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Hope chests, or dowry chests, were once used by young women to store their trousseau"linens, clothes, tableware, and personal possessions they would need after marriage. As this Old World tradition took root in America, chests became popular graduation or coming-of-age presents. Today, they're still a handy, stylish way to store blankets, spare linens, and seasonal clothes. Topped with an easy-to-make coopered lid, our walnut hope chest doesn't need a lifetime commitment to create.

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