From the outside, it looks like a charming shop with an artsy feel. Once inside, there’s no mistaking this is a place for creativity to blossom, DIY confidence to take hold, and memories to be made. The Fort Collins, Colo., Board & Brush Creative Studio, located at 244 North College Avenue, Unit 115, is holding its grand opening Friday, Sept. 6 from 6:30-9 p.m. with gift bags for the first 30 people and a chance to win a private VIP sign-making party for six valued at more than $400. Light bites, FoCo DoCo donuts, and lemonade round out the festivities. Attendees will get a first look inside the studio decorated with lots of signs to get the creative juices flowing, with staff demonstrating the steps in making a sign. Workshops start the next day. The grand opening event is free and open to the public. For more on the new studio and to register for a workshop to create your own home décor piece of art, log on to boardandbrush.com/fortcollins.
You need not be a master craftsperson to sign up at the Fort Collins studio, with novices feeling right at home at Board & Brush thanks to the instructor-led format of the workshops during which attendees are guided through the ins and outs of power tools, paint, art and assembly, with all materials supplied by the studio. Each workshop lasts about three hours and attendees can select from hundreds of design templates, with new ones added each month. The company works with top graphic designers around the country to create the designs, most with a vintage farmhouse look. A workshop cost is $68 and pre-registration is required.
The studio is owned by wife-and-husband team of Rachael and Brad Roumaya. They moved to the area several years ago after jumping off the corporate treadmill that had become their life in Austin, Texas. “We were climbing the corporate ladder, both with careers in hospitality, then everything changed when our son was born two years ago and we decided to make balance a priority,” shared Rachael. “We actually hand-picked Fort Collins – I called it ‘fairytale land’ – because it was so family-friendly and we liked the slower pace.”
Their life in Austin was built around Brad’s career managing multiple country clubs and Rachael’s job directing catering and event sales at one of those properties. Once in Fort Collins, Brad got his realtor license and will keep that day job while helping behind-the-scenes at Board and Brush while Rachel, the DIYer in the pair, makes the studio and instructing classes her primary job. “We were a team back in Austin and still are now,” noted Brad.
The couple first learned about Board & Brush when one of Rachael’s former bride clients at the country club in Austin had posted that she and her husband owned a studio and then opened a second one. “I thought what a fun business and they must be doing well at it too,” recounted Rachael. “At Brad’s first workshop, his sign turned out great and he’s not super crafty plus he had fun, so that sold me.”
Owning a business was on their wish list as well. “We came here with the goal of entrepreneurship and probably looked at upwards of 50 businesses and business concepts before we decided on Board & Brush,” said Brad. Their studio is located in The Exchange in Old Town, a hub for craft retailers and artisan restaurants plus a brewery and distillery. Inside the space has a vintage DIY-vibe with cement floors, vaulted ceilings and large windows. There is seating for 30 at a time. The studio serves wine and beer.
The Roumayas expect the signs with images of mountains and wide open spaces to be popular. “Of course, now that we’re coming into fall, the Halloween designs should be big sellers too,” said Rachael.
Giving back to the community that they’ve fallen in love with is also high on their to-do list. Local non-profits interested in hosting a fundraising workshop are invited to contact the studio directly.