Hiding an en-suite!
Secret rooms and passageways might seem like something from a historical sprawling mansion, but it’s entirely possible to ‘hide’ those private areas in even the most modern of properties!
Hidden passages and spaces are surprisingly common requests and we’ve designed everything from hidden passageways between kitchens and dining rooms to secret walk-in wardrobes which you wouldn’t even know were there.
This recent project is a particularly wonderful example of a secret bathroom entrance which, on first inspection, looks like a fitted wardrobe.
As you can see, clever storage space has been created by crafting a secret entrance.
Traditionally, secret passageways and spaces would be built into grand houses in order to offer their inhabitants safe hiding places during times of conflict. Many National Trust houses feature priest holes, which were designed to conceal Catholic priests who were persecuted by English law from the beginning of Queen Elizabeth’s I reign.
Aside from offering refuge for the priest, these bolt holes would often be designed to accommodate religious symbols and alter furniture. When families wanted to celebrate mass, they would also use hidden chambers to gather safely. These spaces would often be in the roof space or in a secluded part of the house. If an emergency situation arose, the priest hole often led directly off the worship space. Shockingly, if a priest was arrested it would mean imprisonment and even torture and death.
Next time you’re visiting a wonderful old house, ask if the house was commissioned by an old Catholic family, chances are they’ll be a hidden secret which the guide may (or may not) know about!
These hiding places have been attributed to the ingenuity of Nicholas Owen, a Jesuit brother who strategised and built these hidden rooms and passageways throughout his life. His skills and creativity led him to create entrances to secret hiding places and passages in the most unimaginable places.
Popular places of concealment were behind wall panelling, behind false fireplaces or even via tilting steps. Ripley Castle in North Yorkshire is one such example of a house where a secret priest hole sits behind the panelling.
Aside from priest holes, the need to offer means of escape was popular in castles and old houses, where sieges might threaten the inhabitants. During the Catholic persecution, these methods of escape and concealment became commonplace.
While we now enjoy secret rooms for much more aesthetic reasons, who doesn’t love the idea of knowing they have a space which is hidden from the world?
In this beautiful home, the client desired oak furniture with subtle fluted columns. As with many of the projects we complete, it was important that the fitted wardrobes and free standing furniture would remain classically timeless.
With subtle brass handles, inlaid panels and cornicing, the overall effect is contemporary yet will continue to look wonderful in the house for years to come. As you can see from the image above, no space was left unutilised and the ‘new’ entrance to the bathroom is flanked with storage shelves.
We would love to help you create your own clever hideaway, so please hit us with your suggestions, our team will be able to help you make the most out of any space – big or small.
Please view our entire bespoke bedroom furniture portfolio here.