Since I watched Harry Potter at the age of 7, I have been fascinated by the secret entrances and hidden doors. However, it wasn't until last summer that I started daydreaming about having one in my own house.
It all started on one beautiful evening when mom and I were attending the classical music festival in the vineyard in the Kakheti Region of Georgia. One evening, after the concert, I and my friends stayed outside to enjoy a beautiful evening and have dinner, while she, the "Miss social", went to hang out with her friends. Later in the evening, on the way back to our room, she suddenly turned around and said: "Hey, come here let me take you to the secret room", I thought to myself - is she alright ?! what is she talking about ?! In the middle of a very long stone hallway, she turned left, towards the wall, and started pushing a huge arched brick wall. The wall opened up like a door and revealed a small, very beautifully decorated dining/meeting area. The moment I entered that room, I knew I need something similar in my house.
Well, my 1500 sq. ft house is not a mansion that can accommodate long brick hallways, hidden passages, or any type of hidden room. However, it had a hallway, with the most useless closet, space on top of the basement staircase that I couldn't use much as the floors were not straight and it was impossible to fit anything there. So, I decided to turn it into the "Secret Space" that would look like a built-in cabinet from the outside and inside will serve as a linen closet. I know, I know, linen closet, nothing exciting…
Right before I started designing the "secret door", I redesigned our hallway doors and added the molding on the walls. As you can see in the picture above, adding the trim with straight, masculine, lines and painting everything white gave the hallway a sleek and clean base. However, I wasn't going for white bland space, I wanted more character. So I incorporated some feminine curvature and color through greenish/gray arched closet doors. The different shape and color of the closet door further tricks the mind and makes one believe it's just a built-in cabinet instead of the closet door.
Once I finalize all my design plans, I ran to my husband and informed him that I had a fun project for him ( this is usually the time when he rolls his eyes at me and runs away...). I told him, I wanted the arched door that looked like a built-in shelf. Of course, he said I was crazy but then he got excited about it too.
First, we had to figure out how to turn the doorway into an arch. I researched a lot about it, and the most common way is to either buy a pre-made arched doorway or if you are making an arched way, cut the drywall into the arched shape. However, James looked at me and said, "I think I know a much easier way". So we went to the garage and started working on the arch project.
Below is a step by step of our building process:
Step 1 \\ Prep
-Take out the old bi-fold door, trim, and hardware.
Step 2 \\ Creating the Arch
- Took the vinyl baseboard and arched it to fit the size of the door opening. It took us a few little trims to get the perfect curve but after a few tries, we got it.
- After making sure the fit was perfect and we liked the curve, we left the vinyl plank t in the curved position for 3 days so that it would adjust to the temperature and shape before putting any nails in.
Step 3 \\ Securing & Framing
-Once it was cured, we removed the arched baseboard and built the door framing, then put the vinyl "arch" back and nailed it into the frame. Just be very careful, when doing this!
Step 4 \\ Drywall
- Then measured the top of the arch and cut out the drywall to add it to the top on both sides.
- Once it was screwed in, we started putting joint compound to even out the surface. It took about 4 coats and 4 days (we usually leave each coat for at least 24 hours to dry before sanding and reapplying). Then it was ready to be primed!
Step 4 \\ Finishing Touches
-When using the vinyl, you always have to use a very strong primer before putting the normal paint on. We used SW extreme bond primer.
- Once the primer is dry, lightly sand it with 220 grit sandpaper or sanding block and paint the surface. We used Simply White by Benjamin Moore to match the walls.
These were all the steps that we used to get the arched doorway using the leftover vinyl trim board. I would not suggest using vinyl plank for the archway unless you are putting the trim between the vinyl and the wall as it tends to crack in between. However, I found this curved drywall inserts that would be perfect for the archway.
Below you can find the list of materials and tools that we used in this project:
Joint Compound (We like to use the "Less Dust" version)