A Tisket, a Tasket, Is That End Table...a Casket?
If you’ve always dreamed of that funeral parlor look for your home—or hearse—it’s just a website away.
By Mary Beth Crain
Sick to death of your old furniture? Bored stiff with standard décor? Ready for a new look to die for?
Just visit Casketfurniture.com, where you can find a casket to fit your every interior design dream. Dealing in “furniture for a lifetime…and beyond,” and warning that “sales are probably final,” Casket Furniture is the ultimate in creepy innovation. Here you can buy everything from casket-themed furniture to casket accessories, novelties, games, and even build-your-own casket kits.
Located at the intersection of Grand Guignol and Functional Aesthetic, Casket Furniture promises to give you a home that will be the talk of your neighborhood, not to mention the envy of all your mortician friends. No longer do people have to go to funeral parlors to get their casket fix. They can just go visit you!
Take, for instance, “The Salvador” Casket Sofa. It’s nothing short of brilliant—a Streamline Moderne-style coffin couch with a dual-duty lid that is both down for the sofa seat and up for the sofa back. “Extremely contemporary design combines metal and wood to create this timeless masterpiece,” brags the catalogue promo. And of course, if you buy the sofa, you’ve just gotta have “The Maxim” Coffin Coffee Table to keep it company. The product of the happy union of Casketfurniture.com and Maxim magazine, this lovely item is a full-length velvet-lined coffin with convenient open-and-close lid for under-the-table-top storage. What a great place for Uncle Marty’s skeleton! Serve your guests hors d’oeuvres on your Coffin Coffee Table, open the top and…You’ll really be the life—or death—of the party!
But don’t stop there. You’ll want the sleek Coffin End Table Set, two black tabletops mounted on yellow coffin-shaped bases with black crosses in the middle. And what home would be complete without the captivating “Vlada” Casket Display Cabinet, an upright casket with shelves “intended to display your finest possessions.” Like those crematory urns that have just been waiting for the perfect home?
Ugh! Cordless phones, sterile eyesores of the modern age! Who needs ‘em when you can have “The Edison” Casket Phone Booth? The ad invites you to “talk till you drop!” inside this upright coffin with an old-fashioned pay phone. On to the bedroom, where you’ll find eternal rest in your “Nicodemus” Casket Bed, a pine casket complete with gothic pall bearer handles and “finished with an ebony stain and lacquer with a burgundy velvet interior.” If you want the full effect, you can sleep with the removable lid closed. Nothing like a complete preview!
Casket Furniture is definitely not the place for the casket addict. Once you start, you won’t be able to stop. There’s “The Jefferson” Casket Cigar Box and the “The Merlot” Coffin Wine Holder, miniature works of casket art that are just too adorable to pass up. Admire yourself in “The Rembrandt” Coffin Mirror. And practice your ricochet shots at “The Manhattan” Casket Pool Table.
Casket Furniture is more than just fun, though. It’s really a way of getting comfortable with death. Hang around coffins long enough and they lose their scariness. Eat on them, play pool on them, sleep in them, see your reflection in them, and pretty soon they become just another part of life. So, when the Grim Reaper finally does come a’ knocking, you’ll be ready for him. And I mean ready.
There are some things you can take with you. If you’re sleeping in your Nicodemus Casket Bed now, you can be sleeping in it six feet under too. In answer to the FAQ “Will my funeral home accept a casket I purchase from Casketfurniture.com?” the website replies, “Yes. It is against Federal Law for a funeral home to refuse a casket purchased elsewhere.” Boy. At Casket Furniture, they really see you coming and going.
You might well ask, just who would want casket furniture? Well, members of the Phantom Coach Society, for sure. The Los Angeles-based club is dedicated to “the enjoyment of hearses, meeting new friends and just having fun” and holds monthly meetings at appropriately creepy venues—cemeteries are always popular, of course—to show off their vintage vehicles, talk about upcoming events, mingle and buy and sell funeral memorabilia. Like those little flags that say “Funeral” that go on the front of hearses, and fixtures from funeral homes, and, well, you know.
Lots of PCS members say it’s merely an extension of a lifelong classic car fetish, while others admit to a more ghoulish fascination with hearses. “I like the idea of these dead bodies being in the car,” says “E.W.”, a tall fellow with curly grey hair done in a long ponytail. “I’ve had my share of ghost experiences; you’ve gotta expect that stuff with all the activity this vehicle has seen.”
And then there’s Michael, a chatty interior designer who owns a cranberry red hearse named “Cruela,” in homage to 101 Dalmatian’s Cruela Deville. The interior is all Dalmatian, from the black and white spotted fur steering wheel cover to the upholstery, draperies and big Dalmatian cushions in the back. “ “I took out the rollers and put in cranberry carpeting and the big pillows and some art deco sconces. It’s like a bedroom!”
Yes, these guys would definitely be running to Casket Furniture. They might just keel over, though, when they get a load of the price tags. That casket sofa and coffee table are $3,995—each. The casket phone booth? $3,795. Your casket bed better be comfortable for $4,099. And the casket pool table’s a real bargain at just $12,995. The coffin-shaped rack, by the way, is an extra $79.95—pretty tacky, if you ask me. I mean, geez—if somebody’s shelling out $13,000 for your pool table, throw in the rack, guys!
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Senior editor Mary Beth Crain’s last piece for SoMA was Trash and Tragedy: The Anna Nicole Saga.
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