House Update #14: Secret Bookcase!

Last Friday, before the Coronavirus issued social distancing, a couple of people had come over to our house to take a look at the progress since I had recently shared about what was going on with the renovation since the fire. Ironically both of them have very significant ties to my house!

Secret Bookcase in Victorian Home

Visitor #1

The first visitor was Lee Gentine with Mootown Properties. We met Lee shortly after we moved in. My hubby and I were outside raking a years worth of leaves (no joke) when a truck pulled up and the man came over asking how we were liking the house. Long story short, it was Lee and he had renovated our home prior to the people we bought from bought it! I admit I was a little star struck because Lee is the son of the Sargento cheese owner!

While Lee and I were walking through the library he said that he thought he recalled the smaller bookcase being able to open. I told him that we had wondered about that because when we had flown up for the home inspection in December 2018 my hubby found a piano hinge on the side of the bookcase.

Secret Bookcase in Victorian Home

Visitor #2

The second visitor was my neighbor and also the sister of the gentleman who renovated my house in the 1980s! …and the aunt to our kid’s principal! Such a small world! I love having so many people know about our house because it helps me piece together it’s history!

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That night, Lee texted me after talking with one of the other guys who helped him renovate our house and he confirmed that it did open when they renovated it.

Saturday Clayton and I went to the house to see what we could figure out, using a hammer and scraper to pry off the wood trim along the bookcase. A piece had been added along the bottom front of the bookcase and nails placed in the trim on the right hand side.

Secret Bookcase in Victorian Home
Secret Bookcase in Victorian Home
Secret Bookcase in Victorian Home

By this point I was squealing with excitement!

Secret Bookcase in Victorian Home

Of course I had to have some fun! I mean, what kid didn’t dream of having one of these in their house growing up?!? P.S. The Secret Garden was one of my favorite movies as a kid…and while this is a bit different, it’s kind of similar in a way! 🙂

Secret Bookcase in Victorian Home

I talked to my neighbor (visitor #2) and she said that her brother loved secret bookcases and doors, so she wasn’t surprised if he added it or refinished it when he lived here.

Where Does This Bookcase Lead?

After sharing our super fun find on Facebook, I’ve gotten a lot of questions asking where it leads. Because I’m a photo person, I’ll explain it with photos!…these photos are mixed. Some are from prior to us moving in and some are from post demo.

Inside the library, there is a full sized door that leads to a closet that is a closet under our staircase. It’s actually the same closet (“room”) that the secret bookcase leads to. I’m not sure if this doorway is original or if it was added at some point. Maybe one day I’ll figure it out!

Secret Bookcase in Victorian Home
Secret Bookcase in Victorian Home
Secret Bookcase in Victorian Home

Before The Fire

Secret Bookcase in Victorian Home
Secret Bookcase in Victorian Home

This picture below is actually the back side of the bookcase.

Secret Bookcase in Victorian Home

After Demo

Secret Bookcase in Victorian Home
Secret Bookcase in Victorian Home
Secret Bookcase in Victorian Home

This is the view when the secret bookcase is opened.

Secret Bookcase in Victorian Home

When my hubby and I flew up to the house 3 weeks after buying it (we waited over 3 months to move up from North Carolina after owning it), I found a key hanging on a nail under these stairs! I still have no idea what it goes to, but nonetheless, it was a fun find and hopefully one day I’ll figure out what it goes to!

This is also the room where I found the signatures under the staircase once the bead board was removed. Thanks to my Facebook fans who figured out what it says!

Secret Bookcase in Victorian Home

I love this house! Like so so so much! I feel like we put in so much work and gained so much experience in our past 3 houses so I could be rewarded with exactly the type of house I’ve always dreamed of owning! House #4 for the win! 🙂

Thanks for following along!

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is fire-updates-800x160.jpg

Fire Updates:

Update #1: House Fire, Struck by Lightning

Update #2:  Update

Update #3: Frustration

Update #4: The Beginning of Demo & A Few Hidden Surprises

Update #5: Demo of the Downstairs

Update #6: 

Update #7: Silver Spoon

Update #8: Trick-Or-Treat; Victorian Style

Update #9: New Joists

Update #10: Roof

Update #11: Roof Demo

Update #12: Roof Demo & Rebuild

Update #13: Beginning of Rebuild

Update #14: Secret Bookcase!

Update #15: We Have Roof Shingles!

Update #16: Heart Hunters & Easter

Update #17: Butler’s Door

Update #18Hometalk Segment & Video Walk-Through

Update #19: Beginning of Electrical, Plumbing and HVAC

Update #20: Garden & Bunnies

Update #21: Choosing An Exterior House Color

Update #22: Treasures Hidden In The Ceiling

Update #23: Insulation


  1. I found your blog today when looking for other “kitchen” blogs. What a fun read about the secret bookcase!! I’m so intrigued and can’t wait to visit your blog again to read more.

  2. Loved reading about your old house finds! While my house is not as old, 112 years, I have discovered many “forgotten treasures” in the 39 years we’ve lived here. We are the 3rd owners. Original owners manufactured and sold a patent medicine from an office built and added to the house in the 1920’s.
    The walls of the house talk too! After stripping up to 8 layers of wallpaper from some rooms, we learned that an entire area of the house on the west side which has a sitting room and bedroom was added, the kitchen was likely added or expanded in the ‘20’s, with the sales office added later in the late er 20-30’s.
    It’s just been more fun to do our architectural digs around the house finding old bottles of product neede for the manufacture of the “Gaul Solve” sold here. There were silver spoons (6) found in rafters of the basement where a clothes line for winter drying was hung, perfume bottles lid to an old coffee pot that was enamel coated, and even a paper pickle ad from Heinz, fluttering out from behind interior closet molding.
    So much more has been discovered but while it’s work, it has been a real joy discovering the untold history of this old farmhouse! Continue your hunt and enjoy the ride!

    1. Wow! What fun discoveries you have found!! It certainly is a wild ride…but we’re having fun with the adventure (on most days, lol!)

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