We have a….
So why all the secret rooms? It all started a couple years ago when Mark and I got to thinking about what could be behind these stairs: Mark had heard before that sometimes when people built homes, they would attach a gold coin under the first stair for good luck. We figured, if nothing else, that there was some unused space under those stairs so we might as well open them up to see. No coin…but we gained storage space. That is, until our kids got a little older and we started thinking… Maybe we could sweep it out a bit. Maybe a nice coat of paint. Since we did that, we might as well add carpet. Now it’s looking kind of cool….rope lights, strobe light, black light, t.v., dvd player….Okay, things got a bit out of hand. To make it even cooler, we wanted to make sure that the entrance (in the dining room closet) wasn’t instantly obvious. Mark set about designing a door that looked like a regular part of the back of the closet.
Not long after this, Mark’s wheels started turning again. In one of the bedrooms we had a “little door”. It looked really out of place and was basically an access to a small space under our attic stairs. Mark became determined to disguise this door and came up with the “bookcase plan”:
We threw some carpet and a light in there and called it a day. Soon we’ll fix up the walls. On some we’ll put chalkboard paint, and the others will have dry erase. There’s enough space in there for Ben to set up his trains and keep the mess out of his bedroom.
So, that was it, UNTIL….
the-balcony-turned-into-a-bathroom remodeling project. Mark had to tear out quite a bit of lathe and plaster only to discover an opening that was above our front porch. We kind of shrugged it off at first figuring the shower would block that space anyway. After observing how roomy it was, we did a little more assessment of the space and realized that part of the space went up against the back of Nathan’s closet. Secret room #3 was born:
This room will house Nathan’s lego table and will hopefully contain the Lego pieces out of sight.
By this time, we were hooked. We had already planned a secret room for the attic specially made for Jordyn. (Because, alas, the poor girl was the only child without a secret room attached to her bedroom.) We had a space that was cut off from the rest of the attic by the stairs. Since it was awkward to reach anyway, we came up with plans for secret room #4:
So, what do our kids think about these playrooms? They don’t think much about it at all! They are so used to them that it doesn’t seem like anything unusual. In fact, with our first secret room, we forgot to tell our babysitter about it. She went into the kitchen to fix dinner for the kids. When she went to call them to eat, she could hear them but couldn’t find them. Oops! Need to add that little tidbit to the babysitter notes.
We may be a bit quirky, but I would have thought this was the most AWESOME thing ever if I had something like this as a child.
I never expected this post to get the kind of attention it has. In the process of tons of visits, we’ve received comments regarding parenting, grammar, safety, and other less wholesome topics.
Some of these comments I’ve chosen to send to the trash bin but to avoid repeats, here goes:
1. Our kids are very aware of our fire plan, and they do not sleep in the rooms.
2. Our house is equipped with hardwired and interconnected smoke detectors that also have battery backup in all bedrooms, all hallways, and on every floor.
3. Our fire department will be made aware of the rooms. Thanks to those who made suggestions about that.
4. My children do enjoy television (as evidenced by the T.V.’s in 2 of the photos), but I do not allow them to watch it until their brains rot. My children spend exponentially more time outdoors and in creative play than they do in the secret rooms.
5. One commenter has made some false assumptions about the community in which we live and the amount of money we have. We are not rich; we did all the work on the rooms ourselves. We are currently following Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University program, and are close to being debt free.
We love that so many people are finding inspiration in this post. We would like to see what other people have done to create cool spots in the house for their own kids so please share!