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Tiny pods in the California desert are an artsy retreat

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Peek inside 10 Andrea Zittel-designed wagon stations

Artists and creative-types looking for a getaway from urban life: check out these tiny sleeping pods set in a remote campsite in southern California. Designed by American artist Andrea Zittel—a founder of the tiny home home movement—the campsite consists of 10 sleeping pods set amongst an outdoor kitchen, open-air showers, and composting toilets. Called the Wagon Station Encampment, the compound is located on 35 acres near Joshua Tree National park and was designed with artists, writers, and thinkers in mind.

While only open two months each year (one in the fall and one in the spring), potential guests pay $120 per week for a single pod recycled from second-generation wagon stations. Each metal-and-wood shelter pays homage to the ubiquitous suburban family wagon as well as the horse-drawn carriages that were common in the American West. "I'm so drawn to the frontier mentality, and having to figure everything out from scratch," said Zittel. "Everybody has their desert fantasy. My particular fantasy was probably living on an alien landscape."

The temporary "sci-fi" tiny homes contain a mattress, clothing hooks, and a small door for ventilation. There’s also a transparent panel so that guests can view the stars while they lie in bed. Throw in the otherworldly desert landscape full of rocks and low grasses and you’ve got the "desert fantasy" Zittel was hoping for. But don’t expect entry to be easy; applicants are required to submit a short biography for consideration. Zittel and company want "thoughtful, considerate contributors," especially because the campsite is part of a larger property that includes Zittel’s house, a studio, and a collection of shipping-container apartments.