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What addition have you made to your home that's unique?

patty_cakes
16 years ago

Have you added any particular feature to your home's interior that wasn't in your original building plans that gives it your personal signature? Nothing like a built-in espresso machine or super-duper spa tub, but something which you've always wanted in your house, that is personal/unique/decorative to you or you and your spouse.

Comments (53)

  • sierraeast
    16 years ago

    Framed the window and exterior door openings,(2x6 walls), 3" bigger all around and inset a 2x4 framing flush to the outside to accept the windows and door jambs making a step in to the openings where the wall board will wrap into the 2x4 frame from the inside. Then some milled trim work as casing windows/doors. Ran the idea by my wife during the initial planning stages, she liked it, it's something i always wanted to try, so we went for it. Now that the wall board is up, we can visualize it even better and feel we made a cool decision. Something a little out o' the box!

  • sierraeast
    16 years ago

    Awesome room, allison!

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  • jaymielo
    16 years ago

    We are just beginning to frame, but I found a pair of craftsman leaded glass windows from a home that was demolished in Detroit circa 1920. I found these just in time to change the window order and framed appropriate sized openings on either side of our fireplace. I'm super excited to see them go in.

  • sierraeast
    16 years ago

    Jaymielo, im surprised you would be able to incorporate these into your build w/o being dual pane. I have seen vintage windows coupled w/ dual pane inserts used with success.

    Another concern is how close to the fireplace w/o having to be tempered glass.

    A couple thoughts for you to research maybe.

  • jaymielo
    16 years ago

    sierraeast, Thanks for the input. Actually, the vintage windows will be "set" in front of picture window. In our original plan, there were two 36"x36" windows on either side of the fireplace. When I found these windows, in the nick of time, we reduced the size of windows slightly to be better suited to the size of the leaded glass windows. My father is building up the frame around the vintage windows so that they will slide in and rest on the sill of the "real" windows. He incorporated similar windows into a bedroom in their current home several years ago.

    So... as far as dual pane and energy efficiency, I think we are covered. The question about tempered glass I will have to check into, although I'm assuming it wouldn't be much different than hanging a picture over the fireplace since they aren't structural. I'll be sure and double check with my builder though.

    Thanks for the pointers! Jaymie

  • Happykate
    16 years ago

    jaymielo, wow! really quite beautiful; hope they work for you. We're installing old chapel stained glass windows by our front door, but will have them inset behind a custom sized dual-pane window.

    sierraeast, I can't quite figure what you're describing; can you please post a picture? If it's your idea, I'm sure it's worth a little attention!

  • sierraeast
    16 years ago

    Hi jaymielo, Your vintage widows will be the insert coupled w/ the dual pane picture windows. That is going to look awesome. I could be wrong but i think in our area, tempered glass has to be used if within 12" of a fireplace. Judging by your pic, you are fine, but you might run it by your builder. Best of luck w/ your build!

    Happykate, we dont have a digital camera yet, but it's in the works someday. I dont know if it's an original idea, but i haven't seen it in any homes i've been in and around through the years.The best i can explain it is that instead of trimming the window over the wallboard on a wall, the window will be inset into the 2x6 wall by way of a 2x4 frame. Looking at it from the inside, the wallboard will come up to the opening and wrap around into the 2x4 frame. That inner frame will be trimmed out around the window over the 2x4 frame. Hope that helps you visualize. Im not the greatest at explaining things, drives my wife bonkers! We installed an old stained glass window in our current home that came out of a church from idaho early 1900's. Your stained glass will look great!

  • jaymielo
    16 years ago

    Whew sierraeast... Now I can go to sleep. :) I will, however, run the tempered glass question by my GC tomorrow. Since we didn't change the location of the windows and the original plans didn't call for tempered glass, I'm assuming we are OK, but there are always surprises, aren't there? So many things to keep track of. Thanks for putting my mind at ease tonight though. Now I can go back to stressing about other details. :)

  • jenanla
    16 years ago

    It is not a change to our plans but I've always wanted a pocket door. I think I went a little crazy and we will have 8 pocket doors in our house.

  • jeannekay
    16 years ago

    allison- I would love more pictures and more detail on the cover for your t.v. I would LOVE to do some thing like that to ours.

    I did add a niche above our fireplace/tv in our family room which has a vaulted ceiling. Just to put pretties in and collect dust but I'm really happy w/ it. I also distressed the woodwork in our kitchen/dining. I saw it in a magazine so tried it out.

  • kateskouros
    16 years ago

    we're installing a "manual" door bell for the service entrance. it's operated by a pulley system so when the bell is rung from the outside an actual bell rings inside... not a chime, but a bell, bell... if that makes sense.
    we're also surrounding our two story great room with a gallery on the second floor, for shelving, books, art.

    and jaymielo: still waiting for you to slap some siding up so i can have a look!

  • ponydoc
    16 years ago

    What a great thread.

    Like many of you, we have changed our plans quite a bit. Even though we bought a "stock" plan I have tried to find another house like it- or anyone who has built it - to no avail. We changed many things although most of them were minor - but still make the house "ours". Probably the most unique feature- our hearth room mantle is going to be carved with our farm logo with our initial in the middle. I am really excited about that. Our house has a large "clutter room". It's abou 12 x19. In the middle of the room is a sorting counter. Our builder is going to build the sorting counter over our dog crates. You will be able to remove the crates if needed but they will slide in for a more finished look than just having crates sitting in the room. We have considered building a "kennel room" but I really like the dogs in the house with me. We just need a place where they can go when they are excessively muddy or we have company etc. Another thing we added- a dutch door between the clutter room and the kitchen hearth room. Therefore the dogs also can be loose in the room ( which also connects to the mudroom and a half bath) without having free acess to the rest of the house. I hope to never see another baby gate in my life! LOL

    We also added a dog wash in the basement- next to a grooming area. We also put a washer and dryer on each floor. The basement set is close to the dog washing area. I will do the horse and dog laundry down there.

    Our plumber has been beyond words. I really don't know what to do to thank him. He added a plumbing "grid" to our basement that controls the water to each outdoor spigot, each barn and each pasture in which we have an automatic waterer. We have a really good well and are fortunate to be able to run all the outbuildings from it. One of the unique features of our building was rerouting not only the water lines from the old house to new house but also finding the water lines to the barns.

    Sometimes I cannot believe how wonderful our GC has been about thinking about the little things for us. We have really been blessed.

    LOVE your room Allison.

    Your windows are going to look great jaymielo.

    Sierra ease- hurry up with that digital... I wanna see pics.

    PD

  • dorothy9_gw
    16 years ago

    I have been looking at house plans and I must have checked out your plan as I have looked at hundreds of plans and yesterday came across the "clutter room". Who would have thought?

  • ajpl
    16 years ago

    We salvaged a bunch of pine boards from the original fire station in our community. They had been salvaged once before actually and the person built a shed from them. DH tore down the guys' shed for him and got the boards in return. They're all between 10 and 22 inches wide and I have no idea what I'm using them for.

    I'm having a hanging sliding door on my upstairs bathroom. It will solve a space issue but also be a centre piece of our farm cottage. Think barn door. You'll see it when you walk up the stairs.

    I built a large stone window well for my basement window and plan to use a lot more stone from our site in the landscaping next summer.

    I saved a large 24X24 inch iron grate from the hous eI grew up in. We had hoped to use it as a floor grate for the wood heat as it was used in my home. It's not going to work and we will be using for passive air flow in our HRV design. in one of the walls.

    We have lots of little quirks that we like but we are building for ourselves with no interest in resale and we realize not everyone shares the same simple tastes as us.

  • ajpl
    16 years ago

    jaymielo, I really like those windows and the history that goes with them is always neat.

    Ponydoc, I love the dutch door idea. Our dogs have a room in the basement now that they go in when there is company that doesn't love dogs. I'd really like to work something else out for them. I've secretly always wanted a dutch door somewhere if only on the goat or chicken barn!

  • allison0704
    16 years ago

    Thank you, Patty Cakes! That's a nice way to wake up today.

    Sierraeast, I know exactly what you're talking about. What window brand and style (casement?) did you use? I want to see pictures too! Thank you also.

    Jaymielo, love the windows! We did the same thing in our last home - up high in the stairwell there was a square window. I purchased an antique stained glass and DH installed from the inside, leaving single paned window on the outside. It was a favorite feature of mine. Can't wait to see yours installed. It's the little things like this that make a huge difference into making a house your home!

    Jeannekay, I will link a Decorating thread about the tv cover. My DH and I spent a long 4th of July weekend distressing every single 1x that was to become our trim before it was stained/installed. Loooong weekend! lol

    Katekouros, we do not have a doorbell - I hate them, plus we have a gate so if we don't know they're coming they have to call to get in anyway. I almost ordered one of those bells for our front door but we were already well into construction and it was a little late. They also make electric bells - where guest push a regular doorbell button, but it rings the bells inside. So cute - please post a photo when yours is installed.

    Ponydoc, thanks. Is a pair of your w/d in the clutter room too? Sounds like a great idea. I wish we had a room with an outside entrance for two of our dogs to go into a night. Someone here was building a tiled room for their dogs, that could be hosed down. Great idea....read about it too late to add one somewhere.

    ajpl, we have a lot of stone on our home and it's another favorite feature of mine.

    Great thread, Patty_cakes.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Thread - Decorating forum

  • sierraeast
    16 years ago

    Hi Allison, We have weathershield casements w/wood stucco mould/stool on the outside, clear pine on the inside. We wont be back at our build until spring and will have a digital camera by then, so i'll get some pics of the window and exterior door openings as well as the house when we get back down from that first spring trip. They wont be trimmed out, but the wallboard is up so it will give you an idea of the effect. Probably wont get the inside trimmed out until mid to late summer, but in early summer i plan on going up and spending full time on the house so will get plenty of pics to share. Thanks for the interest. As worthy stated on another thread, one of the great things about this forum is seeing everyone's pics of their great homes and individual rooms including your awesome build!

  • jaymielo
    16 years ago

    Man, I love all these ideas. What a great thread!

    kateskouros or allison Where do you get a bell like that. I really like that idea!

    ajpl I LOVE your gate as a floor register. That is so absolutely cool to incorporate things from your past.

  • sierraeast
    16 years ago

    Ponydoc, what a happening idea w/ the dutch door! We found an old dutch door at a second hand store and put it in an outbuilding where we now live just because. No real reason other than simply just to have one. Works pretty cool to let air in by the upper half and to keep the dogs out when im in there working w/ saws and power tools so no one gets hurt. We could incorporate your idea in our laundry area of our build, but the dogs will be all over the place in the house with or w/o a dutch door so we'll just keep it open. We plan on a pet door access for them so they can come and go. Again, great idea and plumbing layout!

  • allison0704
    16 years ago

    I googled Servants bell, antique doorbell and victorian bell.

    Here's a website I found quickly.

    Here is a link that might be useful: bell

  • piasano
    16 years ago

    Great thread!

    This is something we did when we finished the family room in our first house.

    Instead of enclosing the area under the stairs beside the fireplace, we left that area open, raised the floor about 18", and padded and carpeted the reading nook thus created. We put track lights on the sloping ceiling of the "nook" and filled it with pillows.

    It was great.

    In addition to adding interest to what would otherwise have been a blank corner next to the fireplace, we found that we used it all the time. It afforded a little privacy for the reader in the family (me!) when the others of us were watching television and yet, we were all there together.

    I wanted to do the same thing in the house we are going to be starting soon down here, but DH (and the builder) say there will not be enough room.

    I'm going to wait until we are far enough along that I can see the space beneath the stairs in this house.

    If there is enough room, we will do that again in this house.

    I loved that reading nook!

  • minnt
    16 years ago

    We are using a few pieces from the past. Our neighbors built new two years ago and took down a farm house that my husband's grandmother grew up in. We salvaged the corbels from the house (I have 22 of them!) and we are using them on the mantel and the kitchen island. This is the mantel before th rock went on.

    You can see the hearth stone in the photo. We had our granite fabricator cut a large flat stone that my husband found on his family farm many years ago. We had it put in as our hearth stone.

    We also tore down an old farm house to build, although not one that has any family history to us. We put a small window that was in an upstairs walk in closet into my studio downstairs.


  • sierraeast
    16 years ago

    Awesome, Minnt. I hope this thread goes to the 150 max to see everyone's great and creative ideas! When it hits 150, start a part 2!

  • patty_cakes
    Original Author
    16 years ago

    WOW, such creative ideas! I've always loved the idea of taking something and using it in a different way. I've seen some gorgeous doors/windows in antique stores i'm going to have to get a closer look at.

    Here's a question for ya~how do you go about finding structures that are slated to be torn down? I would love to have old barn wood on the ceiling of my GR, or beams made.

  • minnt
    16 years ago

    I put the house we were tearing down on Freecycle and had a full house of people tearing things out for a few weeks. We had taken anything out that we really wanted or stuff that I figured I could sell, but I was surprised at what people were taking. I didn't care, it was less that had to go in the landfill.

  • theroselvr
    16 years ago

    Here's a question for ya~how do you go about finding structures that are slated to be torn down? I would love to have old barn wood on the ceiling of my GR, or beams made.

    Don't laugh.. Ever watch Little People Big World? Well Matt, the father, rips down old buildings. If you're interested, email me I can find the link.

  • jenanla
    16 years ago

    DH helped a friend tear down an old shack in order to build a new house. We ended up with an 8' long 9"x9" beam that we will use as the mantel for one of our fireplaces.

    We are also putting the wood stove that DH grew up with in our basement as a backup source of heat.

    Would have loved to use salvaged materials but time and money were not on our side. We are in New England where you can easily come by salvaged materials but for a small fortune.

  • ponydoc
    16 years ago

    ajpl

    Love the sliding barn door idea. I have book that has a gorgeous master suite with double sliding barn doors. Very very nice.

    Minnt - love the window and the corbels.

    We tore down a garage/barn in the spot in which the new house sits. There was very little of value although a really creative person could have probably used the wood for flooring. Lots of work though.

    We are tearing down our current home after we move into the new house. We have lots of salvage that will happen although nothing really spectacular. This house is a "dwelling". It's old but nothing special. It has been modernized over the years but it was never anything spectacular. We will take the kitchen cabinets and siding ( knotty pine) and use them in a tack room. I have neighbor who is going to take some of the hardwood flooring which is not in good shape. We have multiple people willing to take the aluminum siding. The one thing we will salvage for ourselves are the really large sandstones in the foundation. Those will be used for landscaping. Many people have expressed interest but we are keeping those.

    Who knows what we may unearth though- like that house they found 100k plus in the wall! LOL

    PD

  • minnt
    16 years ago

    I waited to tell you of the very special piece we had put in, until I could get photos posted to my blog. This is a door from Bali that we had ordered and shipped to us. The door tells an ancient story and is hand carved. It took quite a bit of work to get it to us and to put it in. My builder looked at it for a few days before he finally decided how to do it. My builder likes to tell people that he made me cry, as I had tears in my eyes and hugged him when he got it in.

    It opens to our theater room and we see it as we walk down the stairs to our lower level. You can see more photos and the story on my blog post for today.


    Here is a link that might be useful: My blog

  • eventhecatisaboy
    16 years ago

    Minnt--your blog is wonderful, as is your home. I have read most of your recent entries and I have enjoyed it very much. Fascinating! I look forward to my (very few) moments of peace and quiet when I can read past entries. Thank you for sharing! BTW, your doors are beautiful and I love that they are meaningful and very special to you. That is what makes a house a home! Congratulations on a wonderful new home and I hope you and yours have many happy memories!

    Everyone has great ideas! Thanks to everyone for sharing your special features. Fun thread!

  • minnt
    16 years ago

    Thank you eventhecatisaboy (what a name!). I really love our house and can't wait to move in (we are waiting until we both have a few weeks off of work). I have to pinch myself every day to make sure it is real. I cannot believe it is all mine.

  • skagit_goat_man_
    16 years ago

    We built-in our sofa into a "bump-out" designed into the living room. Tom
    {{gwi:1404069}}

  • bellesouth
    16 years ago

    Wow!

    Tom--could you tell me how/where you get the seats made to fit a unique space like that? It's SO wonderful.

  • skagit_goat_man_
    16 years ago

    We use a company recommended by our contractor. They came in and went over all the types of foam and design with us. They cambe back for two more fittings. We'll have some changes made for the arm cushions and then we're set.

    Here's a shot in our bathroom. There's a glass wall between the tiled shower on the left and the toilet enclosure on the right.
    {{gwi:1404070}}

  • micahjo
    16 years ago

    This is a great thread. Tnanks to everyone for sharing.

    We're only in the framing stage, so I don't have any photos, but we're all about being unique.

    My favorite item will probably be the inglenook around the fireplace though (with twin-bed-sized cushions on either side and built-in drawers underneath, so it converts to a sleeping nook as well).

    But other unique items include:

    --bookcase doors on the mechanical room and a storage closet

    --a Dutch door on the nursery (to keep in (or out) wandering toddlers at naptime but still keep tabs on the baby).

    --a secret passageway between the backs of two wardrobes in the adjoining wall of the kid's bedrooms.

    --play lofts in the kids' bedrooms above their closets and the outside hall

    --a pantry with a concealed outside door so I can bring groceries in directly from the carriage driveway

    --an attached stone barn that will basically be a huge playroom for the kids

    --and one of the purposes of even building the house - a circular dining room designed to house an heirloom 8' round dining room table and the family china.

    (oh, and speaking of doorbells, my husband has already purchased one that plays the James Bond theme that will be in a hidden location and just used by children . . . )

  • Flowerchild
    16 years ago

    I like the idea that my DH came up with while designing our house. He used the upstairs kneewalls in the bedroom to create a spot for two skylights in the dining area below and another set in the MA bath. This made use of the wasted space that is the norm when knee walls are used in a design. It also helped to bring natural light into the DR and MA bath which would otherwise have been darker spaces since we have a front porch. Does this make sense? It's difficult for me to explain it and I can't really get any decent pics of it. Looking at it from the upstairs bedroom there is a wall instead of the 2ft knee wall. Looking up from the DR & MA BA there is a small cathedral ceiling with the skylights on one side and the wall to the upstairs on the other. Since we have the Posts & Beams this creates a shelf for decor and also extra accent lighting.

  • ajpl
    16 years ago

    Micahjo, my son will have a play loft above his bedroom too! We're thrilled about it but he's 10 and nothing is thrilling. He says he is going to sleep up there and keep his bedroom as his "office". LOL

  • juniork
    16 years ago

    micahjo, what a cute idea about the secret door in the closets! I'm going to try and incorporate that!

    flowerchild, I *think* I get what you're describing, but I'd love to see any pix that you may have. It's the lower part of the sloped area of the roof, right? So from the outside, you'd have a skylight towards the lower part of the roof, and it's basically for the downstairs room, not the upstairs room. How clever!

    love this thread!

  • newoldhouser
    15 years ago

    I wanted to bump this up to see if anyone has anything to add to this great thread.

    Today I purchased two antique doors to put in our new home. One is over 8 ft tall and 100 years old with sooo much character. It is cypress and will be the door to our master bedroom.
    The other door is so unique. I call it a hobbit door. it has an arched top with a round window pane in it. It even has the original LETTER slot in working condition. This door will be at the entrance to my sewing nook under the stairs.
    Both doors will be sanded down with their holes plugged. I'll post pics as soon as I get them.

    I would love to hear any other ideas!

  • micahjo
    15 years ago

    Glad to see the thread revived . . .

    ajpl,

    Where did you get your hardware for your sliding door, if you don't mind my asking?

    I have one on our plans for my master closet (a mirrored door from the master bath to my closet), but my contractor is telling me the hardware alone will cost $300 . . .

    Anyone else have a sliding door? Any sources for hardware?

    Thanks! -- Micahjo

  • ajpl
    15 years ago

    Micahjo, part of the hardware for the bathroom sliding (barn) door came from an actual barn. They are from a barn that was destroyed but still on the property when we bought it. We looked at farm stores and online for a rail that would work with the hangers we had but they are expensive. Dh got some ideas and made (welded) the pieces he needed. It's not installed yet but here's where we got some ideas:

    http://www.barndoorhardware.com/
    http://www.betterbarns.com/Hardware.asp

  • dalcolli
    15 years ago

    GREAT thread, bumping so others can see these amazing ideas.

  • fairytalebaby
    15 years ago

    Alright, my contributions are far from AMAZING...but they're little things that we love about our home. We chose a dutch door leading to the upstairs (children's playroom and guest suite).


    The door is a great "baby/dog gate" so that I don't have to worry about who's sneaking up stairs and are they eating wooden dollhouse furniture. And yes, we planted a tree on the landing.

    Also, one other little oddity that we chose was in our master bath. I wanted the room to be very relaxing, like a spa...so we have river rock tile accented throughout the room.
    It's so pretty in person...and it's my favorite thing about the room is all the little blue & green pebbles

  • terrypy
    15 years ago

    Don't have pics but we added a gorgous tin ceiling to our study/sitting room and our staircase has a short flight with a landing then a right turn to the 2nd floor. The long flight is our pantry, but the short flight is a built in dog crate/room that can be accessed from the pantry and has a pretty metal railing styled door on the finished living side so they can see out and go in and out when not closed. We get a lot of compliments on that idea, especially since most see that short flight as being able to be used for only awkward storage.

  • patty_cakes
    Original Author
    15 years ago

    I was scrolling thru threads, and came across this one~I had completely forgotten about it, whoops.

    What great ideas y'all have come up with~thanks for posting such great pics!! Was your inspiration something you've had in your head,or did you see it in a picture, internet, friend's home/model home, restaurant/hotel, etc.? I think it's great when you think outside the box!

    I have nothing unusual in my new home, but there's always the option of changing something if it isn't too expensive. ;o)

  • bob_cville
    15 years ago

    After recently completing a kitchen remodel, the plan was to make a small closet outside the kitchen, that would open into the living room, that could be used as a broom closet. However having a normal looking door in that location would have looked out-of-place. So I built and installed a hidden door that looks like a built-in bookcase.

    I still need to figure out what to put on the bookcase, and how to keep it from falling off when the door swings, and I still need to reinstall the baseboard and touch up the paint, but for the most part it is finished.

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    Of course part of the reason for doing this is just that having a hidden door/secret room seems like a really cool idea.

  • sierraeast
    15 years ago

    bob cville, Very nice! You might consider trimming the shelves flush to the bottoms but protruding up a tad at the top of the shelves to act as a bumper to help keep objects from falling. Awesome work!

  • meldy_nva
    15 years ago

    Use museum putty which is actually a transparent sticky gel to hold down glass or knicknacks. It's removeable but stuck items stay stuck until you deliberately lift them off. I've used it for small plant pots on windowsills, too. Link is to one source.

    Won't work for books, but for everything else, it's great stuff. For books, I discovered a trick while driving a motor home. Easier to do than say. Use wide elastic [in a dark color] and sew it into a loop that will fit snugly around the desired number of books left to right, top and bottom. Attach velcro, one part to the loop and the other part to the shelf. The elastic permits the books to be removed while holding firm enough for most driving situations. Not sure if this would work on a door-type situation.

    Here is a link that might be useful: museum putty

  • susanpn
    15 years ago

    Bumping this thread because--
    IT'S GREAT!!! Hopefully more ideas will come up, especially with photos!
    We are in framing stages and it is very fun to be able to potentially incorporate things found here. The Dutch door will be a winner for us, and hopefully the bookcase door for our broom closet too! Thanks for everyone's contributions here!

  • arleneb
    15 years ago

    When we moved into our Indiana lake house in 1976, there was a huge iron bell on a post in the front yard. It was original to the house, which was built in 1930. We used it to call kids home from neighbors, in from the boat, and to signal approval to the decorated boats in the July 4th Flotilla. The first picture I took in that house was my DH lifting our 4-year old son up to ring the bell. When we decided to move to Tennessee to be near (next door, in fact) to our two daughters, I insisted we take down the bell and bring it along. It took 5 men several hours to get it down, but it's here, in storage, and will be outside the kids' entrance to our new home. Can't take pics now, but maybe someday!

    Incidentally, when we tore down the 1930 house in 2001 and rebuilt, we used the rough-sawn cedar from the outside of the old house to line the screened porch. It took about 15 coats of paint to get it sealed and smooth enough to be interior siding. I loved reusing it!