Alison & Jay Carroll of Wonder Valley
Please tell us about where you live and what do?
We live in Joshua Tree, Calif. in a cabin tucked against the boulders that border the national park. Through our company, Wonder Valley, we produce beautiful and useful health and home goods that celebrate ‘Grandeur in Simplified Living’. Our design studio collaborates on branding, interior design, and photography with different clients and projects. The rest of our time, we are working away building out our family compound that includes a rehabbed 1950’s homestead cabin and 34 ft vagabond trailer.
What’s your style approach?
We both favor a seasonal uniform – timeless pieces that become a second skin and get worn over and over.
What led you to choose the Stratoliner and Open Road as staples in your wardrobe?
They’re both just such great classic styles and very versatile. I love that the Stratoliner can be worn with jeans and a t-shirt or easily dressed up. Same goes for the iconic open road. Jay and his best men wore blacks ones at our wedding.
Any tips that you can share with us for wearing and caring for a Stetson in the high desert?
We tend to live in our Stetsons so they get the wear and tear or sun, dust, sweat and if your unlucky, a dog that sits on it. There’s usually a rotation of a worn-‐in and a fresh Stetson on our hooks.
What is a day in the life like for you in the desert?
Every day is different in terms of the work we do – whether its studio work or physical labor – but the days all start the same: meditate, exercise and stretch, and water the plants. Then we meet over coffee and breakfast at 9am to regroup over projects and goals were working towards. The days are bookended with time outside – end the day with a hike into the BLM land down the road to scramble around the boulders or have a short cocktail walk at dusk to wind down.
What inspired your decision to make the transition to living and working remotely, and what have been some of the biggest surprises and rewards that you’ve experienced in the process?
For many years the high desert landscape has been a really huge inspiration to us. Nature and its rhythms are a big part of our lives here. We have space out here, both physical and mental, which has allowed for us to explore work in new ways. So for those reasons and more, as soon as we found the right property here – which took us a good two years to nail down -‐ we said so long to the city and dug in.
I think one of the biggest surprises are how social we are here, even more so than when we lived in big cities. The world sort of comes to us and it comes here for quality time. The biggest rewards come from the big and inherent limitations of the desert. We’ve handled the better part of building our home learning the skills as we went along because we had to. We’ve slowly built a brand from out here and that has been equally as rewarding.
What advice would you give to those out there looking to make a similar lifestyle change?
Community building is important in small towns – get to know your neighbors. Embrace the challenges because limitations can lead to great growth and surprising creative breakthroughs. Also, learn how to cook!
What’s next for Alison and Jay Carroll?
We’ve just opened the doors to our retail space in sunny Wonder Valley, California – managing that and expanding the W.V. collection.
We’re doing more collaborative cooking events and dinners like the one we just did in Tokyo with our favorite restaurant there called Eatrip. And were looking to buy property on the rural coastline of Maine to build a little summer compound there as well – desert to downeast, to us its the ultimate combination.
Jay and Alison Carroll live in California near Joshua Tree National Park. The high desert inspires their brand Wonder Valley which celebrates the beauty and simplicity of healthy rural living.