In a grand example of how “off the grid” doesn’t have to mean being without style and comfort, The Desert Saga home combines sustainability with rustic comfort. Located in San Bernardino County, California, it sits just outside the entrance to Joshua Tree National Park, a popular and spectacular natural area to visit.
Accessed by a dirt road, it’s the perfect place to use as a base for exploring Joshua Tree, Palm Springs and the surrounding area. Moreover, the spot is ideal for enjoying all that nature has to offer while disconnecting from a more hectic pace of life.
Designed by architect Malek Alqadi, the property melds his impeccable design taste with environmentalism, creating a home that is ideal for those who want to experience environmental tourism. The home is off the grid, yet luxurious, and includes unique features such as an outdoor shower and a second bedroom with a fireplace that is open to the stars. Even better, you can stay here and experience the off-grid lifestyle yourself, because it’s available for rent.
Composed of two gabled buildings made from weathered, salvaged steel, the home was named Folly by the architect. Situated on a former homestead in the dry, desert area around Joshua Tree, the 560-square-foot home features two bedrooms and one bathroom, and is able to accommodate up to four people. The space between the two buildings is filled by a patio with its own lighted desert garden set in the center.
Energy for the home comes from a solar panel located to the side of the house, which allows it to tilt toward the sun. Freestanding panels are also more efficient because circulating air helps keep them cool. Foregoing the typical installation mode of having it on the roof preserves the style of the house without sacrificing the power needed for creature comforts and amenities. The solar power system also provides the heating and cooling of the structures.
Of the two buildings, the larger one contains the main living space, which includes the kitchen and dining area. There’s also a water closet and a shower. Up above, the sleeping loft — accessible by a steep ladder — features a skylight. The smaller building on the property is largely dedicated to equipment and storage on the ground floor. Up above, the open-air bedroom lets you fall asleep under the stars and awake with the rays of the morning sun.
Inside, the interior is also sustainably designed with plywood-covered walls and ceilings and steel-pipe ladders. The decor is minimalist, as expected, rendered in pleasing neutral tones. Despite the compact size and off-grid nature, the home has style galore. There’s plenty of room for lounging and the dining table is spacious too. In fact, the sofa is big enough for someone to sleep on if being out under the stars isn’t possible because of bad weather. Tall windows offer great views of the desert.
Energy consumption and production, along with lighting, heating, cooling and security, can all be monitored from inside the house. The architects say that spending some time in this rental is an easy and painless way to try out living off the grid without sacrificing comfort or hurting the environment. Actually, this home may seem a little ironic because it uses modern technology to achieve a laid-back, environmentally-focused living experience.
The sleeping loft is just that: A space just for sleeping, featuring ceiling-mounted bedside lighting for reading or settling in.
The bathroom is equally stylish, with all the main fixtures and a very serene shower. The rustic gray stucco on the walls and vanity make the home feel like an outgrowth of the landscape.
As noted earlier, the second bedroom is open to the sky, without a ceiling or full wall on the side. A small fireplace is positioned at the foot of the bed for warmth and an added cozy ambiance — = perfect for stargazing. The small bistro table is a very inviting spot for having morning coffee or a sunset cocktail.
Glamping may be popular but this off-grid house offers more amenities and comforts with the same minimal environmental impact. If you’ve ever wanted to try living in a sustainable, off-grid home, this is a great opportunity to try!
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