Winchester Mystery Rancher
March 7, 2013 12:28 PM   Subscribe

Manic Pixie Dream Architecture: please point me towards any websites/books/magazines/blogs/etc. which show weird/cool/unique/interactive design features (e.g. secret/hidden doors) in non-mansion homes.

Mr. JulThumbscrew and I will be looking to purchase our first single-family home pretty soon. We're both excited about the idea of buying a cozy little house and cramming it full of all sorts of interesting design features... creating the Wes Anderson film of houses, I s'pose?

Our aesthetic is very simple and clean (think Arts & Crafts, "The Not So Big House"). We've already thought of secret/hidden doors, permanent ladders in addition to staircases, walk-in closets transformed into tiny guest rooms, wooden-paneled ceilings, and cozy little nooks for curling up and reading. We need more inspiration, though... what resources are out there to help us transform an average house into McQuirkington Manor? Thanks, Hive!
posted by julthumbscrew to Home & Garden (8 answers total) 33 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I'll tell you what my parents did when they built their house in 1971.

My sister and I each had our own bedroom with a sort of walk in closet. What was cool about it was that instead of putting the wall between our closets, there was another rod sort of in the middle. The idea was we could get to each other's rooms through the closet.

We used to have a "closet club" in there, about 5 of us would cram in there and just yak up a storm.

When it was first built, we moved into the house without a Certificate of Occupancy, and no electric, and it got cold one night (in Phoenix, it was an odd occurance.) So Sissy and I went into the closet with our sleeping bags and we were very cozy in there.

My friend Joe has this very cool flat in San Francisco. There's a closet with a window in the living room. No rods, no shelves. Back in the day, he put a double-sized bed in there and used it as a guest room. Now he has a desk in there and he took the door off so it's open to the living room.

A friend of mine in Berekely had the coolest studio. It was open with a closet and bath the only thing in the room with walls. There were stairs to the top of the room, and a sleeping loft over the closet/bath. (Vaulted ceilings made it possible.) It was a great use of space in that you could havea living area separate from the sleeping area and maximize vertical space.

So...yeah, I'm all about what you're putting down.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 1:09 PM on March 7, 2013

Best answer: Laundry chutes. Dumbwaiters or baskets on pulleys near the stairs. If you find out where the rafters are you can put a swing in your living room. A lot of older houses have whole-house exhaust fan systems which are pretty cool and effective: pull in completely fresh air in under 5 minutes!
posted by steinwald at 1:17 PM on March 7, 2013

pocket doors. built-in bookshelves, desks, etc. Recessed art niches in the walls.
posted by steinwald at 1:24 PM on March 7, 2013

My dad dug a bomb shelter under our house... (it was the 70's...)
posted by The otter lady at 1:25 PM on March 7, 2013

Best answer: The little house I'm currently in was built by an artist and his sons, they took a couple of years to slowly, room by room, tear down a cottage built in 1921 and replace it with what I have now... the house is considered to have only about 1,000 sq. feet, but that doesn't include the finished, walk out basement.

It's not THAT odd, but it has some neat features... including a staircase held up on one side by threaded rods, about half the windows look out on the lake, the basement ceiling is finished plywood and cork, walls painted some odd colors, a set of pocket doors... a wood finished mud room, walls in a couple of rooms done in wood from the old cottage... a woodstove in the basement...a heated cement floor on the living level, a cute little nook in the upstairs bedroom, and ONE closet in the house.. jetted tube in the master bathroom upstairs.. The house fills the tiny lot it is on... and the outside is half grey and half red/rust color . Pictures are here (note, this is pre move-in with only a few pieces of furniture. We love it...
posted by HuronBob at 1:50 PM on March 7, 2013

Best answer: I typed secret spaces into Houzz and came up with some fun stuff.
posted by amanda at 2:46 PM on March 7, 2013 [3 favorites]

And don't forget the crazy ass corkscrew wine cellar! (scroll down)
posted by amanda at 2:59 PM on March 7, 2013

I can, and frequently do, look at Desire to Inspire for hours. Also, people on Pinterest love this sort of stuff. You can find people who have "dream house" boards in any style.

And don't forget outside the house. I have always wanted a tiny cottage or cabin in my backyard, with a meandering moat around it that you had to cross to get to the cottage. Inside the cottage there is just a comfy chair, a cabinet with some glasses, a bottle of whiskey, and a few books stashed away. That would be ultimate rainy day hangout. I even remember seeing a couple on HGTV who had a corrugated tin roof on their small cottage and, when they pressed a button, water ran down the roof into a small pond, so you can have a rainy day whenever the mood strikes.

Somewhere in the yard could be a long, wood table. And herbs for cutting. Now that's a place to hang out.

Also, amanda's recommendation for searching on Houzz is awesome. Try "nook."
posted by theuninvitedguest at 1:18 PM on March 8, 2013

« Older Looking for a tune to play at an Irish wedding.   |   Waitlisted events/places in Europe or Asia in... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.