Hybrid photography, coffee shop and event space set to open in Clayton

Realm’s co-founders designed a hybrid cafe, event and photography space in the Clayton neighborhood at 3851 Steele St. (Photos courtesy Realm)

A photography and event space with a side of caffeine is coming to Clayton.

Realm plans to open next month in 3,508 square feet at 3581 Steele St. The space can be rented for photo shoots, meetings and other events, and also will feature the third location of Amethyst Coffee, which already operates in the Golden Triangle and Berkeley.

Rachel Nichols

Realm is being launched by husband-and-wife team EB and Jonathan Combs and Rachel Nichols, who worked at the Combs’ branding firm The Whistler in the Well for four years.

When they worked together, Nichols said the trio found it was hard to find the right place to meet clients for photo shoots in the city, given that they were working from home or from coffee shops.

“We weren’t freelancers. We had our own company, but it felt like we were freelancers because we didn’t have our own space,” Nichols said. “We felt a little bit isolated not being able to connect with creatives because of our own small company.”

The space has 18-foot ceilings and wooden beams.

The coworkers started searching for ideas about how to integrate photography and events into a business. They took inspiration from Light Lab, a fully furnished photography studio in a Los Angeles warehouse, as well as The Playing Circle, a similarly designed company in Amsterdam.

In Denver, Nichols said, there’s event spaces such as Blanc in RiNo and Moss in the Santa Fe Arts District, which both host weddings and other gatherings. Then there’s Denver Photo Collective, a photography studio featuring natural light in the Santa Fe Arts District and Lakewood.

Realm is different, Nichols said, because of the on-site coffee shop, as well as a space better suited for smaller gatherings.

“We knew that there were amazing spaces that did just photo and had capabilities for big events,” Nichols said. “They can be cost-prohibitive for people wanting to do smaller workshops and smaller gatherings.”

Max capacity at Realm is 150, Nichols said.

“We’re really interested to see what kind of events people are excited to host in this space, but we don’t think weddings are going to be the main thing,” she said.

Realm joins other small companies such as Winter Session, the Moore Collection and A Small Print Shop in the massive industrial warehouse complex owned by developers Ari Stutz and Ken Wolf, key figures in the redevelopment of RiNo.

Realm will join other companies in the massive industrial warehouse complex owned by Ken Wolf and Ari Stutz. (BizDen file photo)

“We love the fact that there are so many brands that we’re huge fans of,” Nichols said of the complex. “That was one huge draw.”

The space is fully furnished. In addition to its 18-foot ceilings and wooden beams, Realm features a corner cyclorama, where the walls meet the floor in a seamless curve for a clean photo backdrop.

So far, Realm has booked a small dinner in August, a photography workshop, a wellness retreat and a breath workshop. Nichols said customers can start booking events in July.

Photographers can rent Realm’s space — 1,500 square feet with a mix of seating and tables — for $100 per hour Mondays through Thursdays, and $150 per hour on Sundays. Fridays and Saturdays are reserved for events — $1,500 for a half day, or $3,000 for a full day.

The space also can be booked for events Monday through Thursday at a cost of $150 per hour, and on Sunday for $200 per hour. Renters can add on the coffee shop space or the mezzanine as well.

Realm’s three founders originally contemplated the idea of starting a coworking brand, in addition to an event and photography space.

“We toured a lot of coworking spaces in Denver, and the market is a little saturated,” Nichols said. “We really wanted to keep away from that and protect the creative component, and really play that up.”

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