13 Hidden Rooms You’ll Wish You Found in Your Own Home
What is it about hidden rooms that's so strange and exciting? From the cool to the historic to the downright scary, you're about to find out.
The hidden connection to the Underground Railroad
This house, located in Litchfield, Connecticut, has hidden rooms that were part of the Underground Railroad, Kris Lippi, a realtor with Get Listed Realty, tells Reader’s Digest. This 18th century Colonial Saltbox on four acres is one of four original homes in the area, and the history here is not just in the hidden rooms but in every detail, including the word “FREE” carved into the beam outside the attic doorway, into which the hidden passageway to the Underground Railroad was located.
The secret prison cell
When Cristhian Perez, a home inspector in Tampa, Florida, thinks about the hidden room he discovered during one home inspection, he still gets goosebumps. The room was small and dark, tucked behind what only appeared to be an exterior wall of the attic and contained a small bed, a strangely annotated map of the city, and an array of empty food cans. The homeowners, who had lived in the house for 25 years, said they had no idea it was even there, Perez tells Reader’s Digest. While no one knows what the room was used for, Perez and the homeowners speculate that someone was once held captive there.
The Prohibition closet
Amber Moore was excited to be living in a historic 1920s home in Dunthorpe, Oregon, even before discovering its secret. One day, when her daughters were playing in a closet in the library, they put their feet on the wall… and it moved! Examining further, Moore discovered a secret door to a room she believes was once used as a hideout during Prohibition. (You need to see these construction fails that you should definitely not try at home.)
The secret speakeasy
There’s a secret drinking room in the historic Belvedere Hotel in Baltimore, according to Jeff Miller, co-founder of Dependable Homebuyers. Back in the Roaring 20s, the Owl Bar was a hotspot where people could drink booze in (relative) secrecy. To access it, you have to walk through an elaborate maze of tiny hallways.
Along the straight and narrow
Flavia Berys, a real estate broker in San Diego, once spied a hidden room in a 1914 historic home in San Diego. “It was very narrow and stretched all along the basement and had a small door with a window. During Prohibition, the basement was used as a makeshift liquor bar, with drinks being served through the window in that door.” Berys believes the owners placed a bookshelf or some other large piece of furniture in front of the door when the bar wasn’t in use.
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The clubbiest clubroom
In downtown Portland, Oregon, the Hotel Monaco offers not only artful and eclectic guest rooms, but also a secret clubroom that only those-in-the-know can access. We’re here to spill the secret on how to find it: Enter the hotel’s Red Star Tavern restaurant and look for a hidden door tucked behind a bookcase.
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The hidden wine experience
There’s a secret (and exclusive!) private wine cellar at the Deer Path Inn, an English-inspired manor house just outside of Chicago. Hidden behind The Bar’s bustling dining room, the private cellar features more than 500 varieties of rare wine on display. Couples can book one-on-one wine tastings and pairing dinners for what has been called “the ultimate romantic experience.”
The secret guest rooms
At Charleston’s HarbourView Inn, six of the 52 rooms are actually hidden from guests. Well, not completely hidden. They’re housed in a former 1930s cotton warehouse and tucked behind an industrial-style door, paying homage to Charleston’s historic roots that reach back to the cotton industry.
The most elite objets d’art at the antique store
You know how they say if you need to ask how much something costs, you probably can’t afford it? Well, at M.S. Rau Antiques, an antique store in New Orleans, the most expensive, iconic, and unusual art objets d’art are actually sequestered behind a hidden door. So, before you ask to be taken to see what lies in the hidden room, think about whether you and your bank account can actually handle it! These valuable antiques might be hiding in your own house.
Perfect for quiet time
Oh, the irony: According to Shutterstock’s Krystina Puleo, there’s a secret library at Shutterstock‘s global headquarters in the Empire State Building in New York City, and it’s hidden behind a wall decal that only looks like a bookshelf, but if you push in the right spot, the door will open and lead you into a quiet space that employees use to either unplug or get in the zone. Don’t miss these library secrets even librarians won’t tell you.
The hidden playroom that hides the clutter of a playroom
“Our clients came to us with hopes of creating a playroom for their two boys that hid the clutter that comes with having kids,” explains Delbert Wendt, Owner of DW3 Construction. So he and his team created a hidden playroom tucked behind a custom maple bookshelf located between the boys’ bedrooms. Talk about out of sight, out of mind!
The secret modern room
Welmoed and Bob Sisson, a husband and wife team of home inspectors, once lived in an antique house that had a “summer kitchen,” a small out-building, adjacent to the house, which served as a dedicated kitchen during the warmer months (to segregate the heat and smells of the kitchen from the rest of the house). Since the house had been renovated to include central AC, they didn’t need a summer kitchen so much as a home theater. “Because it was so modern as compared with the rest of the house, we hid it behind a bookcase,” Welmoed tells Reader’s Digest. (Find what personal details your house is revealing about you.)
The hidden electrical panel
At one home inspection, Bob Sisson discovered a room containing nothing more than a fuse box. While that doesn’t seem nearly as sexy as a secret Prohibition room or as quaintly historic as a now-defunct summer kitchen, it’s still kind of amazing how it’s hidden behind a bookcase that serves as a door.
Next up, you won’t want to miss 12 of the craziest things ever found during home inspections.