The History of Hidden Spaces
There is something magical about building a secret door, a hidden room, or a concealed passageway. Hidden spaces are usually found as unexpected elements in children’s books and mystery novels, but they’ve been around for thousands of years. Probably the first known examples of hidden places dates back to ancient Egyptian tombs. The builders added plenty of hidden passageways and secret rooms, designed to fool thieves. During the first centuries of Christianity, many practitioners had hidden rooms where they worshiped in secret.
The use of hidden places is well documented in the Middle Ages and Renaissance. Pope Alexander VI used a hidden passageway between the Vatican and the Castel Sant’Angelo to escape the invading army of Charles VIII in 1494. Catholic priests often had secret rooms where they hid during the persecutions of Catholics in Britain in the late 1500s.
During the mid-1700s, Sir Francis Dashwood carved hidden passageways and rooms out of solid rock to house the members of the Hellfire Club. At the time of the French Revolution, Marie Antoinette escaped an angry mob storming Versailles Palace, using a hidden passageway.
In the 1920s, secret rooms and hidden passageways were the places where people came to drink and party during Prohibition. During World War II, British captives held in Germany used a false wall to keep the guards from seeing the glider they were building to escape.
Hidden doors, rooms and passageways remain as useful today as they were in centuries past. Plus, they can also be a lot of fun.
Hidden Spaces for the Kids
Kids love secret rooms that only they have access to. The options for building this kind of space are endless.
How about a small hidden nook right above the closet? It’s the perfect spot for a reading nook, or just a place to hang out. A ladder offers easy access to the space and can tuck into a closet when no one is using it.
Why not make a child’s bedroom hidden behind a bookshelf door? The area in front of the bookshelf can serve as a play area or a teen hangout space. No one will know that just behind the door is the kid’s bedroom.
Do you have a small attic storage space off of a kid’s bedroom? Add a door and finish the space for a private nook only the child can access.
Something Luxurious for the Adults
No one ever said that hidden spaces are only for the kids. Here are a few luxurious ideas for the adults in the family.
Do you want extra space in your garage? You can add a secret car lift for your ride. Have the lift take it up into the attic or lower it into a space underneath the garage. Your ride is secure, and you have extra space to use as a bonus room.
Want to hide the entrance to your man (or woman) cave? Build a faux fireplace topped with lightweight fake stone. Open the fireplace to enter the cave. Only your best friends will know the secret.
Have you dreamt of a cigar room or a wine cellar, but want to keep it secret? Rebuild your staircase so that it opens up like a hatchback with the click of a button. Beneath the steps is a passageway to your secret room.