Why I made a secret room under the stairs
- Really fun, challenging project for the kids
- Had already removed the old rotten bi-fold closet door
Would I do it again?
Yep, the kids thought this was the coolest thing ever and used it regularly when they were little.
This project began when I was cleaning up the basement of our new-to-us house. We’d purchased a foreclosure that had been vacant for around 6 months. The basement had seen some flooding as a result of clogged gutters, leaking rod holes and a section of sunken driveway angled back towards the house. Once those issues were addressed, the basement stayed dry and I was comfortable with refinishing it.
There were several places where bi-fold doors were used previously in the basement. They were pretty cheap doors, or at least appeared that way after having been soaked a few times. Flimsy and rotten at the bottom, they all got tossed.
This area in particular was odd to begin with. The bi-fold opened to the space under the stairs. Seemed weird to open the full height door and have almost zero space immediately in front of you. Really, you only need the lower half of a door. And that’s where I got the idea for the secret room. I bought some plywood and made the top and bottom halves, the top is screwed in place. The bottom sits on a medium duty, swivel caster at one end and is held with a couple door hinges at the other. Getting the height and spacing right took some time, but it came out great. You can’t tell it’s a door.
Even once the “we have a secret room” shine was gone, the kids would have a new friend over who would think it was the coolest thing they’d ever seen. There were even several impressed parents, begrudgingly dragged down to see the secret room when they came for post play-date pickup. Now that they’re a bit older, it’s really only used when younger ones come by….kind of like when Andy goes away to college in Toy Story 3. Poor secret room.
For a while, I even installed a gate latch with a steel cable run to the back of a picture. You had to tilt the picture toward you to unlatch and open the door. This was eventually broken during a VERY heated game of hide and seek. I had to remove some drywall in the adjacent bathroom to get in and unlatch it…luckily the bathroom was on the To-Do List as well.
Another one complete…..what’s next?