A work in progress

Well…it’s been a LONG time since I last posted. The cabin is complete, well, there will always be projects I want to do, like converting the cargo container we currently use for storage and a stretch of fencing for the back yard. Hey! It saved us 40′ of fencing materials. At some point I hope to use it as a studio if I ever find myself back in a place to do so.

We listed the cabin on Airbnb in late August 2013 after only living in it since May 2013. I planned on doing a vacation rental but designed the cabin specifically for us and thought we would be in it much longer than the short 3-4 months we were. The discision to put it on Airbnb was more of an experiment to see what would happen. So it happened. Fate tested, and today it is booked just about everyday. It gives me the sad meets happy feeling. No other place has ever felt more like home.






Scorpions and ELECTRIC!



There is no doubt it is starting to warm up out here and all of the snakes and bugs are out and about. This week started off with a big scorpion scaring the shit out of me. One second I am putting the shop vac in the corner and then the next I am frozen after seeing this big clear scorpion on the floor, not moving. I grabbed a paint can and quickly but gently set it down on top of it (my friends son wants one for a school project). Amazingly, the thing was still alive an hour later. I don’t know how it was possible after loosing its guts. Luckily I was reminded by Kat, we had  spider and scorpion spray in the cabin.  A little spritz and the crunchy 3incher was a goner. So strange to think of it as a bug. It seems so much bigger and beyond bug-hood. Although, from this picture it sure does look like a bug.



Besides all the scary buggy business, most of the desert plants are blooming right now and it is such a treat to experience their beauty everyday. If the day wasn’t enough, last night we had an amazing orange full moon.





The homesteader has recently received an extended island.  I added on one more cabinet to the original configuration I started with.  It works a little better for storage and It looks more like an island now, before it looked more like it was trying to be 🙂 I also added bigger casters which raised it up a couple inches, making it much easier to prepare food on.

The closet became an official closet after building the bottom door. Last summer we picked up a huge jewelry organizer at a swap shop. I wanted to try and incorporate it into the closet some how. I ended up attaching it to the back of the closet door. I hinged the the jewelry cabinet onto the wall since it is so big and then attached the door to the jewelry cabinet so you only see the door not the cabinet. When opening the closet door, the jewelry organizer is on the inside back of the door.


Oh, and I almost forgot to add, we got power on Wednesday! It felt so good to walk around the house and try out all of the lights knowing I wired it and they worked. The on demand hot water heater works great! It is immediately hot! Our mini split works great. The whole cabin cools off evenly, whereas when using other forms of AC’s, it always seems like one room or an area of the home is cooler. Not with the mini split. SO HAPPY!


Barn Door & Bathroom Door



20130418-075350.jpg Yesterday I finally started working on the bathroom door. We decided to go with a sliding door to utilize the space the best way we could. I was thinking of painting it either white or staining the wood similar to the kitchen cabinet doors. I already beat the wood to give it a distressed look. I figured I  can always paint it white if all else fails. In the end, I am pleased with the way it turned out.  The contrast between the light wall and dark wood looks great. My concern was the cabin is already small, I didn’t want to make it feel any more smaller with dark colors. I don’t think the door does this. Possibly because it is mobile.






When I assembled the door, I counter sunk all of the holes and plugged them with wood plugs just like I did to the horizontal boards for the exterior bathroom wall. Hanging it was the easiest part. No… buying the barn door track and hangers off of eBay for $100.00 !

Kitchen Cabinets


A while back we bought a bunch of used cabinets off a guy in Palm Springs for $200 bucks which is a great deal when only one is typically that price. I think we got a total of 6. The one problem was they looked like every standard cabinet in suburbia. I wanted something different. One day I was on Pinterest and found my inspiration.

I searched Craigslist for old wood to reface the cabinets with. It is hit or miss and I missed. Ultimately, I ended up using cedar picket fencing, a hammer, and random objects to make them look old.

Two different stains were used to give the pickets a weather beaten look. Instead of putting the stain directly on the wood, I saturated it with water first. Water separates the oil stain reducing the amount able to penetrate the wood.  It worked out great and the stain didn’t end up looking too dark.

In the end, I think they turned out pretty great for cheapy stock cabinets!




Today we had our very last inspection. Not only did we pass, we were complimented by the inspectors! We received our certificate of occupancy and our final electric was approved and the electric company should have us connected to the grid by Friday!



ImageI’m pretty impressed with the size of our on demand hot water heater. It will be under the kitchen sink on one side of the cabinet.
Titan 120 made in Miami Florida-
Dimensions: 7″W x 10″H x 2.75″D
Weight: 8 Lbs
Water Connections: 1/2″
Water Pressure (Max): 150 psi
Voltage: 220 / 240
Min. Flow Rate (Activation): 0.5 GPM
Manufacturer’s Warranty: 1 Year Electrical Components / 10 Years Warr

So happy we will be heating water only when we actually need it.


We stained the floor with two different colors. A Saltillo color for the base coat and a dark chocolate brown for the top. It worked out the way we hoped it would with the sand out here. When the dust gets on the floor it isn’t so obvious with the base color being the same color as the dirt/ sand. And the dark brown in the deeper crevices makes it look like it is already dirty so it never really looks dirty even though it might be.

We had High Desert Air install a minisplit (heat pump and ductless AC unit in one). It has “green” chlorine-free R410A refrigerant, high efficiency DC inverter-driven twin rotary compressor so it super efficient. It’s hooked up to a 20 amp breaker which I find incredible for an air conditioner or heater.

Since we were originally going to go with an on demand propane hot water heater, there were two pipes stubbed out of the house for the heater. It worked out perfect. We used the water pipes for the washing machine hookups. Eventually we will build a little lean-to against the house for the washing machine presently sitting in our cargo container.
ImageMeanwhile it has been heating up and we are trying to get the fence up while doing everything else. The attempt at a snake proof fence has been challenging to say the least. It is super time consuming. Which isn’t the best thing at this point especially since the snakes are back on the move. I saw one on our road the other week that was longer than the width of a car. Image

It’s 2013 and…


A lot has been done since I last posted. The corrugated roof was finished in December and is much more rusted than in these photos. Before the winter holidays, my father came into town for a month. When he was here we were able to get the electrical finished for the most part.

As of right now, the cabin isn’t hooked up to the grid. Before the county will “green tag” the main electric panel, (allow the cabin to be hooked up to the grid) pretty much everything has to be done.  The walls need to be closed up, outlets, lights, plumbing, cabinets, and the counters installed before we can have the final electric inspection. The initial rough-in inspection was a piece of cake. The inspector came when I wasn’t there and he passed it just from what he saw through the windows. From what I have experienced,  the county inspectors dealing with Joshua Tree are very forgiving and really helpful.  Of course my taxes will increase because of all of the registered alterations, and I had to spend a little more money on doing things the right way, but in the end, I have peace of mind the house will be as safe as it could be.  I’m thankful for the $360 Rehab Permit that covers everything done on the cabin.




Once the electric wiring was completed, the insulation, and the drywall was installed.  We happily paid someone to do the insulation and the drywall. I debated doing tong and groove on the ceiling but visually I thought there might be too much going on with the horizontal/ vertical block with the tong and groove.  Not to mention, we just want to move in and drywall is soooo much quicker especially when you pay a professional to do it 🙂 So after I finished up the drywall on the kitchen wall I still put in a little cedar wood on the bathroom wall.




The cedar on the wall is actually cedar fence pickets.  They were the cheapest option at $2.06 at Home Depot.  It was a lot of fun whitewashing them.  Using watered down paint is so much easier than using straight paint.