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Friday, September 12, 2008

Build Your Own Bat Cave With Secret Room Camouflage w/Video

From rotating bookshelves installed in an hour to more elaborate escape slides, homeowners are taking advantage of high-tech opportunities to hide doors leading to private spaces.

If you’re in the market for a Batcave—or just a place to hide your stamp collection—then Steve Humble of Creative Home Engineering should be your next call. The mechanical engineer turned secret-passageway builder started his Phoenix-based company when he couldn’t find anyone to build a hidden room for his home. “I thought that there would be a lot of people who would want a secret passageway in their house,” he says. “So I took a gamble, quit my job and started making them.” 

Six years later, Humble is hiding existing rooms for an international roster of clients. “I just finished seven doors in a $50 million house for a Hollywood celebrity,” Humble says. “A bunch of the doors were bulletproof.”

Most of his clients hide a room with a single-width bookcase that they can install themselves in under an hour. Others opt for more elaborate packages, ranging from escape slides tucked beneath the seats of chairs to a series of hidden doors, that Humble installs in person. Door-opening mechanisms can be almost anything—a chess set, a Lysol can or a flip-up Shakespeare bust equipped with a fingerprint reader. Home­owners typically spend about $10,000 on the secret-room setup, but Creative Home Engineering offers rotating fireplaces that cost about $35,000.

Humble has no desire to know what motivates his company’s secretive clients. “I don’t even know where a lot of the doors go,” he says. “I just ask the size of the doorway—I don’t need to know what they’re hiding.”