If you drive to 2851 Sunset St. in northwest Pahrump, you’ll come across what at first glance is one of the most unusual and weird sights you’ll find in Nevada: Coffinwood.
This private residence owned by Bryan and Dusty Schoening has an actual human cemetery and pet cemetery in the front yard, complete with hand-crafted and donated headstones and flanked by two hearses named Doom and Kismet. Their house has coffin-shaped columns. Their greenhouse, gazebo birdbath and garden borders are all coffin-shaped. There are literally coffins everywhere, as well as a collection of Dusty’s 12 hearses. The closer you look, the more you’ll discover their unique brand of humor, compassion and artistry.
It all started in 1997 when Bryan’s parents were tragically killed in a car accident in New Mexico. He discovered how impersonal the funeral industry was. “…It’s car salesmen,” said Bryan.
Then, their daughter wanted a coffin for a Halloween party. That was the spark for a business idea where Dusty’s and Bryan’s talents meshed and they could work together. Bryan’s interests couldn’t be contained to just making custom coffins. “One thing leads to another,” he said, so when they purchased their home in 2002, it morphed into “world’s largest art piece” as Bryan puts it.
They don’t have a gift shop on the property, but you can visit their website at coffinitup.com to see examples of Bryan’s and Dusty’s unbelievable talent. Custom coffins, coffin-shaped cabinets and furniture, jewelry, hand-painted saw blades and so much more. Bryan and Dusty work in a variety of mediums and will create a custom piece to order, limited only by your imagination.
Bryan is also an ordained minister. Their property is the Church of the Coffin. He performs weddings and wedding vow renewals, each one as custom and personalized as his artwork.
Coffinwood is not open to the public, but Dusty and Bryan do give free guided tours with advance reservations, (donations are greatly appreciated). Their property is a certified wildlife habitat where you’ll meet Tank, the 9-year-old rescued African tortoise, and Voodoo, a Florida Cooter turtle that came back from the dead.
Coffinwood is more a celebration of life and artistic expression than a macabre, scary place.
John Clausen is a freelance writer and photographer in Pahrump.