Studio Tour: An Art Salon at Las Vegas' Center

After years of working solo, artist friends Daria Riley and Sabrina Cofield attained a state of limbo in their creative lives. Art had taken a backseat to the call of motherhood, and they had something to kick-start their creativity.

Their idea: establish a neighborhood salon where they could make art, host workshops, exhibit local art and hold gallery occasions. BLVDS LV magazine owner and publisher Jan Craddock was sympathetic with their idea. She offered to allow Riley and Cofield discuss her studio space, a three-bedroom bungalow. Inspired by the Tea House Art Studio in Berkeley, California, the friends spent roughly $3,000 on improvements, decor and art equipment for the studio. They call their new venture Selah.

Studio at a Glance
What it is: The BLVDS House, house to Selah, BLVDS LV magazine and InVision Creative Business Coaching
Location: Fremont district of Las Vegas
Size: 1,800 square feet; 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms
Decorating funding: $3,000

Sarah Greenman

Riley and Cofield created a studio in one of the bungalow’s bedrooms. It is a bright, open room equipped with three waist-high craft tables, minimal seats and lots of lighting. Mason jars on the desks hold a variety of paintbrushes, scrapers and palette knives.

The chalk wall calendar began with a desire to stay organized in preparation their art classes and workshops. “I wasn’t quite ready, however, for how long it would require me to paint the walls,” Cofield states. “It took three times! It was a lot of work — all those squares and lines — but we absolutely love it.”

Due to the bumpy nature of the bedroom walls, Cofield couldn’t use painter’s tape to create the calendar. Instead she summarized the squares in pencil and painted all of it by hand. She then mixed her own chalkboard paint with unsanded tile grout using an online tutorial to make the coloured squares.

Desks: Craft Space Table, Home Decorators Collection, Martha Stewart Living

Sarah Greenman

Cofield offers three tips for making a DIY chalk wall calendar:

1. When blending the chalk paint, make sure you purchase a new bag of grout; don’t use one that has been sitting around in the garage. Ensure you utilize unsanded tile grout so you don’t wind up with lumps.

2. Be patient. Painting the squares by hand is time intensive, but the finished product is quite rewarding.

3. Once the wall is completed, use dustless chalk instead of chalk markers. You can get these at any local school shop or office supply shop. Chalk markers will not wipe off the wall.

Chalk paint: Rust-Oleum Tintable Chalkboard Paint

Sarah Greenman

Because the pair will be working with ink and paint, among the primary things that had to go was the carpeting. Riley and Cofield were expecting to lay a hardwood floor, but because of budget constrains, they decided to sand and stain the plywood beneath. “People love the flooring,” Cofield states. “I only see all the flaws, but then again I am a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to things like that.”

Riley is happy that their studio has a doorway that leads to a side porch. Airflow is equally important when working with paint. She likes to take her work outside. “Sometimes a change of scenery is all that I need for a little motivational oomph,” she states.

Mirror: Home Goods

Sarah Greenman

Riley prefers a tall craft desk into a typical elevation, so she’s the option to sit or stand while working.

When asked about sharing a studio with another artist, Cofield states, “We’ve got a very beautiful and calm energy, and we can feed off each other. It is the ideal partnership, as where one people lacks the additional picks up. I am able to sing. She is able to paint. She can dance. I am able to write. I’m a celebrity and a wannabe inner designer. So I just require a quiet space, a pc, a stage and a mirror or a blank palette. It is the most fun I’ve ever had in the office.”

Sarah Greenman

Riley makes mixed-media art using acrylic, old papers, books, pastels, watercolors and India ink. “I like drawing bamboo, and my fingers will be the best brushes I’ve ever used,” she states. “I usually work with little bits, below 20 by 20 inches, but recently I’ve been motivated to undertake some huge canvases, which requires room to move”

Sarah Greenman

Most homes built in this era are short on closet space, so Riley and Cofield made good use of the built-in wardrobe. Baskets and wire boxes keep art materials arranged.

Art: Daria Riley

Sarah Greenman

An open living room with vaulted ceilings, white walls and gleaming hardwood flooring greets visitors as they enter. The room is a part workshop space and a part art gallery.

“I’m really into clean lines, simple palettes with pops of color, comfort, versatility and a space that inspires,” Cofield states. “The space is so tempting — people always tell us they wish they can move in. What a compliment.”

Stool: Christopher Knight Home’s Lucian Rustic Iron Top Stool,

Sarah Greenman

Matching window seats flank a wood-burning fireplace. Riley and Cofield wanted the simple beauty of their architecture and flooring to take center stage from the community room, so they left the decor sparse and the walls open for incoming art.

“I love our workspace, but there is something regarding the real-wood burning fireplace in the main room that warms my heart,” Cofield states. “It is such a gorgeous room with so much character. We’ve taught dozens of classes in that space, and every time we look it for a new class, I’m always amazed at how charming, warm and inviting the space is.”

Lanterns: Goal

Sarah Greenman

An upgraded galley kitchen lies in the center of the house. Workshop participants have morning coffee and a light breakfast here. Local artists who use the space during the day can also bring their lunches or prepare a meal. The kitchen also has room for cheese and wine prep when Selah hosts an open house or a gallery night.

Knife holder:

Sarah Greenman

The kitchen leads to a breakfast nook with natural light from three instructions.

Table, chairs: Lynn’s World Consignment

Sarah Greenman

French doors, original into the 1940s bungalow, lead to a back patio and detached garage. “The green accents around the house provide a dash of color without detracting from the work at hand,” Cofield states. “Green is a pleasant, refreshing neutral.”

Sarah Greenman

The landlord agreed to update the exterior paint and trim to your Selah transformation. A dusty brown foundation mirrors the surrounding desert, and citrus-green trim fits the inside green accents.

Sarah Greenman

The front door has a peephole.

Business partners and friends Daria Riley (left) and Sabrina Cofield outside the bungalow’s front doorway.

Riley offers the following advice for others interested in creating a similar creative space: “Keep overhead low. Creating a budget makes it possible to decide what is most important. And only go into business with someone you completely trust and respect.”

Cofield adds, “Make sure you have sufficient capital to continue at least 18 months; 2 years will be perfect, particularly if you’re doing something brand new. Our intention is to educate people in Vegas regarding the value of nurturing their own creative center, and that takes time and money. Go into business with someone who balances and suits you, and somebody with a similar work ethic and passion for the business. That’s enormous. Daria and I are in this together, and knowing that makes all the difference in the world.”

See more photos of the creative space

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