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Found a Hidden Room

 
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So, I was doing some remodeling in my library and found a hidden room. In fairness it is not all that big, about 4x4x8 feet, with some additional space around the corner.

I was thinking about putting a bookshelf in front of it with a hidden latch, but what to use the space for?

Any ideas??

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master gardener
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I have more stuff to store than places to store it, so I'd just fill it with stuff I don't want to get rid of, but also don't want to use all the time.
 
pollinator
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It could be made into an excellent gun safe.
 
master steward
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I'm always looking for places to store canning jars where they'll be cool, dry and dark. So a sort of "long-term" pantry for overflow foods would be an option I'd consider.

Part of the trouble will be getting in and out. Have you seen those super long drawers sometimes used in tiny homes or pick-up trucks with caps?  That concept would only work if you can keep the floor area in front of the covering bookcase clear enough for the drawers to slide all the way out.

That also wouldn't use the bit around the corner, but I'd forgo that for the convenience of not having to crawl in on hands and knees! It's a balance of access vs useable space. If you need to crawl in, most of the space is going to be kept clear to do so. If you find some way to do super long drawers, you just pull out the drawer you want as far as needed to get to the object you're looking for.  

In all fairness, Trace's suggestion reminded me of the drawer system because my hunting friend has one in his pick-up truck. The rules about transporting guns are *very* strict in Canada. The drawer allows him to carry his deer weapon more easily because anyone looking in his truck just sees the plywood top of the system and has no reason to suspect he's off to hunt.

 
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A built-in reading nook?
Reading-nook-by-Susan-Jay-Design.png
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pollinator
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If it was in a concrete basement I would say "instant cold room for storing potatoes and onions."
 
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Panic room, hidden gun storage, hidden safe? Yeh, I love the 'hidey' aspect!
 
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I vote Seed library!
 
Douglas Alpenstock
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I confess I was hoping for a skeleton or at least a mysterious old wooden chest.

Whatever you do with it, make sure you leave something intriguing for the next owner.
 
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Steve Zoma wrote:So, I was doing some remodeling in my library and found a hidden room. In fairness it is not all that big, about 4x4x8 feet, with some additional space around the corner.

I was thinking about putting a bookshelf in front of it with a hidden latch, but what to use the space for?

Any ideas??


What's the age of the house?? It could be part of an underground railroad era hiding space...  I would make it into a kids hideaway spot complete with comic books, artist sketch pads and silly dress up clothes. have fun
John
 
Steve Zoma
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Yeah, it was a cool find. There was a boxed in cubby of sorts just in front of it, a very small ugly thing so I wondered, "what is behind it", so I pried off a board and found the hidden room. I kind of expected to see Jimmy Hoffa's skeleton in there, but no such luck. In all seriousness, it probably should have been expected, as the spot is located under the midpoint landing of the stairs.

It was a good find, more in seeing what the house had for insulation behind the walls, It's good to know that someone went in around 1978 or so and installed cellulose insulation at least, most likely when the government money for insulating was being doled out, so I know what I got in the walls now. This house was built in 1940 so old, but not too old.

I was thinking about putting in flooring, probably planking the walls with shiplap and then installing some lights and outlets inside there. I do have guns... plenty, plenty, plenty of guns, but like a lady with her shoes; can a man really have too many guns? I think not! I was thinking maybe make the inner room of the hidden room into a gun storage place? Who would ever think there was a hidden area inside a hidden room after all?

That still leaves me with the bigger hidden part of the room though. I was hoping to make a better spot to access the basement, but here it just does not work because the floor joists go in the wrong direction. Drat. A hidden, swing-out bookshelf will hide the hidden room, but being in the library it is a bit hard to make it work as an extended pantry. Too bad as it would work well for holding root crops.
 
Steve Zoma
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To be honest, I did not think this post would get many replies, if any at all, but I guess there is something to be said for finding hidden things; the micro-sleuths that is in all of us, I guess.

But here is the thing, while its odd to discover a big room, there is hidden spaces in EVERY house. If people look around they can spot them. We as humans like stuff looking neat and orderly and so there is a lot of trim, and that trim often hides space.... often a lot of space. As an example the way my library shelves are made there is quite a bit of height from the floor to the first shelf. All of it is hidden and secretly contains enough room for a small safe, a rifle, plenty of hand guns, important papers, etc. And there are three of them. With a little woodworking, some crafty hinges and secret latches and I got three hidden spots that is heated, dry and within easy reach!

In another house that I have, I got a hidden spot above the range vent hidden by a magnetic latch. I bring this up because if you are looking for a hidden spot in your home, the kitchen tends to have a lot of hidden space potential because there is a lot of trim and boxed in spots to make the kitchen look neat and tidy.

The basement holds quite a bit of potential too. Install a piece of 4 inch pipe into a wall or floor then cap it with a pipe plug and you got a sealed, concealed spot that anyone with a metal detector is never going to suspect hides more than a drain; and no one sticks their hands in drains by the way!

But it need not be just built in woodwork into a house. Both nightstands in my home contain hidden trays just under the tops of them. They are shallow, but then again so is my pistols contained within them, loaded, ready for those bumps in the night that need a little further exploring. I had a man enter my house at 2 am once and I was not ready at the time, so now I make sure I am.

But the point is here; if you like secret stuff... and who doesn't, look around your house, there is potential every where for hidden spots for stuff. You did not need an old house and a whole hidden room to make your home fun and more secure. Important papers, guns, cash, jewelry, etc really don't take up much space. With a discerning eye you will start seeing spots in your own house where secret hiding places can be made.
 
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J. Syme wrote:What's the age of the house?? It could be part of an underground railroad era hiding space...  I would make it into a kids hideaway spot complete with comic books, artist sketch pads and silly dress up clothes. have fun
John



Oh I would have loved this! Pity it's only 4 ft tall - a secret man-cave would be pretty cool.

I  think if it were mine I'd use it for craft storage: have a large fitted rolling craft table with sewing and other fibre supplies and equipment ready to go into action, but tidied out of the way and light when not in use.


source
 
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If a person lives in tornado country that hidden room would make a perfect safe room.

When we were finishing the house where we now live I investigated building a safe room into some space.

Where my desk is is the only place a safe room would work.

As it turns out it appears that this area has only had a history of one tornado.

I like the picture of the reading nook that Jeremy posted.
 
Steve Zoma
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I am fortunate in that this house came with a man cave so to speak. It’s got a 3rd floor that is kind of open that needs a kitchette made for it, but I got other more pressing priorities.

The reading book was cute but my space is only 4 feet high…

(The third floor man cave which needs a lot of work granted)

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pollinator
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I would hide a motorbike in there, it would be the last place your wife would look!
 
Jay Angler
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John C Daley wrote:I would hide a motorbike in there, it would be the last place your wife would look!


This woman would smell it - the oils and the gasoline and it would track dirt through getting in and out. Thanks, but I think Steve can think of better uses!
 
Steve Zoma
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John C Daley wrote:I would hide a motorbike in there, it would be the last place your wife would look!



Ha, ha... but I am not sure you know the full capabilities of a wife. I don't know how, but it sure seems they have a sixth sense about finding out about anything secretive!

That is probably why I am not married, nor do I want to be... to the chagrin of my girlfriend.

(Note: just to be clear, "secretive" does not mean unfaithful, I have always maintained integrity in all my relationships)
 
Steve Zoma
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I feel like a heel; in a previous reply I mentioned my library shelves having potential for hidden spaces and forgot to apply a picture of what I was talking about.

Here are those three potential hidden spaces just to give others ideas where they can place some hidden spots in their own house.

It is hard to tell in the picture but there is about 8 inches of space between the floor and that first bookshelf… plenty of depth to hide many things.

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My question the flooring in that hidden room looks like a door so drop a washer in the slot and listen to hear if there is any noise.   It could be the door to a hidden passageway stairs to another location possible bigger room below.   one could use a flashlight to see what maybe there.  
 
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If you've got room in front, I'd probably go for slide-out shelves myself. Love me some extra storage space...
 
pollinator
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I still haven't completed it, because I'm me... but several years ago I opened up a concealed space in my mother's house. My bedroom had a closet on one side, adjacent to the stairs, the entire width of the room. The space above the stairway ceiling included a 3' x3' floor and sloped section, all walled off, only accessible by crawling into a narrow space through a hatch in the end of the closet and entering around the corner between the wall studs.

I cut open the back wall of the closet, following the slope from about 3 feet high down to the floor, and vertically up to the ceiling. I made a built-in shelf to close to upper section, and planned to make two "steps" on the lower, sloped section which would create two triangular cubby holes, as well as a means of reaching the high shelves.

I also "knew" this space was there, I had been through that hatch as a child, exploring, with my friend who lived in the same floor plan house. Ours was a gambrel, his was a garrison, and as such there was an additional 2 feet to that space, his house had a half-bath stuffed in there!
 
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Congrats on finding Harry Potter's bedroom. That, sir, is 100% a reading nook. :) Or magik supplies cupboard, depending on your needs and preference.

Alternately, what do you want to keep secret? *gazes deeply into your soul*
 
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A nice closet with shelves.
 
Steve Zoma
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Well I finally got a weekend off, something I have not had for the last three months and working every weekday too. But I was able to get some lumber and make the bookshelf that doubles as a door. I had some issues with how the hinges would work, but with some trim, made it all work out. I even got the pull-a-book-out-latch to work, just like in the movies.

I still got plenty of work to do in the
Library. I got more trim to put up, second coats of paint to do and add electrical outlets. This is an old house so there are very few here.

But it’s a lot better than having a gaping hole in my library wall.

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pollinator
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When I was a little girl my dream was to have a secret room or passage, I loved the idea so very much.  You are so fortunate, because very few people have them.  I'm so glad you got the remove-a-book thing to work!  I feel like this adds value to your house.
 
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what room is on the end of hidden room or either side?
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