COFFIN IT UP: A dying organization grows

When drivers pass Bryan and Dusty Schoening’s home in northwest Pahrump this time of year, they could think the cemetery is only up for Halloween.

“Then they drive by in February and it’s nevertheless up,” Bryan Schoening mentioned.

The cemetery contains a stand-up skeleton, a mannequin of a corpse in a coffin and quite a few gravestones, which includes 1 for Pluto, a planet named soon after the god of the underworld.

“It’s not truly a fascination with death, it’s far more of a fascination of life and a celebration of life and everyone knows the best bird-watching always takes place in the cemetery so why not have 1 in your front yard,” Bryan Schoening mentioned. “And it is kind of blossomed. There’s a lot of memorials, buddies who passed away. So we place up headstones for them and then of course we’ve had fairly a handful of pets that passed away, that is why there’s an impromptu pet cemetery.

“People have donated actual headstones from exactly where their loved ones are buried elsewhere,” Bryan Schoening stated.

These folks can visit Schoening’s cemetery to spend respects to their lost, loved ones alternatively of traveling a long way to the actual cemetery.

The cemetery is an introduction to Schoening’s unusual business, Coffin It Up, which produces coffins for not just burials, but for furniture that function as bookcases, DVD instances, coffee tables, even jewelry. His home was featured on the Home and Garden Network’s show “Home, Strange Home.”

There is a coffin-shaped gazebo, coffin-shaped pillars holding up the house and a coffin-shaped pergola.

Coffin It Up has been a company because 2000. Bryan and Dusty Schoening moved to Pahrump from Oregon in 2002 and moved into their present home in 2005.

“People are dying for what I do,” he joked.

So how did he get into generating coffins?

“It was actually our daughter, she had the thought for a Halloween party although she was in school that it would be cool to have a coffin to jump out of to scare men and women coming up to do the trick or treat. Being a extended-time woodworker I figured out it can not be that hard,” Schoening mentioned. “I created her a single and discovered it wasn’t that straightforward. There’s angles, they’re all diverse and it was a challenge and it was genuinely that challenge that wrangled me into it. I started producing a lot more coffins, of course you can only have so a lot of coffins laying around, then I began obtaining various ways to make them into.”

A casket is a full-sized box, a coffin is six-sided in the shape of a individual, he mentioned. In the Old West, cabiniet makers and wheelwrights generally make coffins.

“The other reason Coffin It up was started at Christmas time truly I lost my parents to an intoxicated driver and so I got a 1st-hand taste of how the funeral business genuinely can be and that is when I became a minister. There was a lot of diverse items that happened due to the fact of that,” Schoening mentioned.

He sells most of his coffins ahead of individuals die so people can appreciate it prior to it is place in the ground.

“I deal primarily with pre-require, I extremely hardly ever do one thing following the truth,” Schoening mentioned. “They just want to be ready. They don’t really want to have a discomfort for the problem for their loved ones to take care of. They want their loved ones to be able to go by way of the mourning process without having having to go to deal with the vehicle salesmanship of funeral properties.”

The prices are primarily based on what type of wood is necessary and the religion. Some religions won’t want any metal, he mentioned.

Asked what was his most unusual burial coffin creation, Bryan Schoening stated, “the ones that got mounted into the RV had been quite fascinating. They were travelers and they wanted coffins constructed into their RV.”

For pine coffins, a standard lumber yard will operate fine for material. But for some caskets he requirements material like strong mahogany, zebra wood, blood wood, in 1 case he had to obtain wood shipped in from Africa for an eyeglass case, he mentioned.

The orders come in from as far away as New York.

“The factor I inform men and women to do is you know go to Vegas, have a getaway, but only purchase a 1-way ticket. Come out right here, rent a van, choose it up, drive it home and a lot of people do that,” Bryan Schoening mentioned. “We’re doing a pre-want, they’re turning it into a vacation and a entertaining point.”

His home is Pahrump’s only entry in the Weird Las Vegas and Nevada book. The publicity has led to some folks who want tours of their home.

Dusty Schoening mentioned Pahrump tourist officials don’t want to acknowledge they’re right here. But she stated, “if they knew how a lot of folks came to Pahrump just to come right here, their minds would be blown.”

In his living room, behind the sofa, Bryan Schoening added latex to make teaching skeletons into artificial corpses with nicknames like Zen, Tinkerdead and Evo Screamo. Even his bathroom has tile in the shape of coffins.

Adding to the macabre atmosphere, the Schoenings accumulated 11 hearses, mostly broken-down ones in the back yard, a few are parked in the front driveway, one has the license plate “Doom.”

The Schoenings have also been featured on the Studying Channel for their newer venture, Church of the Coffin.

“We had been on TLC for Wild Weddings for a wedding we did at the Lee Funeral Home, we really did a wedding for a bunch of vampires,” Dusty Schoening stated.

When they started the wedding enterprise, they have been told Bryan had to be affiliated with a church, Dusty Schoening said. Following a number of months, they acquired a certificate in 2006 from the county clerk to conduct marriages. Considering that they don’t have a chapel they conduct the ceremonies at various locations, at Lakeside Casino, Pahrump Valley Winery, even two pizza parlors. Dusty Schoening said some couples choose to tie the knot in the cave constructed behind their residence of polyurethane foam or the graveyard, even their living space.

Bryan Schoening said he didn’t like Christmas due to the fact of the memories of his parents’ death, but now he decorates the cemetery with LED lights that are timed to go off in time with music.

The Schoenings are not completed with their plans.

“The hope is, because we really personal the vacant lot subsequent to us, also truly in time I want to develop the coffin house, which is going to be totally coffin shaped,” Bryan Schoening said. “I hope to get in the ‘Guinness Book of World Records’ for possessing the largest coffin in the world.

“A lot of properties that are built they want it to be very airy, they want it to be very open. I made that with as several hallways, as a lot of corners, any haunted property lover would just enjoy it simply because it’s got just a very good design for a haunted residence.”

The couple do not uncover it depressing waking up to the fake corpses, skulls, caskets and reminders of death each day.

“It tends to make me smile,” Dusty Schoening mentioned.

“It’s often excellent,” her husband mentioned. “I adore waking up and seeing all the wonderful stuff about that I constructed, painted, carved, accomplished this, accomplished that.”

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