A couple who discovered a secret room hidden behind a wall while they were decorating their dining room have turned it into a chic bar area – for just £45.
Sarah King, 32, and husband Toby, had decided to give their home in Brighton a fresh lick of paint when they noticed a faint outline of a doorway.
‘We knew there was a void there, from the plans,’ Sarah, who recently launched her own interior design business, said.
‘The other houses along the road have got a cupboard there (door in the exterior wall of the house into the small area in the outbuilding) but we had thought ours was completely bricked up.
Sarah and Toby King knew other houses on their street had a small cupboard in this area, but they thought theirs was totally bricked up – until they noticed a faint outline
How it looked before: the faint outline of the doorway which led the couple to discovering the little room, pictured here before the couple started working on the wall
Surprise! After chipping away at the wall, Sarah realised there was a small space, with just a pull-out shelf/desk, some knee pads and a car battery inside it
The pair decided to put the space to good use – by putting in a small bar area, which they managed to do on a minimum budget
Sarah, 32, and her partner Toby. The pair say once they saw the outline of the doorway, they simply ‘had to know’ what was behind
Sarah was furloughed at the time, giving her extra time to do DIY work at home, so she started chipping away at the wall while Toby was at work
‘We were prepping and sanding the walls of the dining room, ready to paint. We took off some lining paper and sanded, which revealed a very faint outline of a doorway.
‘Once we had seen the outline, we couldn’t not know.’
With Sarah still furloughed but Toby out at work as a technical support engineer, she had some free time on her hands to uncover the mystery.
She said: ‘He went to work one day and I started chipping away the surface just to see if there was any way of finding out what was there.
Sarah said she just chipped away a little bit, then text Toby who was at work, and who was happy for her to continue and discover more
They used a scraper to start removing paper from the wall, in a bid to discover what lay behind the mysterious outline
Sarah documented the process of removing the wallpaper and other surface materials, revealing the doorway
She said that as she uncovered the lintel, she realised that it was not resting on the breeze blocks that were blocking the door. They weren’t supporting anything above
She managed to chip through the wall and knew there was a room there, but held back until Toby came home to finish it off
The small room mid-way through the decorating process. The couple saved money by using up leftover paint they already had
They used marble-effect vinyl to create the bar itself. This was also leftover from another project – their breakfast bar
‘I just did a tiny bit then sent a photo to Toby – he was replying and happy for me to discover more.
‘As I uncovered the lintel, I realised that it was not resting on the breeze blocks that were blocking the door. They weren’t supporting anything above.
‘Throughout the process, I was sending updates to Toby, who was cheering me on and friends and family too, who were getting excited to see what I would find in there!’
She managed to chip through the wall and knew there was a room there, but held back until Toby came home to finish it off.
Sarah said: ‘I waited until Toby was home to make the final hit to smash down the breeze blocks – in case something was staring back at me!
While Sarah says the obvious choice would have been to use the small area as a cupboard, they decided on making a bar instead – a more original option
The couple placed mirrored tiles – which they bought from Amazon for £15 – on the back of the bar, behind the shelves
The bar shelves were then decked out with classic decor, like glasses and a bar sign – one of the room’s most expensive components, costing £20
‘It was a tiny room with just a pull-out shelf/desk, some knee pads and a car battery.
‘It had electricity to it and believe it or not, hardly any cobwebs and thankfully no spiders.’
Once they found the room, the couple decided it was the perfect space for a bar area, as it sits just off their dining room.
Sarah said: ‘The most obvious thing would have been a cupboard but we already had storage for everything… and well we like to do things a little differently!
Sarah said of the couple, ‘we like to do things a little differently’ – which inspired them to make the most of their bonus real estate find
She added that they felt the space – off the dining room and by the breakfast bar – was the ideal place to have a little bar and make the area more special when hosting guests
The bar may be small, but it is well-stocked with a range of drinks including classic vodka and rum among others
The savvy pair managed to pick up the glass shelving for free, from someone who was trying to get rid of it via Facebook Marketplace
The addition of accessories like mini disco balls and fairy lights bring a touch of pizzazz to the space – also making it appear bigger
‘It’s off the dining room and by the breakfast bar.
‘We felt it was the ideal place to have a little bar and make the area more special when hosting guests.’
Sarah and Toby managed to complete the mini-project for £45 by mainly using materials they already had.
£45 bar: The cost breakdown
Paint: Valspar at B&Q – they already had it
Marble effect vinyl wrap: from B&Q but they already had some leftover from their breakfast bar
Mirror tiles: Amazon £15
Door handles: Amazon £10
Bar sign: Drift Room £20
The pair had just started work on their dining room transformation and decided to use the same paint in the bar.
Sarah said: ‘The teal paint colour block round the dining room continues into the bar and all walls and ceiling we painted in the bar are this colour.
‘We made the cupboard from two that were either end under the breakfast bar before.
‘We cut back the breakfast bar which made the space more usable and created an entrance to the bar.
‘We hung the cupboards on the wall together in the bar, primed them and painted the same colour as the walls, then made a top from wood off cuts we had and wrapped with marble effect vinyl we had to make it look like a marble top.
‘We bought some new handles for the doors to finish off.
‘The mirrored back of the bar area were mirror stickers we bought as we wanted a mottled glass look.
‘The glass shelves we got free on Facebook Marketplace from someone ripping out an old bathroom.’
Now the work is finished, the couple are glad they investigated the secret space and are enjoying using their new bar.
Sarah added: ‘We love it! We are so pleased with it and we love the story behind it of uncovering the space.’