Friday, October 6, 2017

Decorating With Jib Doors.......Secret Doors Hidden In Plain Sight

My first encounter with jib doors ( known only as secret doors at the time) was as I perused the pages of Carolyn Keene's Nancy Drew books. I read them voraciously and it seem like there was always a hidden room behind a secret door. Remember The Hidden  Staircase? These mysterious doors have since fascinated me as they have others throughout the history of mankind. 

These wonderful portals of my childhood did actually serve a much needed purpose. European castles and palaces often had jib doors and secret passageways to provide an escape route in case of an enemy siege. Many led down to underground water sources so there would be water to drink in case of a prolonged siege. They are still stylish additions to new homes as today jib doors conceal secret entrances to what is now called panic rooms.

A jib or secret door should be nearly invisible, hardly recognized as a door as one walks past. It is usually disguised by having the same moldings or wall treatment as the surrounding wall, but door hardware is usually absent.  Also missing is the wooden casing and door frame. This is what allows the jib door to remain flush with the wall. 

The secret jib doors in this post are more the functional yet aesthetically charming old world style........the kind you read about in historical romance and mystery novels. Enjoy!!

Everybody needs a jib/secret door just in case pitchfork carrying mobs come looking for you.

Marie Antoinette understood that fact all too well. This is the jib door and secret passage in the Queen's State Bedroom at Versailles through which Marie Antoinette escaped the Parisian mob on the night of the October 5, 1789.

The President of the United States has two secret jib doors in the oval office.

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And Batman has his secret jib door too.

Here is another jib door in the Palace of Versailles. Secret doors like this have played many integral roles in history. Maybe this one was used to allow someone to hide or escape from some kind of danger or even to carry out a more sinister purpose.


Secret doors are popular features in mysteries that are staged in castles, dungeons, old mansions and haunted houses.

It is impossible to imagine historical escape stories without hidden doors and secret passageways.

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The use of moldings and wallpaper on jib doors finished them off to look like the walls and make them quite innocent looking.

Another common use for the jib or secret door was to hide people. When England was converting to Protestantism (and back to Catholicism, and back to Protestantism, etc.) in the 16th and 17th centuries, it was relatively common for well-off crypto-Catholics to hide priests in their houses. If the houses were searched, they would want the priests to be hidden, of course. So they would build priest-holes, which are secret rooms/compartments for the priests to hide in.

Jib doors and secret passageways are always a cool amenity to any house as they evoke old-world artisanship and charm. Many were covered in handpainted wallpaper and wallpaper murals.

Or in this case the jib door is covered in damask fabric to blend in with the fabric panel.

Here is an example of a jib door decorated in a grisaille wallpaper mural in the NY apartment of designer Howard Slatkin.

via Pinterest 

Wainscoting, murals and tromp l'oeil have always been popular methods of conceling jib doors.

Many secret jib doors were created to have no visible trim or operable components. They were designed to visually to be a part of the wall. In this case even a piece of furniture was added making it very tricky to spot.

You can see the jib door in this picture of Marie Antoinette's bedroom in Le Petit Trianon.

Secret jib doors (sometimes called blind doors) were often wallpapered with an intricate pattern that provided a continuous flow to help conceal the door's location.

Chinoiserie patterned wallpaper was a great pattern for covering jib doors. The busy pattern made it especially hard to detect the secret door.

Nancy Lancaster

This jib door features a clever use of art to help in it's camouflage.

Many people still like to use jib doors as closet doors to keep the room from looking chopped up with doors and their casings.

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A large portrait of King Edward VII by Archibald Stuart Wortley cleverly disguises a pair of built-in wardrobe doors in the State Bedroom. Old Battersea House, London.

Julie Garman Interiors

Secret jib doors many times took on architectural features such as a built-in bookcase.

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Some entrances are more elaborately concealed and can be opened only by engaging a hidden mechanism or locking device.

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Old world style libraries are magical spaces to begin with and having a jib door to conceal your private little space is icing on the cake.

Robert AM Stern Architects, LLP

John Saladino

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Seems like no matter how old you get, the desire to have a secret door leading to a passageway or hidden room in your house is something you never outgrow. Wood paneling makes a perfect disguise for this hidden door.

This jib door is made from the same French boiserie covering the rest of the walls.

The more cleverly disguised the better the secret jib door is at concealment. This door features artwork and looks like the rest of the gallery walls.

This jib door with intricate moldings and maps would be especially hard to notice unless you knew it was there.

This secret door looks like part of the built-in cabinetry.

This secret door isn't a jib door but was so clever I had to add it. You would never know it wasn't part of the cabinet unit.

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Three years ago we almost bought an old house built in 1845 that had armoire doors that acted as a secret door just like this. It was so well done and deceptive that I never realized it was hiding a corridor.

Be warned !!


While it might be fun having a secret door in your home, just be careful........

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they can be dangerous!!

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This blog post was published by Lisa Farmer

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Blue And White Kitchens......Classic AND Trendy

Whether Old World, Traditional, Country, Farmhouse, French, Coastal, or Transitional, blue and white can be effectively incorporated into practically any style of kitchen or decor. You have not seen this blue/white color combo in kitchens for some time. However, as homeowners tire of the all white kitchen, color is once again emerging and blue is taking center stage. There are several popular shades of blue trending for kitchens at present but for this blog post the spotlight is on the darker blue shades. (Lovers of that wonderful Tiffany blue kitchen, stay tuned, that post is in the works.)

If you are considering a kitchen makeover with a classic yet current modern feel, that perennial blue/white combo might be just the ticket. I have gathered some images of blue and white kitchens that might inspire you. Enjoy!!

You know I am going to put my favorite image first. I love authentic (not what has come to be considered by most) French kitchens. I love an old work table as opposed to an island. If I were to add some blue to my kitchen it would be something like this. However, I know many of you are not interested in going that far with the authentic look so the rest of the images will be more to your liking. Old world or new, blue and white is pretty in the kitchen.

One of the biggest trends happening this year is the incorporation of the blue and white color combo into the kitchen. Blue kitchen cabinets are all the rage but any use of the color blue will refresh your kitchen with an irresistible appeal.

First let's take a look at the royal blue family. If you are worried about whether or not blue cabinets will work well..... worry no more. I'll admit a kitchen saturated in blue may be a bit bold for some. However, others find it a soothing and relaxing shade.

If you only require a touch of blue to satisfy your trend cravings, use a gorgeous shade of royal blue as an accent color. A blue and white color theme looks beautiful and I love how the blue island give this kitchen such a fresh feel. The chandeliers are perfect....classic with a modern twist.

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Deep royal blue seems to bring a touch of class. Plus the dark blue adds depth and dimension to stark white and other neutral walls.

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A close-up of that great royal blue range from the blue and white kitchen above. Don't forget that if you only want a touch of blue in your kitchen a blue range is another option.

Paint the walls of your kitchen royal blue for a dramatic yet cozy look. These cabinets are a deeper creamy white but you get the idea.

Royal blue kitchen cabinets can become either contemporary or keep it traditional with a mixture of farmhouse accents. 

The royal blue island and accents work well with a traditional style white kitchen. Brass is also back so if you have some good pieces stored away, bring them back out.

Howells Architecture + Design, LLC

This kitchen with it's white slatboard cabinets sports a pop of royal blue via the tiled backsplash. 

How pretty is this royal blue and white kitchen with the incredible tin ceiling and silver accents.

Photo by Kitchen & Bath Artisans

Remember that if you don't want the expense of changing perfectly beautiful white kitchen cabinets there is always the blue range to add a spark of color.

Now for the navy! With Navy Peony being selected as one of Pantone's colors of the year, it's no wonder blue kitchens have become so stylish.
Here the kitchen cabinets are painted in two tones, gray below with upper cabinets painted white to blend into the white herringbone patterned tiles on the walls. The navy blue island and navy and white window treatments finish this kitchen beautifully.

Doing a two toned cabinet design is a great option. Most people prefer the navy blue cabinets for the lower set, while having a white, or off white tone, for the upper cabinets.

Home Bunch

There are several colors that look great as accents in a blue and white kitchen. Try the citrus shades of orange, red, yellow, lime green.

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Of course blue cabinets is not the only way to jump into the blue kitchen trend. The cabinets in this kitchen all maintain their original all-white paint finish, but the gorgeous blue color is applied on the walls. This really makes the cabinets, white beadboard, and interior moldings pop-out well.

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This is a pretty modern rustic style kitchen with the great exposed beans and hardwood floors. Navy blue  and white works well with this kitchen look. I like the mirror over the sink and of course the rug. Kitchens need rugs too. So many people forget this.

Many of you prefer to not follow a trend because they never seem to last as long as you would like. It is much easier to change the look of a kitchen by redoing the backsplash tiles than it is to replace cabinetry. I really like this look but I am a huge fan of creamy (not stark) white cabinets. This is a great way to get the blue and white look without risking the chance of outdated cabinets in a few years.

A small bit of dark navy blue herringbone pattern tile on the backsplash will be a nice compliment to a white palette and won't leave you feeling overwhelmed.

These blue cabinets have a weathered denim look which works well with the creamy white tile backsplash, warm stone floor, and wooden exposed ceiling beams. The result is a spacious looking kitchen which has a timeless rustic/elegant appeal.

Blue painted cabinets are lovely when wedded to white marble, granite, or other stone counters that have gray striations.

A kitchen with navy blue cabinets and sleek white counter tops accented with stainless steel is certainly hard to rival.

Navy blue cabinets, combined with lighter elements like marble and subway tile, add a crisp fresh feel to a kitchen. Glass front cabinets add to the airiness. Blue and white kitchens are perfection for coastal properties. Great view!!!

This modern kitchen features simple plain blue cabinets paired with brushed stainless steel pulls. This is a great shade of dark navy blue.

I especially like blue and white kitchens with copper accents. This is a great combo. Loving the copper farmhouse sink!

These next few images feature blue kitchens that are unique shades. Even though they are not navy or royal, they fall into the dark blue category and are all very good choice for a blue/white kitchen redo.

European cabinets provide a vintage feel in this kitchen space and the blue color is an excellent complement to the creamy white tile and warm-toned wood elements.

Decor Pad

I really like the style of this kitchen and the Benjamin Moore Courtland blue shade. So pretty with the white subway tile and great farmhouse sink. The rug adds warmth, color, and texture, something that is missing in so many kitchens today.

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A French provincial classic island introduces blue into this kitchen design in a gorgeous way. This muddy shade of blue is a bit greyed to be considered light blue so I added it to the dark blue kitchen list. Add in the blue and white checked chair cushions for a warm French country look.

The owners of this blue kitchen have chosen to go with a light gray and blue color pallet instead of blue and white. Their gray backsplash and flooring compliment  the dark blue gray of the cabinets.These industrial style bar stools complete a great look.

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Another example of how lovely blue/gray/white kitchens can be. 

I hope you have come away with an idea or two on how to work this trend in your own homes.

Click here to see the previous post

This blog post was published by Lisa Farmer

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