Sunday, 15 May 2011

A Little Space Of My Own

Oh well if I was ever looking for conclusive evidence that I'm losing my mind I now have it.

I mean, I never had that firm a grasp on my mind in the first place but it is definitely slipping away faster than I anticipated.

I left something out of my perfect house planning.

Something essential.

Something I didn't even remember until I read this article.

A secret room!

What the hell is wrong with you, brain?

How can we live without a secret room?

I very much doubt I'll ever be affluent enough to build a house big enough to contain a secret passage but a hidden room I think I could squeeze into the budget.

I like the elegance of this swinging bookcase.

First reason, the lovely curved double doors are a design feature I like all by themselves.

Second reason, it's a bookcase, which is not only a traditional method of hiding passages and bolt holes but also wonderfully functional.

I think I would have always been drawn to the idea of secret rooms and passages no matter what, especially considering the amount of books* I've read that have featured them, but I had a push in that direction when I was young.

My godfather owned a house that contained one.

I've been jealous of people for a lot of things.

Owning a sweet-ass Voltron figure that actually broke down into the individual lions which contained each of the pilots.

Being able to do backflips on the playground without worrying about messing it up and landing on their head.

Having a bike whose pedals could be pedalled backwards because the brakes were in the handles.

But I have never been as jealous of any of those people as I was of my godfather's son who lived in the secret room.

You entered it through a nondescript looking hallway cupboard which - when you opened it - contained not linens, Christmas decorations or winter wear but a set of quite steep stairs which you climbed in darkness.

At the top of the staircase you pressed up on a trap door which lifted to let you into a narrow but comfortable room which had a small unobtrusive balcony overlooking the very high-ceilinged lounge room.

It was amazing.

I'd never seen a secret room in person before and the idea that you could live in one, that you could have your books and clothes and stereo in one and be able to look out on the rest of the household when your presence or existence may not have been immediately evident or noticed at all...

So. Jealous.

They moved out of the house some years ago and as I was about 10 at the time I didn't have the finances to buy it or the influence to cajole my parents into moving cities and buying it so that I could live in the hidden room but I've never really forgotten about it.

Great swathes of time have gone past without me thinking about it but whenever it has popped up in my brain again I've felt that same wonder, excitement and satisfaction.

So it's going on the list.

Secret room.

Candlestick sconces and fireplaces optional**.

*I only reluctantly gave up on my plans to become Mary out of The Secret Garden when I realised that in order for that to happen my parents would have to die.

**The only option is which colours and of which materials they'll be constructed.

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