Alison and Jay Carroll do everything together. The couple founded olive oil company Wonder Valley, and set up shop in a restored 1940s gas station just off the beloved Twentynine Palms Highway in Joshua Tree, California. They are also both partners at El Rey Court, an 86-room restored motel in Sante Fe, New Mexico. Their latest project however was more personal: a once-abandoned homestead the couple converted themselves into a desert dream home. “We bought this 1950’s desert homestead about four years and we have spent the better part of two years renovating it together by hand,” says Alison. Here they talk design, color and the inspiration behind their custom Flaneur bedding collection.
FLANEUR: Explain your Flaneur bedding color selections…
Alison and Jay Carrol: The rich orange and turmeric palette works perfectly in our master bedroom, which has a warm sugar pine clad walls, burnt orange velvet curtains, brass fixtures, and seagrass floor. It also matches our golden dog Lefty perfectly!
What is your favorite color and why?
Burnt Orange! All the desert colors together.
How did the idea for Wonder Valley come about?
I (Alison) had just left a role as the marketing director for the California Olive OIl Council when we moved to LA about six years ago. It was a role I really loved that exposed me to all aspects of olive oil production as well as professional olive oil tasting. It was Jay who had idea that we could make our own olive oil working with an old mentor of mine from the council and farmers I knew. We are about to start our sixth harvest year this fall. Through Wonder Valley, we wanted to celebrate the amazing quality and newness of the California olive oil industry while recognizing the thousands of years of tradition behind this old world superfood. We believe olive oil to be the true fountain of youth and to be a cornerstone of a healthy diet and the world’s oldest beauty ingredient.
How would you define your interior design style?
Warm minimalism. Our style is inspired by Japanese, New England and Scandinavian design – the beauty is in the assortment and not being too literal.
How has living in Joshua Tree affected your lifestyle?
Our house is tucked into the boulders of the national park border so there’s endless trails and new pockets to explore – it’s really important to get out at least once a day for a break and slow down. Our lifestyle has shifted a lot. There’s an abundance of natural beauty here, but it’s a small town with finite options for things to eat/see/do. We’ve had to make our home our favorite restaurant and place to socialize, having the wood-burning outdoor kitchen was a big part of that. I (Alison) cook about 99% of our meals, so it’s definitely shifted my confidence and abilities with cooking. Without the distraction of all the things to do in a city, and working from home, it’s easy to work non-stop. We’ve had to become more structured with taking time off, leaving on inspiration trips, opening our doors often and hosting, putting time into hobbies and art practices.
What’s the last thing you bought for your home?
A wonderful vintage quilt from an estate shop in Maine, it has a white/red fish scale type pattern to it.
Do you have a morning or evening ritual?
Every morning we invite Lefty boy into bed for a long family snuggle then drink a liter of water. My beauty routine is to dry brush from neck to toes, then apply our Wonder Valley Hinoki Body Oil. I spend about 3 minutes massaging my face with our oil cleanser, then alternate with hot/cold water splashed on my face to wake up with a beautiful circulation boost followed by Wonder Valley Face Oil. I then do about 20 minutes of yoga and/or meditation, then make a pot of green tea, take my vitamins, and get to it.
In the evening I have an outdoor shower or bath, and try to get off my screens at least a half hour before sleeping, and read a book.
What’s on your bedside table?
Wonder Valley Oud Incense, a rotation of books, a big glass of water.
Where is your dream design travel destination?
The Faroe Islands and Crete.