I’m Chrissi, a remote digital art director with an insatiable curiosity about the world, and a passion for all things creative.

High Desert Escape: Introducing Project Landers

High Desert Escape: Introducing Project Landers

About a decade ago my parents moved to the California High Desert, home to well known Joshua Tree National Park, and lesser known cities like Yucca Valley, 29 Palms, and Landers. I was immediately inspired by the landscapes of the desert, beautiful hikes, and quirky art installations. I wanted to purchase a plot of our own to create something special. First, we worked on a small cabin with my parents, then on a larger house to airbnb. I'm truly proud of these projects, but ever since we began, I’ve been itching to create something from scratch, a blank slate. After a year of patiently looking for the right land at the right price, we found a 5 acre property in Landers, CA. Landers in home to the Integratron, Landers Brew Co., Gubler Orchid Farms and Giant Rock. It's a short 20min to Joshua Tree National Park Entrance. 

Architecture Mood Board

The first step was finding an architect. I hunted around and found The Hundred Mile House on Houzz. I love Duane Smith's style, a sort of desert mid century modern combination with rustic appeal. Here is my initial mood board for the project.



It's the first time my husband and I have ever worked with an architect. We were both nervous and excited to see the first 3 initial ideas sketched out. We visited Duane’s home in Palm Springs to view the initial sketches, and his home was so beautiful I was reassured we had made the right decision. We initially wanted a unique layout, 1 bedroom, 1 bath, with a large living room and deck, fire pit, AC, heat, and kitchen island. After some consideration and budget analysis we decided to add a bedroom and bathroom.


Here are the first 3 renderings that Duane hand sketched:


 We went with #3. I love how all the windows face outward to the back patio, and the unique way the two guest wings asymmetrically attach to the main living space. The guest wings are also two story with a view out to the desert from a higher elevation.



After a few rounds, we landed on this layout. Over the course we made some modifications to the layout to reduce some of the square footage. The first modification we made was to remove the 3rd bathroom to shrink square footage in the living area. Then we made sure to add space for the washer and dryer, and reduced the guest wings which means that the stairs will now wrap, kind of loft style. We also removed some of the windows so we don’t have to reinforce the structure as much. This was all to save on cost and materials.



3D Renderings

We looked at 3 exterior options, wood, burned wood, and corten steel. I love all these options, but went with corten for it’s durability in the desert and rustic appeal.


Final 3D rendering: corten Steel


Now we’ll go into more steps like structural engineering, permits, and bids. It’s going to be a long journey, but one I’m really excited about! Once we start building there will be so many decisions to be made about lighting, tiling, fixtures, and interior decor. Can’t wait to share it with you!

DIY: Make Your Own Amazing Burning Man Hat

DIY: Make Your Own Amazing Burning Man Hat

5 Reasons to Visit Landers, Joshua Tree's Neighbor

5 Reasons to Visit Landers, Joshua Tree's Neighbor