We had the good fortune of connecting with Sara Combs and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sara, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
When we started our own business we started small with no expectations and would have never thought we’d end up opening an inn because of it. The JTH didn’t even intentionally start off as a business if we’re being honest–we fell in love with a house and the landscape in Joshua Tree and started hosting guests there to help pay the mortgage. We were ultimately looking for more freedom, and a chance to work with our hands again. Six years later this is our passion and our full-time career, which we couldn’t be more grateful for.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
The first house that we designed and renovated (The Joshua Tree House) simply started because we were living in a city at the time and personally craved a creative space to reset out in nature. But when we opened it up for others to stay we found that we were definitely not the only ones who were craving a place like this. It booked up so much that there was no longer time for us to go ourselves… and it got us thinking. We realized that often as we’ve traveled we found that we had to sacrifice either design or nature in our accommodations, so we set out to create spaces that celebrate both.
Through the process we’ve hit many challenges, most of them financial. We dealt with a lot of projects that ended up costing a lot more than we had been initially quoted for, one of the biggest ones being roof repairs. It was all so worth it in the end, but we experienced some extreme discomfort in the process of figuring out how to get everything paid for while still moving quickly enough to open.
When renovating our inn in Tucson we had a one year hard money loan to fund our construction costs, and were able to complete the space and remortgage everything to pay the loan back with one week to spare. It was an incredibly intense period of our lives, and we had to give this project every ounce of energy we had. For the majority of the year we worked seven days a week from the time we woke up until we went to sleep.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Some of our favorites spots in Joshua Tree, CA:
What to See & Do:
Joshua Tree National Park
Noah Purifoy Outdoor Museum
Andrea Zittel tours
Moorten Botanical Gardens
Sky Village Swap Meet
MoonWind Trading Co
Wine & Rock Shop
Joshua Tree Farmers Market
What to Eat & Drink:
Pappy & Harriets
Joshua Tree Saloon
Joshua Tree Bottle Shop
Natural Sisters Cafe
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My husband Rich! There’s no one that I love creating with more.
Sara & Rich Combs Tim Melideo Photography Margaret Austin Photography