When Sarah Goer and her husband discovered a disused storage space attached to their son's room, they decided to convert it into a Secret Treasure Room. For years, they concealed the room's entrance with a dresser, waiting for the perfect moment – their son's fourth birthday – to reveal its existence. Here, Sarah describes how the Secret Treasure Room came to be.
When we bought our house two years ago The Boy was not quite 2 years old. The room that was to be his had a storage room attached to it. Our roof pitch is really steep next to his room, so it forms a triangular room 7 feet by 12 feet. The door is about 2 feet by 4 feet.
The storage room, aka "The Secret Room" had an old linoleum floor, a light with a switch, some wood paneling and some exposed insulation. At the time it was certainly not fit for the kids to use. And we didn't figure a 2-year-old needed an extra room, but we agreed it would make an awesome surprise for The Boy at some point. So the dresser was parked in front of the door and The Boy had no idea for over two years! Here's a peek at the before:
Above: On the left, the "ceiling" of the unfinished Secret Treasure Room; at right; a lengthwise view of the space, with exposed insulation
Sometime after his 3rd birthday we decided that The Secret Room would be his 4th birthday present. This meant getting it fixed up. We had our contractor, Steve, come work on it only during the hours that The Boy was at school. And I started talking excitedly about the project to friends and family. A lot of people were in on the secret. (Luckily, we never blew it before the big reveal on his birthday last month.) Steve ripped out the linoleum and wood paneling, then installed new drywall, wood laminate flooring, base molding and put on a fresh coat of paint. I decided to have him paint an accent wall, using a darker shade of the paint in The Boy's bedroom. Steve also installed a proper light fixture.
Then I got to work on decorating the space. Most of it was from Ikea or found around the house. I got a white Kritter table and two chairs to provide space for drawing, writing and small craft projects. I added a Bekvam spice rack, also from Ikea, on the wall to hold writing and drawing supplies, including note cards and stickers. The pencil holders on the table are two plant pots from Ikea, the same kind I use at the kids art table downstairs. I snagged the name banner that The Boy made at school to add to the wall.
I added the world map to the accent wall. The Boy has the US map from the Costco set in his bedroom, but I hadn't found an appropriate wall space to put up the world map anywhere yet. Similarly, I didn't have a great place for where to store dress-up clothes, so I knew I wanted to put them in The Secret Room as well. We have friends who use this Ikea box for dress-up and it was just the size to fit by the door. I added a rug from Ikea to the middle of the room and relocated a floor pillow and quilt from elsewhere in the house to provide a comfy reading area. (We've since added a backrest pillow as well.)
It was a hit! There was a treasure hunt around the house with clues on The Boy's birthday morning for him to find his gift. His last clue was to push on the dresser to slide it over. He needed a bit of help since it was "really, really hard." Then he could see the door. "What do you see?" I asked. "That door there," he declared.
Me: "What do you think we should do?"
The Boy: "I think we should peek inside it."
Me: "What do you think is in there?"
The Boy: "Some treasure is in there." He walked in wide eyed and asked, "where is my birthday present?"
Me: "You are in your birthday present."
The Boy: "What is it?"
Me: "It is a whole room."
"A treasure room!" As he took it in he got very excited and declared that he would show it to everyone.
I gave him the tour of the room. "Oh, this is pretty cool, mother."
Then it really sank in. "A secret treasure room! I like this room so much," he jumped up and down. "Thank you father and mother."
Here he is enjoying his birthday bedtime story with dad in the secret treasure room.
This post by Sarah Goer has been republished with her permission. It originally appeared at her blog, Things I Make, where she writes:
I'm here to inspire others in their creative endeavors. I think hobbies fall into 3 categories: doing, making and collecting. I'm a maker. I sew, quilt, scrapbook, and I've recently started decorating cookies. (Even more recently I've started to dabble in computer coding.) Basically if it involves colors and shapes (and/or math), it might be a hobby for me! In the past I've knit, crocheted, done book binding and paper marbling… the list goes on.