Tim Martin and Meagan Yednock both had an affinity for the Hi-Desert of Southern California. As they both increasingly spent more time there, they decided to embark on this project, turning an old house into a renovated desert paradise known as 7 Arches. The house is now available for rent on Airbnb. We chatted with Tim and Meagan about their experience renovating 7 Arches and the love they put into it.
SLOWTIDE: I understand you bought this place as a fixer-upper. What drew you to Joshua Tree initially?
TIM MARTIN: From a young age I’ve been drawn to the deserts of California and Mexico. For me, the sparseness of the desert landscape provides peace and tranquility. It’s always been the place I go to escape and reset. I’d visited the park as a kid, but rediscovered Joshua Tree when a crew of LA friends really doubled down on the area about 7 yrs ago. It took awhile but I finally was able to make the jump in with Seven Arches and properly join the desert family.
MEAGAN YEDNOCK: I grew up coming to Joshua Tree and always had a deep connection to the Hi-Desert. My dad would ride his bike to Pappy and Harriets in the 70's so this has been a family destination legacy. Seven Arches was such a special home to me from the first day I walked in. The unique Spanish architecture is extraordinary for this area. In fact, the original owner was a stonemason and we really tried to bring back all of his original masonry.
S: Did you take on the entire remodel on your own?
TM: Probably more than we should have. This was our first house and we really wanted to immerse ourselves in the process and learn as much as we could. We had a GC for about 20% of the project and then self managed the rest with a few thousand hours of our own time, tackling everything from design, to framing, to drywall, to electrical, you name it. Most of the house went back to the studs and we added two bedrooms and a bathroom. There is no way we could have done it without an amazing crew of friends, family and talented tradesmen that all eagerly showed up to help.
MY: I know more about septic tanks than I will ever need! The permitting process was also interesting to learn. Instead of having a GC handle this we would go in person to building & safety and slowly learn how to navigate corrections.
S: What was the biggest surprise of the project?
TM: Our biggest surprise was honestly the incredible community of desert friends we developed while working the project and living in the desert. Joshua Tree has such a diverse and thriving community of creative folks all drawn to the desert for unique reasons. It's an amazing smattering of musicians, fine artists, restaurateurs, photographers, ceramicists, architects, vintage motorcycle builders, you name it. Many of these groups would never overlap in Los Angeles, but in the desert they’re all one family coming together to share unique perspectives on collaborative projects.
MY: One of my favorite moments of the project was when we found a beautiful brick fireplace underneath a tacky 90s tile renovation. Being able to appreciate the original owner's intention for the home felt so much better than covering it up. Another huge surprise was COVID! We got to actually live and enjoy the house from March-June before it launched on Airbnb.
S: Which part of the house turned out to be your favorite?
TM: We put love and energy into so many little pockets of the house, but my favorite is still the little arch alcove in the living room. We found the vintage lights that now hang there at a flea market years ago and constructed the built in unit around them.
MY: My favorite is the master bedroom. It brings the best light through three huge arch windows, overlooking the horse stable. The sun sets through the french doors of the room, bringing the most beautiful amber light I've ever lived in.
S: How do you hope people feel when they walk into this space?
MY & TM: From the beginning, we wanted to design Seven Arches to evoke specific feelings and tell a story. Setting that stage, we placed healing crystals in the walls to calm energy, spread love, and protect our guests. Beyond the architectural space, we intentionally sourced much of our interior from our favorite world travel destinations specifically Morocco, Oaxaca and Mexico City. We wanted to provide a calm and relaxing environment with a sense of lightness, zen and cultural exploration. We envisioned Seven Arches as a destination to unplug and reset. It’s been incredibly rewarding to see our effort and intention resonate with guests as they experience the space and discover something new in themselves.