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Secret Rooms: Hidden Hideaways Right Under Your… Stairs
nsibai

Hidden rooms and secret passageways are the stuff of legend. Only found in ancient castles and fantasy books, nobody actually has a hidden door in their house, right? Very wrong. There is now an entire industry devoted to providing the slickest, most beautiful and subtle hideaways for adults who still have the dreams, and now the cash, to make fantasy a reality.

 

(Images via adamsfinefurniture)

Hidden rooms used to be more like small crawlspaces, used to store illicit goods, or smuggle human cargo (for good or ill purposes), but there are no longer such limitations. While a hidden room the size of a large office might be obvious to the astute observer, let’s be honest, most people entering a house are not keeping track of dimensions.

(Images via sybaritescuriousphotoswoodweb)

Just like in the movies, these hidden doors can be opened by knocking on the wall in a certain spot, or pulling a lever cleverly disguised as a book. The only limitation is in your pocketbook, and your spouse’s patience.

(Images via hometone)

Some hidden doors are acts of interesting design more than subtlety. This designer door can easily rotate a hundred different ways, and would not be purchased by someone hoping to make their house appear like a Sherlock Holmes setting.

(Images via essentialgearguide, curiousphotos, slashgear)

One of the most famous secret doorways is the hinged bookcase designed to blend in perfectly with the rest of the library, or under the stairs. These doors are even able to hold the weight of a real set of books, minus the one that can be used to open it, of course.

(Images via curiousphotos, apartmenttherapy)

The second most famous hidden door comes straight out of the realm of fantasy; who could forget the famous dresser and passageway into the land of Narnia? Some parents have decided to make this dream a reality for their children by creating innovative doorways into secret play rooms.

 

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Picture of the day: 6 January 2011(Two golden-haired monkeys)
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Two golden-haired monkeys hug to keep warm at Shennongjia National Reserve, Hubei Province, China

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A red-eyed
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A red-eyed tree frog in Belize
Bipin Patel from Maidstone, Kent

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A long way down
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A long way down at Beachy Head
Ben Evans from London

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Subterranean History: Beautiful Abandoned NYC Subway Station
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As all urban exploration enthusiasts know, there are hidden wonders all around us – particularly in rich metropolitan landscapes like New York City. The City Hall subway stop is well-known to NYC history buffs, but until now it hasn’t been easy to catch a glimpse of this unique bit of New York. Recently, a change in Transit Authority rules have made it possible for anyone to see the long-abandoned station – as long as you don’t mind seeing it from a moving train.

 

The City Hall station was meant to be the crown jewel in the city’s new subway system. It was opened in 1904 as the southern terminal of the Manhattan Main Line (which is now part of the IRT Lexington Avenue Line). Located beneath the public area in front of City Hall, the station has always been considered the most beautiful in the city.

Using an unusually luxurious style of architecture along with colored glass tilework, beautiful skylights and dignified brass chandeliers, the station was undoubtedly unique. Although it was the focus of the subway system groundbreaking ceremony in 1904, City Hall station eventually fell into disuse.

By 1945, only around 600 people per day were being served by the elegantly appointed station. As the trains grew longer and added doors in the middle of the cars, the City Hall platforms were no longer suitable. There were now unsafe gaps between the train cars and the platform; in other stations, the platforms were rebuilt or extended, but this wasn’t an option in the tightly-curved City Hall station.

Rather than undertaking a very costly renovation of the station which was hardly used by the public, the city decided to close it down. The station’s last day of service was December 31, 1945. In the following decades, the station was still used as a loop station for the number 6 train, although passengers were forced to get off at the Brooklyn Bridge station just before the train passed through City Hall.

Recently, the MTA changed the rules to allow passengers to ride through the gorgeous City Hall station. Although the station is still closed to passengers, you can get a glimpse of the former glory of this interesting piece of New York history by sitting back and relaxing while the number 6 makes it loop.

(all images via: Huffington Post)

 

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Picture of the day: 5 January 2011 - Telegraph
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A female polar bear plays with a stick on the Brooks Range in Alaska. When photographer Steven Kazlowski saw a polar bear with a broken leg wandering through eastern Alaska last year he thought time was almost up for the animal. Returning a year later he was amazed to see the same polar bear looking well and with two cute furry twins...

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Frost-coated Stoke Woods
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Frost-coated Stoke Woods, on the outskirts of Exeter
Chris Parker from Exeter

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Elephants!
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Elephants enjoying a dip in northern Thailand

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Open and Shut: 38 Trend-bending Custom iPad Cases
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As Apple’s iPads have boomed in popularity, so has their been a wave of bland mass-produced accessories following in its wake. The artists out there have seen this ugly, cheap, material, and come to the decision that something had to be done. Customized iPad cases have grown in popularity, and iPad owners are earnestly expressing their personalities through their own creations. Viva la customization!

 

(Images via thisnext, hypebeast, geekosystem, etsy)

There’s something awesome about swaddling the most cutting edge touch tablet in an old fashioned wool blanket, or keeping it nice and cozy with wool flannel that looks like it came straight from the nearest log cabin. Not all wool iPad cases are boring, however, and some actually manage a really urban and classy look.

(Images via coolusbtoys, slashgear, technabob, coolest-gadgetsformzine)

Gamers love to do it themselves! They’ve turned away from their videogames just long enough to bring their favorite characters to life, with some of the coolest video game themed iPad cases around. Most of these fun cases hearken back to the old days of giant pixels and clunky consoles.

(Images via mahalo, ipadcaseden, gadgetsin, zazzle)

Who says nature and technology don’t mix? The organic appearance of a gorgeous wooden iPad case creates a fantastic contrast with the slick iPad. Add a nice nature scene as the background, and it’s a perfect match!

(Images via soloprice, dashprice)

It wouldn’t be surprising to see a Paul Frank line of cars come out at this point, considering how often the brand pops up in today’s culture. The classic monkeys have made a cameo in a simple line of iPad cases that will please any fan of Paul Frank’s fun line of clothing and accessories.

(Images via xoxobook, carolinapatchworks, gadgetsin, dorkadore, slipperybrick, gizmodiva)

Geeks don’t just sit around playing Dungeons and Dragons anymore – they’re now at the forefront of a wave of do-it-yourself personalization that’s storming the world. IPad’s no longer have to feel slick and modern, as there are plenty of ways to make one’s iPad indecipherable to any but the most diehard geeks.

(Images via ipadbags, ipadaccessoriesdeal, appleipadcover, freshbump, zedomax)

For those who want to accentuate the iPad’s modern sensibilities, there are plenty of cool urban cases that fit perfectly with today’s fashion conscious landscape.

(Images via ipadcaseblog, normzarr)

Intricate leatherworking is not something one would typically associate with an iPad case, but for some people it’s well worth the cost. These gorgeous works elevate the iPad into a functional piece of art.

(Images via geektyrant, intomobile, geeksugar, gearfuse)

Get creative! Some of the best iPad cases are simply examples of a late night idea turned into something workable. The classic Etch A Sketch is given new life in this ironic case, and the old manly mainstays of bacon and duct tape are given homages as well.

(Images via uberreview, list-five, list-fivezazzle)

If being on the cutting edge of the technological world doesn’t mesh with one’s style, there are plenty of options to turn this gadget into something a lot less intimidating. Making an iPad an old school notebook is a cool way to throw would be thieves off the trail, and keep one’s fashion nice and understated.

 

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Picture of the day: 4 January 2011
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Louise Bleakly snapped this obese orang-utan as it lazed by a tree after over-indulging. The sedentary creature soaked up the midday sun at Taman Safari Park near Jakarta, Indonesia.

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