Secret Door

Brian and I have officially closed on our house and my dad is graciously getting things set up for us.

In the meantime, I thought I’d share a project that I left behind at my old place. Now that I’ve moved out, the time has passed for people to visit my old room. Sad, but that means I can reveal the existence of my secret door and not spoil any surprises.

Can you find it?


This is a photo of the entranceway of my old place. The angle of the picture probably gives away a great deal, but there are some bedrooms down a hallway to the right and my bedroom there behind the panel with the light on it. That’s right — we even wired the door with a light to really throw you off the scent.


This wasn’t even the first secret door the room had seen. A past iteration involved a bookcase door with the classic pull-a-book unlocking mechanism. We opted for a lighter option of a fake wall.

The space was formerly a common living area, so there was a wide doorway with no door to start. We framed out a wall on the right (below) to fill part of the gap. The door on the left is basically another framed wall, but on hinges. The outside wall was covered with a drywall, accented with vertical wood pieces to hide the seams, and painted. The vertical features were reminiscent of a wall in the living room so it wasn’t so obvious something was up.


The back of the door never got finished before I moved out. For functionality I went for some peg board on the right side which once held lots of hooks for hats, belts, umbrellas…even my computer monitor and speakers were once mounted there over my desk.

The other side was still bare, though I was considering a white board to write on. The lamp wiring never got past the stage of being directly connected to an orange extension cord that could be plugged in when trying to fool unsuspecting visitors. I mean, have you ever seen a door with a light on it?


The latest addition before I moved out was the electromagnetic lock. The door didn’t always snuggly close without a locking mechanism. We tried a standard fence lock first but it was tricky getting a good system to open it from the outside.

In the end my roommate hooked up an electromagnet to hold the door shut when it was turned on. The magnet was remote-controlled, so it could be switched on and off from inside or outside the room. We had to work on adjusting the voltage to manage heat output, but otherwise it was a good solution. Had I been there longer we would have more permanently mounted the panel and wiring.


At some point in everyone’s life, they dream of hidden passageways and secret doors. It only takes an engineer friend or two with an interest in carpentry to make it happen. And it was a lot of fun to make and to show off. I can definitely see hidden features in future homes…

Thanks to the dads, step dads, brothers, and friends (especially my roommate!) who helped during the construction and implementation of this masterpiece.


3 thoughts on “Secret Door

  1. I love your secret door, Gail, something I’ve always wanted. Sorry we’ll miss seeing your old place and its secret door, but I’m sure you and Brian will want to have something similar in your new home.


  2. Are you sure you aren’t Nancy Drew? Oh wait …do you know who Nancy drew is?
    I never would have guessed where your secret door was. I figured it was a trap door under that area rug.
    But mainly — congratulations on being a homeowner!! Now you can trade tips with your siblings.


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