Secret Rooms And Passages: A Popular Custom Home Feature, But Are They Worth The Cost?

Secret Passage

Visions of a secret passageway are straight up James Bond style. Yet hidden passages are more commonly found than just in your childhood Nancy Drew stories. Tomb passageways were the route of Christians who were seeking refuge from the Romans in Egypt. Kings and popes commonly kept secret tunnels and rooms within their castle walls or monasteries in order to escape or hide out whenever necessary. Today you can still find these secret hideouts but for more sinister purposes. Drug smugglers, serial killers and guerillas fighters are the most common purveyors of these secret rooms and hallways. These are often used for hiding illegal activities, fugitives and victims. However, for your everyday homeowner living on Main Street USA secret rooms and entrances are all the rage. The question remains: are they worth the extra effort for someone with a regular home?

Custom Home Plans for Secret Spaces

When someone has the opportunity to design custom homes for themselves or clients, it is attractive to add upgrades, such as secret passageways, to the plans. Some homeowners want to add hidden rooms into their builder’s plans as a way to create a novel approach to a secretive space unknown by anyone other than those in the know. Parents might want to create a secret room to be shared among adults. Perhaps they are interested in adding whimsy to their child’s playroom with the addition of a hidden tunnel from their bedroom to the play area. The addition of a secret room during the inception of a home might seem like the perfect time to make this building decision. However, there are hidden costs that are not revealed to homeowners until much later in the game.

Costs of Secret Rooms and Passages

The most common cost of these types of secretive spaces is in the construction itself. A draftsman and home builder must be able to incorporate things like swinging bookcases and door opening mechanisms, such as flip-up statues, into an otherwise regular building plan. Otherwise, a homeowner will be left with a dysfunctional and possibly even dangerous secret room or tunnel that could trap and forever imprison a person. Yet that is just the tip of the iceberg. If you have a room that is hidden from light and air, you may create a hazardous mold or mildew situation. Being unable to well ventilate your secret space will almost guarantee that you will suffer from sickening mold or bacteria buildup. In order to remedy this, a builder must insure that a secret room has ample opportunity for clean, fresh air to flow through it. This can be difficult for someone hoping to keep a room a secret.

Selling a Secret Room

Another issue is what to do if your home is passed down to generations or sold to unsuspecting buyers. You would have to reveal your secret space, which would take away the hidden aspect. If a buyer purchases your home without knowing of the secret passage or room, they could be set up for a dangerous situation if someone finds the room but is unable to escape. While secret rooms are very cool sounding and in theory neat to have, they can create havoc if not well designed and maintained throughout the years.

+Ken Uhrich likes houses. In fact he lives in one. He gives tips and advice on home improvement and home building on the Custom Home Group website.