Homes with hidden rooms and passageways

  • Photo courtesy of Zillow

    Bookcases, stone walls and wooden floorboards aren't always what they seem. Sometimes, they contain secrets.

    All over the world, homeowners with a sense of humor (or a fine-tuned appreciation for spy movies) are working with designers and contractors to create secret spaces, invisible to the naked eye. Most require people to know about a hidden lever or a special code to get inside: Think the candlestick scene in "Young Frankenstein" or the passage to the Addams Family vault, controlled by pulling a secret book.

    Some secret areas in homes feature pretty advanced technology, like a hidden home movie theater with a door that seamlessly blends into the surrounding stone walls and is opened by pushing three stones in sequence. Others are simpler: In one Los Angeles abode, adding two tiny doors to a hollowed-out area under the stairs transformed the otherwise useless square footage into a picture-perfect playroom.

    Some hidden nooks and crannies are new, like a sleek, spiral-shaped wine cellar located under a trap door in one London kitchen that can hold up to 1,450 bottles. Others are features of very old buildings that were recently preserved. One 19th century home (which used to be a mill) in New York's Catskill Mountains features a trap door in the living area, complete with an old-timey pulley system to help it open and close.

    Here are 10 homes with quirky secret features that are worth a second look.

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    Ilyce R. Glink is an award-winning, nationally-syndicated columnist, best-selling book author and founder of Best Money Moves, an employee benefit program that helps reduce financial stress. She also owns, where readers can find real estate and personal finance resources.