A “Desert Minimalist” Adobe Home in Tucson

updated Apr 30, 2019

A “Desert Minimalist” Adobe Home in Tucson

updated Apr 30, 2019
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Home Type
Square feet
Sq ft

Name: Krysta Jabczenski and Joel Leshefka
Location: Barrio Libre — Tucson, AZ
Years lived in: 3 years, owned

House tour cover

Can't-Miss House Tours Straight to Your Inbox

Keep up with our latest house tours each weekday with our House Tour of the Day newsletter

Tucked away in the historic Barrio Libre neighborhood of Tucson is a little strip of lovingly restored adobes. The airy structures are full of desert charm, and they owe their new lives to a couple that split their time between arid Tucson and soggy Seattle. You may remember Krysta, Joel and their crisp and bright modern adobe, filled with pops of color, mid-century inspired furniture, and lofty ceilings. This is another one of their updated adobes, with this space garnering inspiration from the Georgia O’Keeffe’s Ghost Ranch in New Mexico.

Though the two adobes are similar in architectural style and have some overlap in terms of layout, the couple chose to use this project as an exercise in aesthetic restraint and minimalism, and trying not to fall into the trap of “over decorating” an expansive space. The result is a home that honors several different eras of design as well as a few different regions of the world that inspire them.

This can best be seen in their living room, which is sparse, and intentionally outfitted with furniture pieces that could stand out on their own. The pops of color in the room come from the art near the record player — bright, hand-painted haircut signs from Ghana. The kitchen is cozy in its own desert way, with mint colored cabinetry contrasting the white adobe walls, and a dramatic skylight high above the kitchen table. The bedroom just beyond it is bright white and calm, and the absence of clutter makes room for the mind to unpack and relax.

With their main house next door, the space serves as a guesthouse for out of town visitors and the occasional Airbnb guest. But it has become clear that Krysta and Joel furnish each adobe to showcase a different dimension of their shared aesthetic, and this one is the perfect capture of the spirit of desert life, in all of its stark beauty.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Desert Minimalist

Inspiration: Taliesin, Georgia O’Keeffe’s Ghost Ranch

Favorite Element: The blue textured wall in the bedroom.

Biggest Challenge: The buildings surrounding this apartment are abandoned due to the old ruptured waterlines below them. It’s a little off-putting for our guests to be next to abandoned buildings at first, but then there is something so beautiful about them. They definitely tell a story about Tucson’s history.

What Friends Say: “If you ever decide to stop renting on Airbnb, let me know.”

Biggest Embarrassment: Trying to keep up with the landscaping. Our yards have a major Bermuda Grass issue that’s hard to keep contained.

Proudest DIY: Exercising restraint in decor!

Biggest Indulgence: The mid-century modern credenza in the living room.

Best Advice: Don’t over decorate. Guests need spaces to put their luggage and breathe! Sometimes, having a clean and open space is mentally liberating and a nice way to take a break from real life and the clutter that comes with it.

Dream Sources: We’re interested in objects that have stood the test of time, hand-made objects and functional objects. We do a lot of searching ourselves in small desert towns, thrift stores, and antique fairs.


White, white, white! Except for the wall in the bedroom that has a beautiful pink and blue texture. It was there when we bought the space. I’m not sure how it was created or if it was just a product of peeling other paint layers, but we love it.

Chairs with matching side table — Vintage
Granite table — Vintage
Wood haircut paintings — From Ghana
African textiles — Vintage

Copper pots and kitchen accessories — Vintage
Cabinets — Vintage
Table — Vintage
English stoneware plate collection — Vintage

Side table — Vintage
Danish dresser and mirror — Vintage
Ceramic vases — Found items

Faucets — Vintage

Thanks, Krysta and Joel!

Share Your Style:

See More:
⇒ Recent House Tours
House Tours on Pinterest