Not really…don’t call the cops. All you’ll find is the furnace and half a dozen garbage bags filled with returnables. I PROMISE!
This project, the hidden door, is one that I have wanted to do for a number of years but never had the house to do it. I had done a bunch of research on how to build one, and where you could buy one complete if you wanted to. Those, by the way, are expensive. My door would also need to fit into a fairly tight space, swing in, instead of out and be made on a budget. I eliminated the use of SOSS hinges from my design. They are expensive, and I’m not sure they would have worked well with this door. First step was to remove the old wooden door. It had a few layers of drywall screwed to the back of it for insulation (I assume). It was heavy, and it didn’t shut well.
Once the door was removed, I measured the rough space to get an idea of how much room I would have for the frame of the door. I didn’t want it to be any less of an opening from what I had before, and I wanted to have the ability to remove the door if needed. If I were to do this project again I would use plywood where I could. I think it would hold up better over the long run. The picture below is of the outside shell, where the door will eventually be mounted. On the workbench are the sides of the door (bookcase).
I did a rough assembly of the door before fitting it in place to be sure everything moved the way it should. At that point it was just a bookcase, with a frame around it. The plywood back is thick enough to offer a bit of insulation from the cold basement, but I may add some foam to it as some point. It took some adjustments to get everything working fine once it was in place. It really didn’t start to look like a success until the trim was on.
The installation was the most difficult part. The door didn’t completely clear the inside ceiling to the basement… it was off by about a half an inch. I was able to shave that off. Notice the project manager in the picture above. No not me…. it’s the one with the ears!
You can see with the picture above where I had to shave some plaster off of the ceiling inside the stairwell to the basement. Here you also get an idea of how the hinges and frame work. There are some pretty big bolts securing the frame of the door to the right. We knew we would want to put cookbooks on the shelves since this was in the kitchen. The door is kept closed by a few double roller cabinet catches. The weight of the door is enough is enough to keep it from being knocked open. I also routed a groove on the underside of one of the shelves for an easier grip to pull it closed. You can’t see it unless you are looking for it.
The picture above shows the beginning of the trim. The piece of pine at the top is just hiding the hole that was left by the old door. I added some crown molding to the top to make it blend in with the wall, and gave it a few coats of paint.
And the final project…
Shortly after I finished this project we had to replace our forced hot air furnace. I was showing the furnace guy into the basement one day and noticed that he hadn’t made it past the hidden door. He hadn’t seen anything like it before. I still get a kick out of it every time I have to add to my collection of returnables.
Total project time: 2-3 weekends.