The house featured in Where Is This? in our February issue (pictured) might look familiar if you’ve ever driven north on House Rock Valley Road toward Vermilion Cliffs National Monument. It probably doesn’t look as familiar as it does to Simone Sellin, though. That’s because she lives there.
The house sits at the corner of House Rock Valley Road and U.S. Route 89A, and Sellin, a seasonal Grand Canyon river guide and an artist in a variety of media, lives there with her husband, Tim. After the February issue hit newsstands, an acquaintance of Sellin’s contacted us to say he knows the house’s owner. From there, we reached out to Sellin via email to ask a few questions about her home and her work.
Q: What did you think when you saw your house in Arizona Highways? Did it take some adjusting to people stopping and photographing your home?
A: We were pleased to see the photo in Arizona Highways. People have been stopping for years to take pictures and talk about the house’s history.
Q: How long have you been living at your home, and how did you end up there?
A: I moved to Arizona in 1989 to work as a river guide in Grand Canyon. After that first river season, I was looking for a place to live and came upon the little rock house, which was badly in need of repair at that time. It has been an ongoing project ever since.
Q: You have no phone service; what other luxuries do you and your husband forgo?
A: Aside from no phone, we also do not have running water, though we manage to deal with that fairly well. We have a large water tank that we fill as needed. We have a shower that runs off a battery system. We are also getting ready to install a composting toilet; in the meantime, we have a decent outhouse.
Q: What is your day-to-day life like?
A: My work in Grand Canyon is seasonal, so the off-season is spent on home-improvement projects, hiking, cross-country skiing, plenty of cooking and, of course, art. We have dogs, a cat and chickens, and they keep us busy, too.
Q: Tell us about what you do as an artist. Does your environment impact your work?
A: My art is heavily impacted by the Canyon and the plants, animals and birds that share it with me. I work in watercolors, hand-painted boxes in enamels and hand-carved block prints. Some of the prints I sell as greeting cards, and other larger prints I frame with hand-punched tin frames.
Q: Where can people find your art?
A: My work can be seen at the Rafters Gallery at the Rocking V Café in Kanab, Utah.
— Kirsten Kraklio