Let’s be honest, a secret door or closet in a home is what dreams are made of! Like reading a good mystery or novel, set in a mansion (or farmhouse!) or watching a period movie set in an old castle; It is easy to fantasize about a secret passageway in a home, especially an older, original home.
The Inspiration for A Secret Something
The kind of home we picture that can handle a secret door or closet – one with texture – character, and charm from yesteryear – like wainscoting or craftsman-style paneling. How about an original farmhouse?! Perfect setting, perfect everything to incorporate some sort of secret passageway, enclosure, closet, or door. We’re into it.
Thus, the inspiration for a portion of our renovation…the study that we have added to the front of our farmhouse. One of the reasons we decided to add this space is to gain a bit more storage. Storage in a farmhouse can be non-existent (we shared some creative storage ideas in a previous post), so it makes perfect sense that when we set out to execute this addition we knew we had to incorporate some cabinetry to get more storage out of the deal.
Here we are, finally, in the phase of design and practicality. What will look good where? What wall should we close in for a closet or cabinet or bookshelf? Is it possible to make the closet or cabinet flush with the rest of the décor?
Yes! So, that is what we have decided to do. The back wall of the study (essentially the wall most will first see before entering the new room) will hold our cabinets. These cabinets have a lot of responsibility. Not only will they be home to most of our office “stuff” (printer, paper, files), but they will also provide a bit of decorative sparkle to the room.
These cabinets will give this room the old-school “study” feel – like you see in the period movies or what you may picture when reading a good mystery or novel. They provide the room with its own personality and its own flow. They allow a more decorative ambiance without it looking like we’ve tried too hard.
Storage & Style
But again, most importantly, they will provide us with additional storage. Since we have beautiful built-in cabinetry and bookshelves in our living which is adjacent to the new room, we thought it would be a good idea to keep things simple in the study. Especially because it is a smaller space. So, we’ve designed a wall with storage but will be making it look as if it is just a decorative wall.
Trims and designs that will also be home to three of our favorite pictures. A simple design from the outside but when realized that the wall is actually cabinets, they will become more complex and intricate. We’ve seen this done several times, especially in older homes we are hopping on this bandwagon!
Creating Clean Lines in a Farmhouse
It is difficult to go minimalistic in a farmhouse. The charm of the place, the lower ceilings (most of the time), and possibly the design aesthetics tend to guide a farmhouse away from a minimal mindset. There are typically lots of textures, and lots to look at in a farmhouse. However, if you are one for clean lines and symmetry, then you will understand how important it is to me to keep the new study space looking clean.
One reason I would like this room to stay neat is that it is visible from the front of the house; which means there cannot be stuff everywhere for all of the world to see! Another reason is that the rest of our home is of the farmhouse aesthetic. It breaths “old time” around every corner. So, we’d like to try to keep this space a bit more modern while slightly nodding to the rest of the house’s charm.
Therefore, adding these cabinets along the main wall in this space means they have to “fit in” with both the rest of the house as well as the new vibe the study is introducing into our home. What better place than this to build in a flush (aka secret) cabinet?! I snagged some inspiration on Pinterest (per usual) and was off to the races.
One other reason we wanted to add something with texture to the back wall without it taking over the space is that (as mentioned above) we have 3 pictures that are professionally framed and it is literally the only wall with enough space to place them. They are a series, our house’s numbers, so they must be together and since they are large we need the space to have the three of them hung together, consecutively.
We follow quite a few bloggers that have renovated older homes. As the years have passed and we’ve gotten a feel for how we use our home, we noted designs and ideas from what we’ve seen and try to incorporate some of those designs into our own space. Some transfer well, others don’t. In this instance, this secret cabinet is working well and we are excited about the end result.
(Mostly excited to get our things put back and organized!)
Making a Secret Door, Closet, Or Passageway Work
Using the same mindset as incorporating a pocket door, consider what spaces in your home may be available to add in a hidden door, closet, or passageway. The end goal, of course, is to make it look like it’s always been there and that you are the only one that knows it is there or that it even opens.
Search the internet and magazines and books for inspiration. Once you find an image that speaks to you and seems like a design that will work in your space, start planning!