REAL ESTATE May 21, 2017

Keep it secret: why some homes still have hidden rooms

Secret rooms and hidden passages might sound like the stuff of fairy tales, but more homes than you might think still feature such clandestine spaces. Some date from as far back as the 16th century in Europe, when they were used as wine cellars, safes or maid’s quarters. Sometimes, they were even used to hide outlaws and runaways from the authorities.

The three steps to consider when planning a secret room

1. Function: modern reasons for having a secret room vary. You may choose to install a panic room, which can provide a hidden, safe space in your home in case of an emergency. Alternatively, a hidden room can be used to keep valuables and money, or you could just use it as your private haven away from the world.
2. Location of your secret room: take a look at the floor plan of your property and really consider where a secret room might work and where it will be the least disruptive to the structure of your home. Empty walk-in closets and pantries both make convenient choices.
3. The doorway: one of the key components of a secret room is the hidden door. Libraries often make a great starting point, as bookshelves provide the perfect disguise for a hinged door. Another common choice is a free-standing closet or armoire – all you need to do is take out the back, and fit the closet over the door to your secret room.
Whether you intend your secret room to be a safe or a reading room, it could make a valuable addition to your home, and is also fairly simple to install.