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A Historic Home with a SECRET door!

Its very risky putting out an "OPEN HOUSE" sign if your property is in the trajectory of my walking route.

Jennifer Umbaugh can tell you.

It's how today, she ended up in the living room of her now-for-sale major restoration project, sitting across from me as I curled up on her staging furniture (make yourself at home they said!) telling her all my Babe Cave renovation war stories.

(Historic house tour + therapy hour - I win)

Lock your doors people. If you see that bright red pony tailed, Metallica lip-synching jogger coming...hide those Open House balloons.

I went right for the kitchen. Kitchens are one of the most expensive rooms to renovate and here you can usually take out your Glenda Wand and ask, "Are you a good rehabber or a bad rehabber?"

Everything about 15 South 4th Street is exceptional, kitchen included, but it was the built-in shelves that caught my eye.

Built-ins are common in historic homes because "once upon a time" homes weren't built in 3 months. Careful consideration and craftsmanship was paid to finer details like moldings, ornate staircases and yes, built-in bookcases and shelves nested INTO the walls.

On these storied shelves your family heirlooms and china would go. Today, it's where a flat screen TV and the self-help books you never read go.

It looks like a set of kitchen shelves. But what's that handle for?

The framing on Jennifer's built-in kitchen shelves looked like door framing though. "How cool! She converted an old doorway into shelves!" I thought.

But so, so, SO much cooler than that.

There was a shiny brass handle and a perfectly antiqued plate above it that read: "PULL."

Challenge accepted.

But I paused.

Not really sure it was supposed to be pulled. Not really ready for a Willy Wonka-esque magic door experience. Not sure I could cover the damages if this was decorative and I, oops, ripped it off the wall....

An inconspicuous Murphy Door handle

It took me a few tries the first time because of it's weight but then it started to move. The shelving turned in on itself to reveal a tucked away master suite behind it!

On the suite side of the secret door it looked just like any historic home door.

I opened and shut it several dozen times in wonder

(I can't believe they didn't ask me to leave).

I HAVE to have this in the next Babe Cave...

WOAH! The "shelves" open up to a hidden bedroom behind the Murphy Door.

While I will forever refer to it as The Secret Door, these are actually called Murphy Doors. Sort of like Murphy Beds.

A Murphy Door is novelty + functionality. They come in all sorts of varieties (single, bi-fold, different colors and woods, etc).

Some people install them for security reasons, other people to seclude a home office or, make the entrance to their Man or Babe Cave extra exclusive. Most of all it's because they are totally bad ass.

Murphy Doors can be custom made or built by the kit. Worth every penny!

Unless you have some serious carpentry skills, perhaps opt for the hardware kit. You can get one HERE.

If your idea of DIY is a Pinterest-level arts and crafts project, just hire someone. It won't be cheap but getting the door to close flush and installing the hinges to appropriately bear the weight and movement is serious biz-nuss.

Whoever buys this house is going to have major bragging rights and I truly hope it's someone who appreciates how masterfully Jennifer restored the structure AND how unique it's features are! This is a rare property where fancy details (like a secret door) are not there to mask a lack of major system renovation but rather frosting on the cake of a move-in ready historic estate.

Watch the video above to see the reveal and hit SUBSCRIBE on this blog and the YouTube channel to stay updated!

Keep up with Jennifer's restorations in Wilmington HERE.

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