Coffin It Up at Pahrump’s Coffinwood
Ready to catapult your time in Nevada from amazing to unforgettable? If you take the time to swing through this hidden gem, we can just about guarantee you you’ll have to try to forget about it, it’s that good. Buried in the core of an off-the-beaten-track neighborhood in the southern Nevada community lies Coffinwood, a bonafide Weird Nevada sort of experience to say the very least. While Coffinwood is what the proprietors refer to as their actual home and property, their business – Coffin It Up – is in full swing and available to field requests for just about all the coffin-shaped goods you’d ever dream of being custom made to fit your liking.
When traveling to this Nevada treasure, there wont be any mistaking that you’ve arrived. The entrance to this one-of-a-kind property boasts a large sign near the gate spelling out “COFFINWOOD.” Talk about amping up the anticipation in all the right ways. The reason for the gate? Dozens upon dozens of people are totally enamored with this distinct façade, interested in touring the grounds.
COFFIN IT UP COMES TO LIFE
So how did this amazing place spring to life, what’s the story behind it all? Everything you see here is all thanks to Bryan and Dusty Schoening, the lovely couple behind their home at Coffinwood, and of course their business, Coffin It Up. Tragedy struck in 1997 when Bryan’s parents and family dog were killed by an impaired driver during the holiday season. After personally experiencing [and being disgusted by] the funeral industry, Bryan decided to take up coffin making for himself in hopes of softening the blow for others who couldn’t afford to give their loved ones a proper send-off. This was an easy transition for Bryan, as he was already a carpenter by trade. But he wouldn’t build just any casket; he was totally bewitched by the old school caskets: COFFINS. I’m talking the six-sided, old-school, Wild West looking coffins.
And so it was born: Coffin It Up sprang to life. By the year 2000, Bryan was devoted to making custom coffins, and other specialty custom-shaped items by commission, full time. The couple decided to relocate to Pahrump to be near their favorite getaway – Death Valley National Park – in 2005 and made Coffinwood their home.
VISITING COFFINWOOD TODAY
Bryan has been making just about every coffin-shaped item you can dream of since, and loving every minute of it. Most of the outbuildings at Coffinwood are in fact, coffin shaped because he wanted to be visible from Google Maps, and maybe even outer space. When visiting, expect to encounter a coffin-shaped gazebo, planter boxes, workshops and more. While you cant physically purchase anything on-site during your visit, you can order just about anything you’ve got on your mind. Bryan has made custom coffin-shaped kitchens, jewelry, Ping-Pong tables, purses, bookshelves, coffee tables and more. Bryan even made coffin carry on luggage for a coroner, and a series of furniture for the late Jeff Hanneman of Slayer.
Of course, building all things coffin shaped and having a pet cemetery in your front yard in a remote Nevada town might draw some attention. Onlookers love checking out Coffinwood, especially during Christmas when the couple creates extravagant displays to memorialize Bryan’s parents. Or up the ante during your visit and skip the Strip wedding chapel. Get this: you can even get married at Coffinwood… Bryan also started the Church of the Coffin and is an ordained minister. In fact, the property was even featured on TLC’s Wild Weddings with a themed vampire wedding.
TOURS & ADMISSION
Bryan and Dusty don’t run hourly tours – be sure to schedule your visit by appointment only. They will not provide day of, or walk-in tours of any sort; you must schedule your visit in advance. [Remember, this is their private residence we’re talking about.] When touring the property, visitors can expect to peruse the private pet cemetery, the custom-made headstones for his annual “End of the Year Coffin Ceremony,” coffin-shaped gazebo and flower beds, Bryan’s private workshop and jewelry making studio, and of course information on his vast collection of hearses. In total, the Schoenings have 11 hearses: Frost, Doom, Reapers, COTC, and more. Tours of the property are free, but donations to the property are welcomed – and quite frankly, it’s proper etiquette. Any amount you can contribute is well-received.
From downtown Pahrump, take NV-160 north to Bell Vista Avenue. Turn left [so you’re headed west] on Bell Vista and follow for about 4 miles until you reach North Barney Street. Make a left on N. Barney Street, and another immediate left onto Sunset Street. You’ll find Coffinwood on your right in a can’t-miss-it sort of fashion.