A Hidden Hobby Room for $2,534
A wall of bifold doors, a faux-mahogany finish, and clever hinge-concealing trim turned empty space into an amateur musician's favorite jam spot
Compromise can be the mother of invention—just ask Buddy and Cindee Howell. The issue? Buddy's music hobby meant lots of equipment that didn't fit in with their Houston home's traditional decor—least of all behind the French doors to their home office, which is off the front entry. The solution: Build out a 3-foot-deep enclosure to stow a piano, prized guitars, and recording equipment behind an 11-foot-wide wall of bifold doors that hides it all.
When four cabinetmakers refused to take on the complicated project, Cindee encouraged Buddy to tap into his other hobby—woodworking—and do it himself.
The Howells' home office had lots of space but no place to hide equipment.
First Buddy hung shelves on the existing drywall to hold his equipment, then coped a frame around the room's moldings. To make the panels in the 9-foot-high wall light enough to move, he used four hollow-core doors that he jury-rigged to open as bifolds. He covered the wall frame with veneer and added trim and moldings to the frame and doors, and finished by faux-painting everything to match the room's hardwood floors. "I love that my instruments are easy to get to but if the doorbell rings I can close it all out of sight,' says Buddy.
The wall of doors was made by jury-rigging two standard 60-inch tracks for the bifold doors instead of purchasing one long (and expensive) track.
Door casings attached to only one half of each bifold door create the look of paneled walls (and cover seams) when they are closed. Even at a lightweight 37 pounds apiece, the four hollow-core doors required heavy-duty bifold hardware.
Routed arches echo the doors' raised panels and hide the hardware that holds the hollow-core doors in place.
Pegboard keeps prized guitars on display and at hand, while custom shelves (not seen here) keep wires and headphones neatly corralled.
"For the veneers and trim, I milled and faux-painted cabinet-grade poplar plywood at half the cost of mahogany." —Buddy Howell, Houston
The wood-grain look was created by feathering glazes with the cheapest, coarsest brush to be found.
Built a wall frame and shelves out of plywood lumber, $300
Hung four 8-foot-tall hollow-core doors, using heavy-duty hardware and hinges, $725
Added off-the-shelf poplar veneer, dentil trim, and moldings for a custom look, $700
Rented nail guns and an air compressor, $157
Installed pegboard, hangers, and two fluorescent-light kits to organize and illuminate the space, $333
Faux-painted the doors to match the hardwood floors, $194
Glued sound-dampening foam onto the walls inside, $125