Author Topic: Secret Room in House?  (Read 8484 times)

Crazydude

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Secret Room in House?
« on: February 12, 2016, 02:10:06 PM »
Just wondering if anyone has built (or had by any means) a secret room in their house. I've always imagined eventually building one behind a bookcase or a wall or something.

If so, what's its purpose? Or what would you want it to be?

nereo

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Re: Secret Room in House?
« Reply #1 on: February 12, 2016, 02:15:51 PM »
Just wondering if anyone has built (or had by any means) a secret room in their house. I've always imagined eventually building one behind a bookcase or a wall or something.

If so, what's its purpose? Or what would you want it to be?
does a "secret" (really just hidden) trap door in a tree house count?  There wasn't much function except to increase the novelty/imagination factor. 
I love online posts where people have hidden a room behind a sliding bookcase.  I might be tempted to do that if I ever lived in a high-crime area, though basic crime-fighting diligence would be more important.

Are you designing such a project?

Crazydude

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Re: Secret Room in House?
« Reply #2 on: February 12, 2016, 02:24:59 PM »
Just wondering if anyone has built (or had by any means) a secret room in their house. I've always imagined eventually building one behind a bookcase or a wall or something.

If so, what's its purpose? Or what would you want it to be?
does a "secret" (really just hidden) trap door in a tree house count?  There wasn't much function except to increase the novelty/imagination factor. 
I love online posts where people have hidden a room behind a sliding bookcase.  I might be tempted to do that if I ever lived in a high-crime area, though basic crime-fighting diligence would be more important.

Are you designing such a project?

Not yet. Because crime where I am is not an issue, the only purpose would be that "it's cool". I could see it being utilized as man cave though, a TV and some video games, mini fridge, etc.

Parizade

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Re: Secret Room in House?
« Reply #3 on: February 12, 2016, 02:30:33 PM »
I once toured a model home that had a "secret" playroom built over the garage. The kids could access it from their bedroom, the door was a bookcase on hinges. I thought it was brilliant, it gave the kids a huge area for play and toy storage that was completely hidden from the rest of the tastefully furnished home.

KCM5

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Re: Secret Room in House?
« Reply #4 on: February 12, 2016, 03:28:42 PM »
There's a company that sells bookcase doors for this purpose

https://www.themurphydoor.com/

I was thinking of using one if we ever add on a spare room. I think it'd be sweet!

I have seen one used as an entrance to a safe room in a basement. A safe room is unnecessary in my life, but I like the novelty of a bookcase door.

swick

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Re: Secret Room in House?
« Reply #5 on: February 12, 2016, 03:44:51 PM »
We bought our house because it has a secret passage in it. There was a rental unit built into the basement, but they didn't use up the whole basement so there is a secret passage that runs between the wall of the rental unit and the outside wall of the house that connects our cold storage room and workshop.

When we are FI and no longer have to worry about renting out the basement, we are going to "secret room" the office down there since it has no outside windows and you'd never know it was there. What will we use it for? maybe a games room or Library?  Not sure.

paddedhat

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Re: Secret Room in House?
« Reply #6 on: February 12, 2016, 03:49:48 PM »
When I was young, my dad's construction company did a job for an incredibly wealthy, and odd family. He installed a secret compartment in a built-in piece of furniture. The child of the clan was then able to escape, in the event of a kidnapping, or other potential violent event in their mansion. The kid could either hide in the furniture, or escape through a hidden door to the exterior.

In the small town I grew up in, a local guy removed the floor from his detached garage, dug down and made it a full basement, with a load bearing concrete floor above, to park his car. He then excavated the yard and built a concrete tunnel going from his house basement to his new garage basement.

iris lily

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Re: Secret Room in House
« Reply #7 on: February 12, 2016, 03:52:18 PM »
Yes,our victorian house is a gut rehab and we built both a secret room behind the bookcases and a space thats 22"x22"x36" to hide valuables.

Now I will have to kill you.  :)

Heywood57

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Re: Secret Room in House?
« Reply #8 on: February 13, 2016, 05:28:53 PM »
There are lots of pictures of hidden rooms on Houzz.

http://www.houzz.com/photos/query/hidden-room/

sol

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Re: Secret Room in House?
« Reply #9 on: February 13, 2016, 05:51:12 PM »
The problem with secret rooms is that they eat up valuable floor space.  The real estate market thrives on square footage, and when you hide a room you make the house seem smaller.

In enormous houses this isn't such a big deal, but in more mustachioed homes it might be a problem.  My solution has always been secret compartments and panels, rather than whole rooms.  Bookcases and shelves, for example, are pretty easy to modify slightly to hide small spaces. Enough for firearms or valuables anyway.
« Last Edit: February 13, 2016, 10:13:34 PM by sol »

Spork

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Re: Secret Room in House?
« Reply #10 on: February 13, 2016, 06:23:15 PM »
I have a (very small) dead spot that backs up to 3 different closets.  I've considered something along Sol's suggestion.

BudgetSlasher

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Re: Secret Room in House?
« Reply #11 on: February 14, 2016, 09:22:23 AM »
Not really a room, but in our house, if you go up into the attic through a 1 foot by 2 foot scuttle hatch inside of a 2 foot by 3 foot closet (note: you must remove all clothes and wire rack shelving to access) walk across the attic, and pick up the fiberglass insulation you have access to a "dead space" when the sloped ceiling on the stairwell is lower than the ceiling of the rest of the second floor.

I am eventually going to turn the space into a proper attic access; I already have been up there a fair bit for electrical and air sealing work and I have plans to do more so it will make things easier.

I have always thought I would do something like sol suggested, be it a bookcase that conceals a compartment, a wall mounted coat rack that can be removed to reveal a compartment between the studs, of a piece of trim modeling that is friction fit in place to conceal access to a wall cavity. There is so much unused space inside if interior walls it isn't even funny.
« Last Edit: February 14, 2016, 09:25:08 AM by BudgetSlasher »

Roots&Wings

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Re: Secret Room in House?
« Reply #12 on: February 14, 2016, 10:46:15 AM »
My solution has always been secret compartments and panels, rather than whole rooms.  Bookcases and shelves, for example, are pretty easy to modify slightly to hide small spaces. Enough for firearms or valuables anyway.

Thank you for the great idea! I have a wall cavity open currently for a project and will box out a secret compartment. Can't imagine anyone would think to look in this particular spot either.

Another place is within furniture. Inherited an antique furniture piece from my grandparents with secret compartments.

matchewed

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Re: Secret Room in House?
« Reply #13 on: February 14, 2016, 10:52:53 AM »
Used to have a bedroom in one of my old apartments that had an escape hatch to the stairwell through the closet. Wasn't so secret as every time someone walked by and asked what door is that to? Someone would say "Matt's bedroom." Great for parties though...

wonderfuffin

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Re: Secret Room in House?
« Reply #14 on: February 14, 2016, 03:45:46 PM »
I did! When I was 14 my family moved into a new house. I had the master bedroom because my parents wanted the room on the first floor. The room had a built in book case that we thought was just a bookcase when they bought the house.
As we were moving in I noticed there was a little gap between the bookcase and the molding the surrounded it. I pushed on it and the bookcase swung open. I thought I had broken it before I realized it lead into storage area.
The storage area wasn't big, maybe 10 ft by 5ft. It was really cool as a teenager to find this!

Making Cookies

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Re: Secret Room in House?
« Reply #15 on: February 14, 2016, 06:45:25 PM »
A house I rented in Italy for several years came partially furnished. About halfway through I realized that the wall bookshelf unit had two single beds hidden inside it - one at each end. We were robbed along the way and my roomie was cleaned out. i didn't have much to loose but I lost it. ;)

After that as I accumulated some nicer things, I began to hide a few high price items in those fold out bed cavities.

If we lived in a higher crime area now, I'd definitely have some furniture compartments to hide computers, tablets, a few other things.

As for the hidden room - in large formal home, would be very nice to hide the playroom. In a higher crime area - it would be nice to have a way to exit the home - maybe a spiral staircase or fireman's pole.

Fishindude

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Re: Secret Room in House?
« Reply #16 on: February 19, 2016, 08:22:44 AM »
I've built a few secret compartments to stash guns and valuables in.
Not really needed, I just thought they were pretty cool.

arebelspy

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Re: Secret Room in House?
« Reply #17 on: February 19, 2016, 08:27:52 AM »
What kid didn't want a secret room activated by a bookshelf?

Solis point is a good one though.  I don't think I'd want to own a house big enough for one.  Not that I care about resale value, but if you have two rooms, having a secret room is silly.

Imagine a secret room in a tumbleweed home, for example.
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Jack

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Re: Secret Room in House?
« Reply #18 on: February 19, 2016, 08:59:45 AM »
My house has a partial basement, but no stairs leading to it (you have to go outside and around). When I renovate it to add stairs, I'm thinking of using a bookcase door on the first floor. (It depends on where the stairs end up going, which I haven't completely decided yet.)

Vertical Mode

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Re: Secret Room in House?
« Reply #19 on: February 19, 2016, 09:41:34 AM »
Found this amusing, and somewhat relevant:

https://xkcd.com/1049/

We have a trap door to access a crawlspace in an otherwise unassuming closet. Does that count?

GuitarStv

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Re: Secret Room in House?
« Reply #20 on: February 19, 2016, 09:52:05 AM »
Yes.  Two instances:

    As a young child I had a room.  In the room there was a closet.  Inside the closet at the very back was a little door, only about two and a half feet tall.  My father nailed the door shut when we first moved in to keep the monsters away from me.  This little door gave me nightmares for years.  Years.  There were short undead horrors behind the door.  How well could the tiny nails that my dad hold?  HOW MANY NIGHTS???  I barricaded my closet shut regularly.  Eventually it turned out that the little door led into the attic, and my dad was afraid that I'd go in there and step in the wrong place and fall through the living room ceiling.

    In our current home there was a funny animal type smell that would be noticeable only on hot summer days in our family room.  It was really driving me nuts, because no matter what we would do this smell would come back whenever it was hot and muggy.  Long story short - it turned out that the builders had made a secret room.  Our family room is over our garage and kinda between the 1st and 2nd floors height-wise.  There is a section about six foot by eight foot and four and a half foot tall that was walled off with drywall by the builders.
    I knocked a hole in the drywall, found this room, and discovered a hole that let out to our garage.  There was a dead mouse in there.  It was also completely uninsulated.  So I knocked a bigger hole in the drywall, removed the mouse cleaned everything off as well as possible with as many different smell removing cleaners as I could find, patched the hole and insulated the space properly.  Then I built some shelving into the area, so now we have a recessed area in a side wall that holds the media center computer and our receiver in it.


So . . . there you go.  Monster door, and dead body in the wall.
« Last Edit: February 19, 2016, 09:54:44 AM by GuitarStv »

trammatic

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Re: Secret Room in House?
« Reply #21 on: February 19, 2016, 10:56:54 AM »
Yup.  The walk-in-closet in the MBR has a secondary (smaller) closet behind a hinged mirror.  It's built that way because of the hipped roof over the garage where it is.  We use that room for our off-season clothes storage for the kids, and to hide Christmas gifts.  I installed a hidden magnetic lock that opens when you put a magnet on a specific part of the mirror frame, so it's highly unlikely the kids would be able to get in there even if they knew where it was.

sol

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Re: Secret Room in House?
« Reply #22 on: February 19, 2016, 03:51:46 PM »
I installed a hidden magnetic lock that opens when you put a magnet on a specific part of the mirror frame

This is a little bit of genius I have not yet implemented, but now cannot stop thinking about.  I hope you put the key magnet into a prop magic wand or amulet or something.

Did you buy a commercial magnetic lock, or rig something yourself? 

GizmoTX

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Re: Secret Room in House?
« Reply #23 on: February 19, 2016, 04:27:08 PM »
We used this magnetic lock to baby-proof certain cabinets: https://www.tot-lok.com. We put an eye screw into the magnet key & attached a key coil wrist loop to the eye screw, which also makes the "key" visible & easy to carry or hang up. http://www.containerstore.com/s/hooks/mail-key/keycoil-wrist-chain/12d?productId=10032494.
Toddlers can overcome all other hook devices quickly, making them useless. Not this one: the magnetic "spot" is invisible & the magnetic key is absolutely required -- you'll break the door without it.

MicroRN

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Re: Secret Room in House?
« Reply #24 on: February 19, 2016, 10:23:45 PM »
No, but I've always wanted one.  An awful lot of books I remember reading as a kid involved some type of hidden passage or room, and I've never gotten over wanting one. 

Crazydude

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Re: Secret Room in House?
« Reply #25 on: February 19, 2016, 10:39:23 PM »
There are lots of pictures of hidden rooms on Houzz.

http://www.houzz.com/photos/query/hidden-room/

This is awesome.

R S

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Re: Secret Room in House?
« Reply #26 on: March 23, 2016, 08:22:40 PM »
I knew a well off couple that had a room specifically for massage.    A bookshelf in the corner slid open to reveal their playroom.  Not for kids.  Wall to wall bedding,  wall to wall and mirrors on the ceiling.  Yes, they were swingers.   

trammatic

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Re: Secret Room in House?
« Reply #27 on: March 24, 2016, 02:07:41 PM »
I installed a hidden magnetic lock that opens when you put a magnet on a specific part of the mirror frame

This is a little bit of genius I have not yet implemented, but now cannot stop thinking about.  I hope you put the key magnet into a prop magic wand or amulet or something.

Did you buy a commercial magnetic lock, or rig something yourself?
Sorry...didn't see this before.  I used a magnet child-lock for kitchen cabinets.  It's not super strong, but it'll hold up to some mild tugging.  So long as anyone else doesn't actually know about the room, I figure it doesn't need to be too heavy duty.

Something like this: http://www.amazon.com/Safety-1st-Magnetic-Locking-System/dp/B004GCJMLG

ambimammular

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Re: Secret Room in House?
« Reply #28 on: March 27, 2016, 08:31:55 AM »
I did! When I was 14 my family moved into a new house. I had the master bedroom because my parents wanted the room on the first floor. The room had a built in book case that we thought was just a bookcase when they bought the house.
As we were moving in I noticed there was a little gap between the bookcase and the molding the surrounded it. I pushed on it and the bookcase swung open. I thought I had broken it before I realized it lead into storage area.
The storage area wasn't big, maybe 10 ft by 5ft. It was really cool as a teenager to find this!

So disappointed this didn't lead to Narnia or Wonderland. Keep looking :)

Carolina on My Mind

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Re: Secret Room in House?
« Reply #29 on: March 27, 2016, 09:05:21 AM »
I can never hear a reference to secret rooms without thinking of the terrible '70s made-for-TV movie Bad Ronald.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bad_Ronald

Proving yet again that I watched too much TV as a kid.  :)


Frugalbeach

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Re: Secret Room in House?
« Reply #30 on: March 29, 2016, 06:35:50 PM »
We did some remodeling about 5 years ago, and the contractor enclosed a small space in our library wall.  Not really a secret room-more like a secret closet.  It's behind a false back built into a bookshelf section.  Measures about 3' by 4'.  Super cool and seriously, you can't tell its there.