Where to start.
So you already own a home and now you’d like to have a secret door, but you’re not sure exactly where to put it inside your house. Maybe you’re not even sure if your house is a good candidate to have a secret door in the first place. Or perhaps you’re considering between several spots and you need help choosing. Maybe you’re at the point where you just need some ideas. Don’t worry – we can help.
Most hidden spaces fall into 1 of 3 categories:
A) Rooms that formally had a different purpose but have now been repurposed to become the hidden space.
B) Rooms that were once larger but have now been subdivided so that part of the room is now a secret space.
C) New space that is added to the floor plan.
Repurposing rooms to become secret rooms:
It’s EASY to change an existing room into a secret room – far easier than most people think, and for that reason this is the most popular method of finding the right space. Often times it is as simple as removing the conventional door from a rough opening, and replacing it with a door that has camouflage. It can be a tiny room like a coat closet, a storage room, office, or it could be an entire wing of the house. Repurposing a room is a great option, but there are some common concerns with this approach that we hear all the time:
1. Some clients have expressed concern that they can’t give up their existing space in order to convert it into a secret room. To this we advise you to remember that you’re not actually giving up any space at all. You can still access the space just as easily, you still have the same amount of space, and you can still store the same objects inside the secret space. You’re just replacing the door.
2. Another thing we hear all the time is “But won’t people notice that something is strange about the floor plan?” The concern here is that a guest or intruder might walk through the house and deduce that some space is “missing”. Or perhaps the secret room has a window to the outside, and someone might have counted the number of windows visible from the outside and then put it together that fewer rooms with windows are visible from inside the house. My answer to those concerns is this: In all the years we’ve been doing this, and out of the 3000+ secret doors that we’ve provided, I have never once heard of anyone deducing that there is a hidden room from the floor plan. People just do not mentally map their way around when walking through a house. And even if they did, houses routinely have dead spaces and inaccessible ductwork and mechanical spaces that no one ever notices or thinks about.
3. While the easiest and cheapest solution is simply to replace the conventional door with a secret door, sometimes that’s not feasible. Perhaps there’s not a great way to camouflage the new secret door because its location is not ideal. That happens sometimes. We advise our clients to keep an open mind about the possibility of walling over the old doorway and adding a new opening in a different location. The prospect of moving walls or doorways around can seem intimidating, but it shouldn’t be. It’s a very cost-effective solution that can be accomplished in just a day or so by nearly any handyman and even a lot of marginally handy homeowners, so it should definitely be on the table. Don’t be afraid to get creative and think outside the box.
Subdividing a room to form a secret space:
Homeowners prefer to keep their valuables close to them, so secret spaces close to the master bedroom are highly sought after. An easy way to achieve that is to subdivide the master walk-in closet so that part of the closet becomes the secret space. This is easy to do and requires no demolition whatsoever. We see this a lot with storage rooms and mechanical rooms being subdivided as well. Additionally, some houses were just designed with an awkward niche somewhere, and we see that as an opportunity to convert space that was once wasted into some of the most important and exciting spaces in the entire home. Remember to think outside the box; just because you subdivided a room to create the secret space, that doesn’t mean that you must necessarily enter the secret space from the room that you subdivided. Often the best point of entry to the secret room is through a new opening in one of the other adjacent walls.
Adding new secret space through square footage:
Of course if there’s no room to repurpose and no room to subdivide, you can always build an addition that includes a secret space. You can even build a hidden basement under and existing home. This approach gives you lots of versatility, but this is by far the most expensive and the most intrusive of the 3 ways get a secret space.
Still not sure where to put the secret room?
Lots of our clients come to us having no idea where they would like the secret space to be and they want our expert opinion. If that sounds like you, then you’ll be happy to learn that we provide free online site consultations over FaceTime and Zoom as well as in-person site consultations for a reasonable fee. You can walk us through the space, share with us your needs and design criteria, and let us tell you how we would design it if it were our own home. We’ve done many such consultations where the client had one concept in mind when we arrived, but during the course of the consultation the project morphed into a different (and better) concept entirely. Please don’t hesitate to give us a call to get our opinion, or share with us a brief walk through video showing the areas that you’re considering. We get a kick out of making incredible secret spaces, so we’re always thrilled for the opportunity to apply our experience to help your project turn out as amazing as it can possibly be.