The Outside Inn is all about removing the borders between the inside of the home and the natural beauty of the outside world. An original water tower mural, by local JT artist Prescott McCarthy, waves you into the property as you drive down the road. This Homesteader's Cabin has been designed to fit the comforts of the modern day while still maintaining some of its original charm-- like polished concrete floors and a cozy fireplace.
The fully redesigned bathroom is replete with a tiled accent wall, Seaweed Bath Co products, plush towels, and a closet for your storage needs. The designer kitchen is chef friendly, and stocked with everything one would need to enjoy cooking away from home. The television is on a swivel and can be moved to be watched from bed, on the couch or while cooking.
While the house is small on square footage, the property is expansive with many different outdoor possibilities--there's a covered side porch and outdoor dining table for enjoying meals cooked on the grill, an enclosed front patio area with Polywood chairs for appreciating your morning roast from Joshua Tree Coffee Company (provided). The 10' sliders on the back of the house open up to reveal a covered porch and an outdoor sofa begging for a late afternoon nap.
Throw on a house robe and turn on the path lights at night to wind your way over to the jacuzzi pad, where you can soak under the starry skies or lounge on the chairs while you count shooting stars. Enjoy a private outdoor shower with the most incredible sweeping desert views.
However you decide to spend your time at The Outside Inn, the desert won't disappoint.
The Small Claims Act of 1938 authorized the lease of up to five acres of public land to individuals who were US citizens. If the individual made the required improvements to the property by constructing a small dwelling within three years of the lease, they would then be eligible to purchase the land from the federal government for what amounted to an average of $10 to $20 per acre.
Today, the southern California desert landscape is littered with the remnants of these "jackrabbit" homesteads in varying stages of decay with many of them beyond salvage. "Jackrabbit" homesteads have been so named because desert jackrabbits sought refuge from the desert sun in the shade of these largely uninhabited and decaying structures. The Outside Inn was one of those homesteads. Originally constructed in 1959 by Eugene Raymond Hughes, Jr., the 2.5 acre parcel it sits on was then deeded to Mr. Hughes from the federal government on March 16, 1960.
By the time we came across it in July of 2017, the parcel had been through seven owners. The structure was not beyond saving, although little appeared to have been done to it since its original construction 58 years prior. At most, it appeared to be a very rustic weekend getaway for its owners.
We knew we wanted to try and give the homestead a second chance at life, so we tracked down the current owner and negotiated the purchase of the property in October of 2017. The Outside Inn has come a long way since we first saw it. The only things that remain from the original structure are some of the framing, the concrete slab and the fireplace. Except for the addition of an outside laundry closet, we retained the original 480 square feet of indoor living space but greatly expanded the outdoor areas to be able to enjoy the desert climate any hour of the day.
The silo in front of the cabin was once a necessity for water storage prior to the addition of municipal water service in the area. The silo is no longer required for the storage of water, but it is part of the history of the property so we didn't want to remove it. It too has been given a new life - as a landmark and a blank canvas for desert artists.