For those in the market for an environmentally friendly, dual-purpose casket, Fredericton cabinet-maker Jeremy Burrill believes he has the answer.
Designed after several requests from customers, the casket kit from Fiddlehead Casket Company doubles as a bookshelf or storage unit until it is needed for its final use.
"A few ideas were tossed around," Burrill said of potential alternative uses for the casket, including a coffee table or a blanket box.
"But then the bookshelf was the one that kind of made the most sense."
Burrill said a few customers requested that option and, after he filled those orders, he wondered if more would be interested.
"It does look like an ordinary bookshelf except it does have a few handles on the side."
The handles are made of the same material as the casket, so they blend in to the background, as opposed to a traditional casket that might have a polished brass rail on it..
Burrill admits having a casket in your house is not something everybody is comfortable with, but he has already had a few sales and inquiries in the few months it has been available.
When asked who is interested in the product, Burrill said it's those who want to make use of it before death.
"So far it's younger people in their thirties… or thereabouts. They're looking at 'this is what I want to have — a casket down the road, but I'd like to get some use out of it'."
"For some of them, it's a bit of a reminder of their own mortality in a way, just a quiet reminder in the corner of 'hmmm, maybe you'd better do that thing you're planning on now as opposed to putting it off to later'."
All the caskets are environmentally-friendly and will break down in the ground over time.
"There's no screws or any type of fabric or metal in them at all — just wooden parts."
The bookshelf casket kits can be purchased for just over $1,000 and includes step-by-step instructions and a hammer to assemble it all in about 30 minutes.
Fiddlehead Casket Company can now ship the casket/bookshelf kits all over North America. Burrill said the farthest he's shipped one is to Whitehorse.