Real State

Secret Doors Are Having a Major Moment

Other designers have disguised doors to home bars.

Tammy Connor, an interior designer, and D. Stanley Dixon, an architect, added a tiny bar to the library of a 1930s home in Atlanta, tucking it behind a narrow door faced with the room’s blue-painted paneling. And in a New York penthouse apartment, Yellow House Architects and the decorating firm Redd Kaihoi slipped a bar into the arched, paneled section of a hallway off the living room. When the bar’s pocket door is closed, the space is hidden from sight; opening the door and sliding it into a wall slot leaves the hall clear.

For some homeowners, installing one trick door leads to the idea for another.

Matthew and Tara Duhan, board game enthusiasts with two sons, paid Hide-A-Way, the Tennessee company that makes pre-hung doors, about $10,000 to build a black-stained hickory wall unit for the basement of their house in a Chicago suburb, requesting cubbies deep enough to fit their chunky cardboard board game boxes. One section of cubbies is actually a door, and when one of the Duhans presses on a certain box, it clicks the button on a key fob inside and — voilà! — the door opens to their wine cellar.

The Duhans then ordered a white-painted door with built-in shelves and a cabinet (about $1,250), to solve a problem in their foyer. There, opposite the front door, had been what appeared to be the door to a coat closet — which meant that visitors were always opening it looking for a hanger only to find the house’s HVAC unit. Now the shelves hold framed family photos, and visitors have no clue what’s behind.

“I almost forget it’s a door myself,” Mrs. Duhan said.

As for the true crime podcaster and her husband, they didn’t stop at their revolving fireplace, which leads to a tornado shelter, and cost around $30,000. They also ordered hardware for three more hidden doors and had their contractor build them, then install them in their children’s bedrooms.

In their daughter’s room, a door that looks like an ordinary wall mirror opens to a hangout area for her and her friends. An athletic son’s mirrored door leads to his trophy room, and a son who’s a YouTuber has a section of a paneled wall that opens to a studio where he makes videos.

“When they show their friends the house, this is what they show first,” Mrs. Kane said.

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