It’s the kind of thing movies are made of, but Hollywood isn’t the only one to get inspiration from this region of the vast and open Mojave Desert. Dubbed the Cowboy Modern Desert Eco-Retreat, this home pairs old west inspiration with modern eco-friendly features.

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An overhead view of a flat-topped overhanging roof on a house in the middle of a desert.

Jeremy Levine Design was in charge of the project, a 1,200-square-foot family vacation home on a plot of protected desert between Joshua Tree National Park and Pioneertown, CA. The home includes two bedrooms, two baths, a great room with a kitchen, living and dining space, porches on three sides and a well-developed outdoor space where decks expand the living area and a path leads to a hot spa and cold cowboy tub.

Related: Self-sufficient Sail House by David Hertz Architects looks like a ship

A cement walkway surrounded by stone leads up to a single-level home with a wood facade.

The property came with limited access and no infrastructure, so Levine drew on his experience in green design to connect the indoor living space with expansive views and sustainable features. The Cowboy Modern Desert Eco-Retreat relies exclusively on locally reclaimed lumber for the interior and exterior wood surfaces. Steel, prefabricated offsite, was used to frame the home. Levine chose these materials in response to the area’s harsh weather conditions and a desire for quick, low-impact construction. 

A covered patio connects to floor-to-ceiling windows.

Copious large windows frame the Black Hills and Sawtooth Mountains in the distance while allowing in natural light. Concrete floors and an open floor plan aid in keeping the home cool. The structure is situated to capture breezes as they are channeled through the canyon, and porch overhangs provide temperature control through shading. The orientation also minimizes solar heat gain. 

A bedroom with sliding glass doors and a bed with a blue comforter, two blue pillows and one red pillow.

During construction, the team took special care to avoid unnecessary grading for minimal site impact with respect to the fact that the project sits in a zone with Resource Conservation Protection. This not only minimized soil and plant disruption but required an inspection from a biologist to ensure no desert tortoises or owls would be affected by construction. All Joshua Trees were also preserved. 

A living room with white walls, a wood ceiling and brown leather furniture.

To further minimize the environmental footprint, the home uses a zero-waste system. All water from sinks, showers and washing is recycled and used for irrigation. Solar panels are scheduled to be installed soon.

A dining area with a rectangular wood table and chairs connects to a living area with a wall-mounted TV.

The interior design includes western-inspired leather, a fire table made from leftover construction materials and a vanity made from reclaimed lumber

+ Jeremy Levine Design

Images via Lance Gerber and Tali Mackay