It’s easy to assume that Stella Maria Baer has lived her entire life in the desert. A painter by trade, she is known for her stunning depictions of celestial bodies and the arid Colorado landscape. Warm-toned reds, pinks, and yellows—a palette of desert rocks and sand—permeates much of her work. It may be surprising to learn, then, that up until recently, Stella and her husband Seth lived in an eighteenth century home in New England. “Over the past few years, my work had become more and more centered around the southwest deserts, and flying there from the east coast for three weeks at a time to take photographs and paint was exhausting.”

After parting ways with many of their belongings—only essentials were able to tag along for the trip—Stella and Seth made the move from their four-bedroom Connecticut home to a small apartment in Denver. The trade-off was well worth it. “Our apartment in Denver is small and we won’t live in it forever,” Stella says, “but it’s full of things we’ve made with our own hands, and things other friends, family, and artists have made by hand. Having little space in our home is a sacrifice, but it’s one that’s made worth it by the vast expanses of the western landscape that surround us.” Take a peek at Stella’s home and at-home studio below!

west elm - Stella Maria Baer's Desert Artist Studio

“We found this table our first week in Denver for $14. The chairs are one of the few things we hauled with us from the northeast. We found three of them at a liquidation warehouse in New Haven and Seth refinished the wood. When we got to Denver, we were looking for chairs on Craigslist and found an exact match to these chairs! So now we have four.”

west elm - Stella Maria Baer's Desert Artist Studio

Weaving by Heather Winn Bowman, mug by Helen Levi.

west elm - Stella Maria Baer's Desert Artist Studio

“The rug was bought by my dad in Bluff, Utah in the 80s, and the little weaving above the couch is by Heather Winn Bowman. The Palestinian pillow was a gift from a friend in Connecticut.”

west elm - Stella Maria Baer's Desert Artist Studio

“I found the deer jawbone in the windowsill horseback riding in Wyoming a couple years ago. The camera box in the bottom left corner belonged to my grandfather Morley, who was a photographer of western landscapes and modern architecture. Inside is my first camera, given to me by my grandpa—a 1970s Nikon.”

west elm - Stella Maria Baer's Desert Artist Studio

“The rock collection in the upper right corner includes rocks from all over the four corners.”

west elm - Stella Maria Baer's Desert Artist Studio

“Seth gave me the pink salt lamp a couple years ago, and the Crescent Moon mug is by Small Spells.”

west elm - Stella Maria Baer's Desert Artist Studio

“Also pictured is Seth’s dutch oven. He makes biscuits in there when we’re on camping trips.”

west elm - Stella Maria Baer's Desert Artist Studio

“Seth made the knife rack from a piece of beech wood we bought at a mill in Connecticut. The antler knife on the left was made by my Grandpa Winston, and the ones on the right were my gift to Seth last Christmas.”

west elm - Stella Maria Baer's Desert Artist Studio

“One of the few things I wouldn’t let Seth sell are his instruments. Seth plays guitar, bouzouki, mandolin, banjo, ukulele, piano, and others I probably don’t know about yet. My mom gave me the cowboy hat when I was in fifth grade. I thought it was lame and only started wearing it a couple years ago.”

west elm - Stella Maria Baer's Desert Artist Studio

“Seth made the table from a piece of elm we found in Connecticut. I made the watercolor painting of All the Moons of our Solar System, to Scale, in Order of Closeness to the sun.”

west elm - Stella Maria Baer's Desert Artist Studio

“One of my favorite books of the past few years is ‘Georgia O’Keeffe and New Mexico.'”

west elm - Stella Maria Baer's Desert Artist Studio

“A couple paintings I’m working on for an upcoming show at Patagonia in Denver that opens May 6th.”

west elm - Stella Maria Baer's Desert Artist Studio

‘”Wolf Moon’ is the largest moon painting I’ve made yet. Seth cut the wood out of plywood, then I spent weeks gessoing and treating the surface to prepare it to receive watercolor paint.”

west elm - Stella Maria Baer's Desert Artist Studio

“One of our favorite things we own is our West Elm Axel Sofa. We love the saddle color of the distressed leather. Our sheepdog Fox, who likes to hide in the dark under the couch or nap on the sheepskins taking up as much space as possible, thinks it belongs to him. The couch is the same color as a western saddle my grandmother gave me when I was in college.”

Get the Look

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts