Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Secret Room

It's a lesser known fact that we have a secret room in our house (I guess it's a good thing it is a lesser known fact, or it wouldn't be a secret room, now would it).  I think every house needs some hidden passages or secret rooms, even suburban houses that are only 12 years old.

I found our secret room one day when I was looking at the area above my office and behind the back of my son's closet and I realized it was an empty pocket of space.  When I told my husband about it, he immediately got out the tools and made a hole in the back wall of the closet.  Sure enough there was a cavity about 3 x 4 x 4.  So hubby, with some help from the younguns, drywalled the space and put some plywood down as a floor.  He built a little door to cover a cubby-hole at the back for the kids to hide things in when they were playing.  I found a butterfly carpet that almost exactly fit the space.  We strung up some blue Christmas lights since there was no electricity in there and it needed a light source, but it was also going to be filled with kids so it needed to be safe.  

Our kids loved it.  You should have seen how surprised children visiting our house were, when we asked them if they wanted to play in the secret room.

Over the years though, the kids have grown older and no longer play in there (actually no longer even fit in there very well), so our oldest son, Malcolm has been using the space to store some of his things now that he is away at university.

Yikes - sorry about that - what a mess.

Recently my hubby has undertaken some new writing tasks and needed a quiet computer space, so I decided to take back the secret room and the desk area in front of it, and turned it another office-in-a-closet.  After all, the room sits vacant for a lot of the time while Malcolm is away.  When he is home visiting, then hubby will use one of the other computers in the house.

Once I had emptied out the secret room, Kate and I took a walk down memory lane and set up a cute little tea party scene. 

Meet her American Girl doll, Kit.


Meet Coconut her little dog, sitting on her 1930s style garden furniture.

Did you notice the tablecloth that we used.   I'm going off on a tangent here - but it is a worthwhile one, so stick with me.  That is a runner that my Grandmother made in the 1930s from a flour sack.  You can just faintly make out the words "Five Roses" in the photo below which was the brand name of the type of flour.

It also faintly says "graham flour".

My Grandmother sewed the flowered fabric along the ends to make the runner pretty. 

I let my daughter, Kate, use this cloth for her doll's table because Kit, her American Girl doll, is supposed to have lived in the 1930s and some of her dresses (like the one below) are supposed to have been made from  chicken-feed sacks.

You can see that the American Girl Company actually did their research as the flowers really do resemble the style of the ones on my Grandmother's runner.  How cool is that, eh?

And one more peek at Kit and Coconut having tea in the secret room -

and now back to the present, to the mini-office with the computer on the desk and Malcolm's boxes neatly stacked in the secret room.  Much more practical (and neat) but not as cute as Kit and Coconut.

Now don't forget it's a secret room, okay.  Mum's the word!


  1. That's pretty cool that you found that space and very creative how you've used it. My son would have loved a secret room. The table runner your grandmother made is the cutest!

  2. Hi Grace
    So neat to have a secret room! Kids love that kind of stuff. It is interesting to see the tablecloth made from a flour sack - probably out of necessity then but now it is a big trend! Hope you are having a nice week

  3. Grace, you brought back some lovely memories. Allie has the same doll and there were lots of tea parties way back when. You're right- every house should have a secret room
    xoxo Pattie

  4. Your kids must have a lot of good memories of their secret room. Our kids and their cousins have had great fun playing in various closets. I guess there is just something magical and cozy about small spaces.

  5. How fun for your kids to have secret place! It is great that you can put it to use for your hubby now.
    Have a great day!

  6. I loved that it was so darling!! I always wanted an American doll too!
    Neat post Grace!

  7. Adorable. I can remember my mother bleaching flour or sugar bags to use them for embroidery. I love Coconut!

  8. What a wonderful use of space - I'm off to knock on all the walls to see if there are any hollow sounds (and perhaps a secret space!!)

  9. That's awesome, Grace! :) I love it!

    Sam and I don't think this house has a secret pocket of space, *but* we do think we're going to make a secret passage between two closets for the kiddos. Really, it's just going to be a tiny door in the wall, but if I remember being 5 correctly, it will fit the bill :)

  10. That's so cute! I love that your kids had a secret room to play in, I love the walk down memory lane, and the practical use of the space now. Thanks for sharing! (I'll keep the secret--shhh!)