The Freedom Chest is part of the Original Life Chest Collection sold exclusively at Art Van. (Life2000 Ltd.)
Leaving a legacy in the form of a hope chest might sound a little old-fashioned, but that’s no longer the case. As Donna Yost, president and CEO of Life2000 Ltd., explains, the Original Life Chest Collection is now available exclusively at Art Van.
The idea was originally inspired by a buying trip her husband took to Bangkok. There, he saw a family’s collection of chests that held mementos from five generations. “They contained a remarkable history that really told the story of the family’s ancestry,” says Yost.
More recently, upon learning her friend with then 1-year-old twins had been diagnosed with breast cancer, the idea of a life chest came to mind once more. “Women who are suffering from breast cancer or any type of cancer can create a legacy for their children,” says Yost, who raises money for two charities through sales of specific chests.
Part of the proceeds of the SurThriver Chest goes to the Pink Fund. This particular style was inspired by her breast cancer survivor friend who fills hers with letters to her children.
In addition, part of the proceeds from the Patriot Chest help to support Combat Injured Troops. “Veterans have some comfort from the chests once they’re deployed. Part of their soul is in the life chest where they can share their most intimate keepsakes,” Yost says.
Unlike shoeboxes, these heirloom-quality pieces that retail for around $1,199 (regular price), are designed to stand the test of time. Each chest is handcrafted, velvet-lined and comes with a lock, so they can be used to store important documents. They also feature a slow-close lid.
“A lot of work and detail goes into the creation of each one,” says Yost, who made sure to include multiple spots for photos.
The collection includes everything from an Asian-inspired Zen Blossom Chest to the traveling trunk style of the New Yorker Chest.
There is even the Cherished Pet Lovers design.
An array of styles allows them to suit any setting. Though rooted in the past, they reflect the furniture design of today.
Yost says the chests combine the past, present and future. “They play a part in your future by showing that you existed. It’s really powerful when someone knows there’s a piece of them left behind,” she says.
The chests are meant to tell your story. “They should represent someone so well, that if you never met them and you went through the chest, you would know who they are,” says Yost.
Ultimately, the life chest is a place to put your essence so you can live on through generations, says Yost.
It’s also a way to reconnect families.
“They encourage people to communicate,” says Yost, whose children go through the mementos in her life chest when they come to visit.
As Yost reminds us, most people don’t even print pictures anymore, let alone keep everything in a safe place. “We need to take care of future generations, so that they know what our world was like,” she says.
For information, go to artvan.com.
Jeanine Matlow is a Metro Detroit interior decorator turned freelance writer specializing in stories about interior design. You can reach her at email@example.com.