I have been taking a break from the Palm Springs Sunny Dunes house and spending the majority of my days up in Joshua Tree. Working on improving the lil Scamp aka Camping Cubbyhole in Joshua Tree has been quite the treat. Spring is without a doubt my favorite season in Joshua Tree. The creosote bushes are in bloom and if we are all lucky enough in the desert, there is a beautiful explosion of wildflowers! And we are LUCKY! We are not the only desert dwellers who are very excited about spring. Unfortunately, the first snake of the season I noticed was dead on Aberdeen heading out of town. 20140424-214049.jpg 20140424-214133.jpg 20140426-223742.jpg 20140426-223754.jpg 20140426-223805.jpgOver the years the camper has rolled through a few towns and the (very) funky (not in a good way)1980’s blue carpet was ready do be retired. Some paint touch ups, new electric plugs, drawer pulls, new curtain rods (ewww fancy), and some salvaged scrap pine I had from the Sunny Dunes house was used for the NEW floor.

The Scamp is now officially off of her Camping Cubbyhole axels. It has been incredibly windy up in Joshua Tree the last few days and the Scamp does not shake anymore! I hear the wind howling and don’t feel a thing, it’s great!

I am not sure what to do about the repeated wind sail, sailing away issues in the JT high winds…hmmm also, not sure if I want to put in a fenced area for pets, mine and or other guests.  Maybe I want to build a deck with some sort of cover?  And do I really want to put up another fence? I am not sure what to do with the insulation covered in white carpet on the walls.  It is definitely is an issue when it comes to cleaning it.  If I took it out, I would be removing the insulation and then I would have the glue on the walls to contend with.

Where do I start?

The Sunny Dunes house is starting to shape in to something more than a mess. It still has a million things that need to be done, but our vision is finally taking on a physical form.

Even though Kat and I wore protective equipment, and legally removed up to 200 sqft of asbestos tile as home owners, it was one of the dumbest things we (I) have ever done when it comes to home rehab jobs. I WILL NOT ever do this again!! I was locked in an air tight room for 8 hours scraping and scraping and scraping. We used a spray bottle to keep down the fibers, taped off the room with plastic, boxed and double wrapped the removed tiles, took it to the proper dump in LA, used Bean-e-doo mastic remover (which is non toxic soybean based product), and mopped and mopped and mopped our new floors. The end product is worth it in my opinion (if we paid someone to do it). There is nothing better than concrete floors. Unless there is an earthquake that rocks Palm Springs, we are planning on polishing up these babies.






The guest bath was (is) a mess. The whole house is one big cover-up on top of covered mess. After many days of stripping away the years of mess ups, I think we are finally getting to the point of bringing it back. In the beginning we were blown away by what had been done (glued 2×4’s, plastic bags stuffed in the walls, gobs of plaster warts to patch holes) but now close to nothing surprises me. The other day I was pulling down an old fence that had been glued to a concrete wall and the 4×4’s were maybe 4″ into the ground. It made it easy to pull out!







Since the heat of the summer is around the corner we shifted gears and started working outside.  Normally this would be very exciting but the amount of work that needs to be done in the yard is overwhelming!

After a day of building the concrete forms for the front walkway, I finished setting and leveling them. The next day was hell day. 45 bags of 90lb Quickrete Concrete later, walla! Insta-wakway! The morning after, I made sure to drop in at the local Chinese message stop for some much needed muscle relaxing. For what ever reason I decided to hand mix 4.5 tons of concrete in the the wheelbarrow instead of renting a concrete mixer. Next time I will be renting a mixer.



The pool is taking shape. We ran into a little problem with grade and had to take down the backyard a few inches, about 6. I am not sure how the calculations work out exactly but the further out from the house you get, the lower the grade gets. In the end, we have to add a raised wall onto the pool to act as a retaining wall. Since we are doing this, we decided to add a spillway to help cool the water off in the summers 120 degree heat.

The tile at the water line is a simple white. We wanted the extended pool wall to be concrete  giving it very monochromatic zen zero space feel.   Since it will be over the water, it has been suggested to tile it so the harsh chemicals won’t eat away at the concrete. So the solution was to go with a grey tile that has a similar concrete look but will  be porcelain tile.

After running around to 4 different tile stores, we found a overpriced tile we thought would work great. Amazingly enough we found the same tile but in a larger size for quarter of the price by the contractors desk!






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!