Has it changed from place to place?
We have definitely been inspired by each of the places we’ve lived in and traveled. Main inspirations include our time living in San Francisco and Brooklyn, our time traveling in Southeast Asia, and of course now our time living in Joshua Tree.
The energy of each place influences our spaces completely. Here in Joshua Tree, we’ve been highly influenced by the decay. Though the dry climate keeps most things in tact, the harsh sun, wind, and other elements allow you to see materials evolve. We feel that over time, many natural materials become more interesting and beautiful. We try to bring that element of age as beauty into our own designs.
You work with your husband at Design Comb. What is the most challenging part of working together? Most rewarding?
Yes! DesignComb is our design studio and blog. Right now we’re working from home, so it can feel like a bit of a cycle at times… we wake up and almost immediately begin work. It can be difficult as our personal lives and work lives are both so interconnected. On the other hand we love creating together, and wouldn’t have it any other way.
Tell us about your personal style. What is important to you? Do you have a daily uniform?
Since moving to the desert, my style has definitely simplified and become more relaxed. As the temps are rising, my uniform includes lots of linen, t-shirts, slip on shoes, and a good hat.
Start now. All of the best things that have happened in my life so far were from just starting… even if I didn’t quite know what I was beginning. I’ve found all of my inspiration through process and motion; road trips, painting for the heck of it, renovating a house with no real plan. Those moments have simultaneously been the scariest and most rewarding I’ve yet to experience.