Extraordinary bedroom of Louis XIV in the palace at Versailles

Did you ever figure out how to make hidden spaces behind closed walls?  This is more than storage.  Hidden spaces are where you save stuff out of sight.  My daughter-in-law Joanne reminded me how they have pretty kool storage ideas—turning unused wall space into a computer closet, housing an attic behind a bathroom mirror.   Great storage in a 1/2 bath  in the Woodcliff Lake house behind mirrors.  And those areas are good for the large things.  Small things can be tucked behind outlet/switch cover plates, behind bricks, in door panels,

inside drapery linings, behind decor and more.  The movie “The Man in the Iron Mask” was on AMC (American Movie Channel) on Sunday past.  The wooden panels tickled me to see them open allowing King Louis XIV to leave his mistress’ bed chamber undetected. Getting any ideas?

The most interesting hiding places are behind moving walls of a library or walls that open between rooms.

The Queen’s bedchamber.

Queen's bed chamber in the Versailles

There is a barely discernible ‘hidden door’ in the corner near the jewel cabinet by Schwerdfeger (1787) through which Marie Antoinette escaped the night of 5/6 October 1789 when the Paris mob stormed Versailles.


Secret room/hidden door

Hidden rooms and secret passageways are the stuff of legend. Only found in ancient castles and fantasy books, nobody actually has a hidden door in their house, right?  Wrong. There is now an entire industry devoted to providing the slickest, most beautiful and subtle hideaways for adults who still have the dreams, and now the cash, to make fantasy a reality.

Would you like a secret store to stash your stuff?  How creative can you be? A moving wall, bookcase, panel might work.



The bottom line responses to the storage blog of the last two weeks…no one has enough.  For those of you that have survived life on a boat, you would probably agree storage space is premium.  So boats are a good example to use for storage.

The Challenge:  Since quarters are tight on a boat, the challenge is to figure out how to build drawers for storage on a boat.  One of my readers suggested I write about how to design storage on a boat.  I think the suggestion was tongue-in-cheek.  However, I am up for a challenge, and since I am not an expert in the area, I Googled some ideas.  These can also be used for tight spots where you live, except leave off the latch unless you have curious little tykes.

The latch is meant to keep boat drawers from spilling their stuff in rough seas. According to Will, boats “rock and roll” with the water’s movement. If you leave a drawer unsecured on a boat, it will eventually pop open and may even end up on the floor with its contents scattered.

So, please go to the link below for instructions how to build those drawers. They would be in the walls of the boat of course, as they could be in your home.  Remember, since most homes have walls, in my last blogs I suggested building storage in the walls between the rooms.  Sort of like closets.  Did you ever notice that closets are usually back to back or next to each other and reversed for the room(s) they are in?  Closets and drawers also create sound barriers, especially with the soft clothes inside absorbing the sound.  You see, storage does more than provide a place to put stuff, storage also gives privacy and quiet.  Book storage also give more than books on shelves, they are sound barriers.

If you click on the link below, you will have how-to instructions to build those drawers.

The following is by Will Charpentier, eHow Contributor:

“If you’ve ever built or expanded any cabinetry in your home, you know that measurements make or break a project. Most often cabinetry afloat has few special requirements, save that the exterior should be painted, stained or varnished. The drawers, though, do require a bit of attention, since they must fit in spite of the beating the boat gives them. The drawer slides – like slides used ashore – are adjustable.”

Read more: How to Build Drawers in Boats |

Do you have an interesting place to build new storage? Maybe on your boat?
Word count: 431 Draft saved at 10:43:48 pm. Last edited by gailingis on January 31, 2012 at 10:41 pm




From the beginning storage has been sought after.  We accrue, amass, and accumulate.  No matter how much space, we fill it, and need a place for more.

Dining room cabinet in the wall

Cabinets in walls, cubbies in stalls, cubicles in closets.  Did you ever think of a cabinet inside a wall?  It is done with medicine cabinets all the time.  But how about a larger cabinet to store stuff?  Like in the dining room. Instead of a buffet cabinet sitting in the room on the floor, how about putting a cabinet in a wall?  It can have a serving area, as it is here in the middle of the cabinet, as well as storage. All your dishes, crystal, silver, serving pieces. everything.  Everything is away, and still convenient.  This one is a contemporary version, but it can be any design of your preference.

Take a wall out, making two rooms into one.  One large one, and build cabinets around the supporting columns.

Cabinets (open) hiding columns

Cabinets (closed) built around supporting columns

Now you have a party room, with two cabinets housing all your party stuff, right there where you need it. I designed these based on the clients requests so that beverages and refreshments could be served while mingling with guests.

The cabinets are made in wood, olive ash burl, with a special gloss polyurethane finish that is indestructible.

Here’s some back-story.  Let’s call it history.  In the 17th century, William of the Netherlands married Mary of England.  They had their own style for storage.

William & Mary cabinet

These amazing works of art served them well, to store and to view.  Cabinet veneered with burr maple.  English, c. 1690.  The trumpet-legs, typical of the style, are restored. The floral marquetry panels show the Dutch influence.  This period of William and Mary is most characteristically known in English cabinetmaking history as the “Age of Walnut.” See this in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

What about my writer friends.  Do you have a desk?  Where do you keep all your papers?

Here’s one for you.  The writing section can be pulled down, and look at all that drawer space in the walnut-veneer

William & Mary Secretaire-cabinet c.1700

secretaire-cabinet, with bun feet and teardrop hardware, typical of the William and Mary style, with panels of arabesque marquetry and a central panel of flowers in etched and stained woods. Perhaps made in England by an immigrant Dutch craftsman, c. 1700.  Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

Where do you keep all those papers?  Would you have enough space for a secretary like this one, or would a smaller one work?



I remember Grandma’s wardrobe.

Grandma’s wardrobe was almost like this one.  When Grandma didn’t need it anymore, she passed it on to me.  I used it for clothes mostly, but when we moved from Long Island I left it behind.

Victorian Wardrobe (Closet)

After I became an interior designer, I thought about it from time-to-time.  If it were today, there would be no way it would be left behind.  Now, as an interior designer, my appreciation for well-designed and functional furnishings take precedent.  This one is handsome in solid mahogany, Queen Anne hardware, a Chippendale bracket feet at the base and a pierced pediment with a center shell motif.  There are several other designs applied to it like a true Victoriana wardrobe.

Dream.  Imagine what you could stuff into this amazing wardrobe, namely today’s storage cabinet.  Bottom drawers to hold cool summer clothes in the winter and hold snugly winter warm clothes in the summer.   Mirrored doors hide hanging clothes and more drawers and shelving in-between.  Those studio apartments in New York could use this wardrobe as a room divider.

The wardrobe, also known as an armoire from the French, is a standing closet used for storing clothes. The earliest wardrobe was a chest similar to this cassone, a 16th century Italian chest. This type of chest  usually referred to by its Italian name, was most often used as marriage chests to hold brides’ household linens, every item of which would have been woven by hand and embellished with hand lace or embroidery or other fancywork. The cassone was especially popular from the 14th to the 16th century.

During a large portion of the 18th century the tallboy

Tallboy 1790

was much used for storing clothes.

A common feature was to base future size of the wardrobe on the eight small men method. A considered good size double wardrobe would thus be able to hold within its capacity, eight small men.

What’s your preference? A Victorian wardrobe, a cassone, a tallboy, or eight small men?





Storage has been the bane of our existence. Where does this go, where does that go? Throw it in the closet, throw it in the armoire, throw it in the cupboard , throw it in the linenpress. Its tough to part with stuff, so we keep it, throw it somewhere never to find it again. Unless…we get organized, and have a system. Perhaps the linenpress is your answer. This linenpress is a 2-piece storage unit with an overhanging, molded cornice. The upper section has a cupboard with 2 paneled doors concealing 3-5 shelves, possibly with sliding trays or drawers. The lower section is slightly wider than the upper section, with 3-5 full length, usually graduated drawers. This has a molded base with plain skirt and simple bracket feet. Others could have claw-and-ball feet. Paneled, dovetailed, and pegged construction. Lots of space to get organized and store stuff. The woods used are local and could be mahogany, cherry, walnut, or birch. Secondary wood is pine or poplar. The hinges are brass. The pulls are brass mounts or rosettes with bail handles. Escutcheons are matching brass or brass keyhole surrounds. Height: 72-84″ Width: 40-47″, Depth: 17-21″.  Made circa 1770-1800 in New England, New York, Pennsylvania, and Maryland. Most show some restoration, particularly inside the cupboard.  For example, in the 19th century, when there were no closets, they were often fitted with hooks to serve as wardrobes. If you hunt for a linenpress as a collectable, make sure that you have a true linen press and not just a cupboard mounted on a chest of drawers.

Cabinets of all types have been designed since the beginning of time to store what we aren’t using at the moment.  We are still struggling with the issue. Here’s some sweet history about the linenpress. It acquired the name back in the 17th century as it was used to press linens. It consisted of a flat bed upon which damp linen was placed for flattening through pressure applied with a large wooden screw. The linen was then stored in the cabinet. The actual press looked like the piece here with the apparatus, the screw, visible. It is Dutch, made in the 17th century in walnut and is typical William and Mary style with its turned legs and stretchers attached to the legs and straight frieze at the top.

Linenpress screw

The phrase William and Mary usually refers to the co-regency over the Kingdoms of England, Scotland and Ireland, of King William III & II and Queen Mary II. Their joint reign began in February 1689, when they were offered the throne by the Parliament of England, replacing James II & VII, Mary’s father and William’s uncle/father-in-law, who was “deemed to have fled” the country in the Glorious Revolution of 1688. After Mary died in 1694, William ruled alone until his death in 1702.

Where do you store your “stuff.” How do you organize or not?


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