May 24, 2013

Secret Doors

        Oh how I love secret doors.  It does occur to me how vital they are for sneaking from the conservatory to the lounge with your brass candlestick and lead pipe, and unfortunately crime just naturally goes with secret doors.  The sad truth seems to be that most secret rooms you hear about in real life are more creepy or depressing than cool.  After all, given that I never murder or torture anyone, I'm not a paranoid dictator, and I have yet to
amass a collection of stolen art masterpieces, what use do I really have for secret doors to secret vaults?  But nevertheless, the thought of secret doors is so very much more alluring than the dark reality.  They're essential in the fantasy genre, too, where they're generally less awful and more awesome.  Fantasy worlds from Narnia to Droon are discovered through secret doors.  (As for sci-fi, what is a worm hole, really, but a secret passageway?)  Without secret
doors how would Bilbo burgle Smaug's lair or Harry Potter reach Diagon Alley or Platform 9 3/4… or any number of other locations in the wizarding world?  How would Princess Celie save the day in Tuesdays at the Castle?  Even Alice's rabbit hole is a secret door of a sort.  Think of all the magic and adventure made possible by secret doors.  Now, don't you long for one of your own?  I know I do!  So I've collected a few possibilities.
        Several companies specialize in secret doors, including the hidden walk-through, the trap-door, the trick fireplace, and the slick opening staircase.  Doors can be disguised in panelled walls, or in brick or stone, behind appliances or grandfather clocks, or, of course, the ever-popular bookcase (hinged, sliding, or revolving).  I admit, the classic bookcase door is my all-time favorite and the one I'd most love to have in my house.  At the top is a classic example from the Admont Abbey Library, built in 1776 in Austria.  This one scores extra points for concealing a twisty staircase, but loses points for
being a mere facade instead of a real bookcase that holds real books.  So here's another gorgeous one, from another eighteenth century Austrian monastery.  Clearly secret bookcase doors were all the rage in eighteenth century Austrian monastic architecture.  Good times.  Please excuse me while I wipe up my drool.
        Now the problem is just to think of where I can put a secret door, and where it can lead…  Alas, my house's staircases are nested atop each other like the stairs in most houses, my walls are less than a foot thick, my attic and basement are already accessible by prosaically unsecret doors.  Sigh…  Maybe some day when money is no object and I build my magical library/cabinet of curiosities with the spiral staircase I'll be able to fit in a secret door somewhere… or maybe a couple… with a secret passageway between them…  Yes, I like the sound of that...
        But before I sink down completely into my happy reverie…  I don't have space here for all the cool stuff I spent my morning discovering, but here are a few links to some additional secret-entry-related coolness.  Check them out:
                Secret garage
                Secret subway access
                Secret basement

[Pictures:  Admont Abbey library door (Image from The Olympia Press);
Stone wall door;
Stairway door, (Images from Creative Home Engineering);
Fireplace door from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989);
St Florian library door (Image from dcuartielles);
Bookcase door, (Image from Creative Home Engineering).]

1 comment:

  1. These really interest me too. what ingenious secret getaways people have devised.