When we decided to add a ceiling to our two-story entryway, we ended up with an oddly placed extra room the size of a walk-in closet.
The room did not attach to any other rooms, and we spent some time thinking of what we could use this small space for. One day it dawned on me—we could build a hidden children’s library with a Narnia closet entrance!
Obviously, this room is a showstopper and the most unique room in our home, but the biggest benefit has been a huge increase in reading interest for both my children (ages 7 and 4).
Today, I’ll give you a tour of our secret library and explain how we created it. By the way, if you’d like to see how our two-story entry looked before converting it, you can see a photo here.
Related: How We Built a Hidden Room
When we added the ceiling above the entryway (converting it from two stories to one), we were left with this space that connects to a landing at the top of our stairs. We decided to turn it into a Narnia closet with a hidden library for our children.
First, I sourced an antique armoire from Etsy. Next, we had it integrated into the wall and the drywall patched. After that, we cut a door into the back part of the armoire to create an access point.
You can see in the photos below how it looks closed and opened. The new door is 5 feet tall, so adults have to duck to enter, but it is accessible for children and adults.
Anytime we can’t find our kids they can be found in this room reading and playing. It makes us so happy!
Let’s talk a little about the foyer. This is a small landing space at the top of our stairs. It has wall and ceiling wallpaper that creates a big look. From this space, there are doors to the stairway, our main bedroom, the hallway where more bedrooms are and this armoire.
Many times I have shown guests the armoire and no one ever notices anything special about it until we push open the hidden door inside. It is true magic!
Speaking of true magic, here’s a video tour of our hidden library:
Sources: Wallpaper / Augustine Evans Art Print / William Cleary Art Print (both art prints are by Janet Hill).
The dark green paint color is a custom match. We took a swatch of the wallpaper into the paint store and they matched the deepest color for us to paint the doors and trim.
Wallpapering a ceiling is a good way to make a room feel smaller, cozier and more dramatic. This space had little to do vibe before we added the wallpaper, and now it is one of the most designed spaces in our home.
Art sources: Star Chart Art / Harry Potter Custom Art / Handful of Stars Print, Moon and Stars Print, Shadow Puppets Print. The rose painting and the mirror are vintage finds.
I found an Etsy shop that makes these customized wizard prints and my kids think they are hilarious.
When it came to collecting books for my children’s library, this was the fun part! Let me know if you’d be interested in an expanded post on this subject. I collected hundreds of used books locally.
For new books, I focused mostly on series for early readers since our 7-year-old is currently learning to read. I collected all the series I loved most as a young child as well as new series that friends recommended.
So far, my 7-year-old is loving the Elephant and Piggie series (which she can read on her own), The Magic Treehouse and The Ramona series. It’s been so inspiring watching both my girls take a larger interest in reading this year.
Being the vintage lover that I am, I have also been collecting Nancy Drew and I am currently working on the full set of Goosebumps books.
Want to see more room tours?
Actually ignore me, it was a problem on my end! It works fine 🙂
This is magical.
This is every kid’s dream! What a special magical place to cozy up with a book. You did an amazing job.
SO obsessed–how magical. Adding this to my dream home board on Pinterest asap. Would love an expanded post on collecting so many children’s books locally. I’m always a bit overwhelmed looking through the children’s book sections while thrifting but definitely want to get better at it!
Hi! I started by collecting series I read as a kid (like American Girls and Goosebumps) and it evolved from there. Have fun!
This would be a dream come true for me. And I’m obsessed with the green colour on the door and trims! Personally, I would not have integrated the wardrobe into the wall because I love one with legs and I would want it to look like an inconspicuous wardrobe just sitting there. But don’t get me wrong, yours is absolutely stunning and I love the whole look in your home! It is truly magical your kids are so lucky to have this. I plan to have one of these in my next house (we’d like to go into an older house which I could fill with antiques and do something similar if there’s a room that calls for it). But that will be when the kids are older and have their own lives/interests outside the home.
Hi there! We actually did not plan to integrate it into the wall or remove the legs. Those were both pivots I had to make to make it fit into the space (from every direction). I added the wallpaper to my plan to make it flow more nicely and be be less noticeable and it helped a lot.
I love this so much – it’s truly beautiful and magical. Your children are going to have THE BEST memories!
Elsie, I’m obsessed!! I would have loved having this room as a kid, and even now (for my son and for me lol). What a beautiful gift for your daughters — childhood magic for sure ✨
PS — so so glad the podcast is back! My Monday morning treat!
I feel like this is one of the few blog that still invests time and energy in inspirational blog content rather than focusing on reels or other trending forms of social media. I love blogs and it gets frustrating when your favorites leave their blog as an afterthought. This is just so beautiful! Thank you for sharing.
May I suggest the Mercy Watson series and anything by Kate DiCamillo?
Seconding this recommendation!
From what you’ve shared of your family I think you’d also enjoy:
– the Madame Pamplemousse series by Rupert Kingfisher
– Where You Came From/When You Were Small/When I Was Small and other books illustrated by Julie Morstad
– the Mrs Armitage books by Quentin Crisp
– the Wicked Big Toddlah and The Wicked Big Toddlah Goes to New York by Kevin Hawkes
– Hattie and the Fox by Mem Fox
– the Mysterious Benedict Society series
My older son went through a major Cinderella and Little Red Riding Hood phase and we all enjoyed these alternate versions:
– Lon Po Po by Ed Young
– Ninja Red Riding Hood (and other stories by Corey Rosen Schwartz)
– Yeh Shen also by Ed Young
– the Irish Cinderlad by Shirley Clinic
Which reminds me even though we have no Irish connections we all loved:
– The Hounds of the Morrigan by Pat O’Shea (for 9-12 year olds I’d say)
– Finn McCool and the Great Fish by Eve Bunting
– O’Sullivan Stew by Hudson Talbott
When your kids are a bit older:
– the Underland series by Suzanne Collins
– anything by Andrew Clemens (his elementary/middle grade school-based stories are really good for having conflict between people who are essentially good)
– the Mo&Dale Mystery series by Sheila Turnage
– anything by Neal Shusterman but especially the Tesla’s attic series and the Everlost series
– the Simon Snow series by Rainbow Rowell (more for teens though my 10 year old liked them)
– the Amari and the Night Brothers series (we’ve only read the first book but I’m confident it will hold up)
I was recommending books to a new grandmother and thought of a few more you and your kids might enjoy:
* Charlie Parker Played be bop by Chris Raschka
* Rrralph by Lois Ehlert (I need to buy this in case it goes out of print and I have grandchildren)
* Sheep in a Jeep and the sequel Sheep on a Ship by Nancy Shaw
* The Gruffalo and The Gruffalo’s Child by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler (and basically all their other books)
* Click, Clack, Moo Cows That Type and the other books in the series by Doreen Cronin and Betsy Lewin
* Books by Robert Munsch and Michael Marchenko, especially Mortime and More Pies and Moira’s Birthday Party (the Munschworks Ultimate Treasury is my default baby gift and has The Paper Bag Princess • The Fire Station • I Have to Go! • David’s Father • Thomas’ Snowsuit • Pigs • Mortimer • Purple, Green and Yellow • Murmel, Murmel, Murmel • Something Good • Stephanie’s Ponytail • Angela’s Airplane • Jonathan Cleaned Up—Then He Heard a Sound • Show and Tell • A Promise is a Promise (with Michael Kusugak, illustrated by Vladyana Langer Krykorka))
* Also illustrated by Michael Marchenko, the Matthew and the Midnight x series by Allen Morgan
* Nothing Ever Happens on My Block by Ellen Raskin (out of print, we have my childhood copy)
* The Cow Who Climbed a Tree by Gemma Marino
* Stanley’s Party by Linda Bailey and Bill Slavin (I think there’s a sequel or maybe two, and it is also a good companion read with Munsch’s Moira’s Birthday Party and Sandra Boynton’s Birthday Monsters — I’m assuming you already have But Not the Hippopotamus and other books by her)
* Frederick by Leo Lionni
* Cinnamon Baby by Nicola Winstanley and Janice Nadeau (the power of baking consoles sad baby, mum is white and dad is Black)
* The Mysterious Tadpole and Ralph’s Secret Weapon and the Pinkerton books by Steven Kellogg (possibly out of print, ours are used copies)
* Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs by Mo Willems
* Cinder Edna by Ellen Jackson
Magical!! This is truly inspirational! Best gift you could ever give to your girls!
Can you please share the paint color for the closet?
Hi there! The color is Silent Film by Behr.
This room and the landing are THE BEST!
This is a true delight. I love every detail.
We had Trixie Beldon books when we were younger. There are vintage editions on eBay for not too much. We loved them!
This is a dream! How amazing 😍 and yes, please do a post on all the books you’ve got in there. I’ve got because I’m always looking for new series for my 8 & 9 year old xx
This is so sweet! Do you mind sharing the source for the leather kids’ chairs?
Source of chair?
This is my favorite room I have ever seen on the entire internet. Seriously, this amazing! I love that you included skylights so it’s this hidden room but still full of natural light.
I LOVE that you put coats in the wardrobe, too!
I was going to say the same thing. Best room ever.
This is amazing!
What an amazing place! Yes please do a post of the books you got, my oldest is 6, and always interested in books, we got some of your recommendations from a long time ago and we loved them ♥️
I am obsessed with the hidden library! Thank you for sharing! 🙂
This is soooo cool!
I want one!!!!
This turned out sooo great! Another fun idea would to have secret compartments behind the art- to add hinges and have a hidden compartment or dollhouse rooms in the hidden library 💕