The Interior Design Move That Adds Major Mystery To A Home
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The Interior Design Move That Adds Major Mystery To A Home

Doors that blend with the wall around them, what design pros call jib doors, offer aesthetic, practical and straight-out-of-Nancy-Drew benefits.

By ALICE WELSH DOYLE
Mon, May 16, 2022 10:57amGrey Clock 3 min

A JIB DOOR, that is, one sans visible jambs and camouflaged with the same decoration that surrounds it, disappears into the wall. Cue the pivoting shelves that open at the sound of a pattern of notes on Bruce Wayne’s piano in “Batman Begins” or Harry Potter’s sad closet-room concealed behind panelling under the dreadful Dursley’s stairs, virtually unnoticeable but for the slide-bolt latch.

Beyond their inherent mystery, however, jib doors appeal to interior designers for various reasons. “Secret doors are super chic and surprising but also practical,” said Charlotte Barnes, a Greenwich, Conn., pro who simplified the architecture of a family room by continuing the paisley-patterned wallcovering across two flush doors. These nearly invisible doors are ideal for establishing symmetry, for example, in an oddly apertured room, she said, “or to play down a hallway full of closets, so your eye flows along without interruption.” Jib doors have other advantages but also some challenges. Here, a guide.

The Appeal

“I love the history, novelty and secrecy of jib doors and the way they trick the eye,’’ said Mallory Mathison, an interior designer in Atlanta. Perhaps the most famous examples stateside are found in the White House Oval Office, where damask wallpaper (this administration’s choice) and panelled wainscoting continue nearly seamlessly across two doors that frame a fireplace. In grand 18th- and 19th-century estates, jib doors let servants enter and leave public rooms without, heaven forbid, the risk of sharing a doorway or stairwell with superiors. Far more dramatic: On the night that rioters stormed Versailles, in 1789, Marie Antoinette fled to a secret stairway to the King’s chambers via the jib door in her bedroom suite.

Their trompe l’oeil character means a functional door can exist without visually interrupting an expanse, noted Jacksonville, Fla., designer Andrew Howard, who hid a powder-room door among white stile-and-rail panels (shown at right) for a home in Ponte Vedra, Fla. When the door is open, a view of blue-and-white lattice wallpaper and azure wainscoting provides a vibrant contrast—an “aha” moment. Bonus: Any room that’s not chopped up by multiple doorways will seem larger.

The Tips

Grubby hands can easily stain a touch-latch door, warns Ms. Mathison. If the surface is glossy and easy to clean, no problem, but if wallpaper covers the surface at “push” level, she recommends adding an inconspicuous recessed ring pull. That said, she’d reserve jib doors for little-used portals. In an Atlanta home, she installed one as a discreet passage from a butler’s pantry to a formal dining room that sees little wear and tear, concealing the door’s existence by extending hand-painted Gracie wallpaper and panelling across it. On the pantry side, the designer hung a painting to further pass the door off as a wall. If you’re not sure you’d want to constantly give guests directions to a concealed powder room, Mr. Howard—who’s seen library bookcase walls that conceal safes and gun closets—counters, “When clients are entertaining a crowd, [they] simply leave the door ajar.”

The Caveats

Find a carpenter with experience installing these odd elements. “A jib door takes expert skills because of the way the soss or other specialized hinges are installed to make them invisible,” said Mr. Howard. Another of his cautions: When hardware is embedded in the door and humidity causes woodwork to contract and expand, the door might stick or bulge out slightly. And installation isn’t cheap. Budget at least $2,000, he says, to retrofit an existing door and more for the hinges and latch hardware. While your concealing elements—wainscoting, baseboard moulding, wallpaper—can also add to the expense, don’t discount the romance factor. “I do think a jib door conjures images of speakeasies and private gossip spaces—a sense of mystery and discovery outside of the everyday,” said Ms. Mathison.



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We reveal the No. 1 areas for price growth in each capital city

By Bronwyn Allen
Thu, Jul 18, 2024 3 min

Home values across Australia rose by a median 8 percent in FY24, delivering the equivalent of $59,000 in new capital growth to the two-thirds of the population that owns a home, according to CoreLogic data. Investors received total returns of 12.2 percent over the year, including capital gains and gross rental income.

Very tight supply and demand in most capital cities except Melbourne and Hobart was a significant driver of the capital growth, with the smaller and more affordable capital cities of Perth, Brisbane and Adelaide experiencing the most price appreciation over the year. A lack of properties for sale trumped the usual dampening effect of higher interest rates.

As usual, some areas outperformed their city’s median growth benchmark. Here are the top SA3 areas for capital growth in each capital city of Australia in FY24. SA3 areas are large suburbs, or districts incorporating clusters of suburbs, with more than 20,000 residents.

 

Sydney

Home values across Sydney rose by a median 6.3 percent in FY24. The No. 1 area for growth was Mount Druitt. Its median value rose by 13.96 percent to $859,939. Mount Druitt is located 33km west of the CBD. It incorporates the suburbs of Mount Druitt, Ropes Crossing, Whalan and Minchinbury. The Mount Druitt community is very multicultural with almost one in two residents born overseas. It is home to many young families, with the median age of residents being 33 compared to the NSW median of 39.

 

Melbourne

Home values across Melbourne rose by a median 1.3 percent in FY24. The top area for capital growth was Moreland-North with 4.71 percent growth. This took the district’s median home value to $746,488. Moreland-North includes the suburbs of Hadfield, Pascoe Vale and Glenroy. It’s a multicultural community with a particularly large contingent of residents with Italian ancestry. One or both parents of 66 percent of residents were born overseas, according to the 2021 Census.

 

Brisbane

Home values across Brisbane rose by a median 15.8 percent in FY24. The No. 1 area for growth was Springwood-Kingston in Logan City. Its median value swelled by 25.55 percent to $710,569. Springwood-Kingston is approximately 22km south of Brisbane CBD. It incorporates the suburbs of Springwood, Kingston, Rochedale South and Slacks Creek. It is a multicultural community with one or both parents of 55 percent of the residents born overseas, according to the 2021 Census. More than 15 percent of residents have Irish or Scottish ancestry.

 

Adelaide

Home values across Adelaide rose by a median 15.4 percent in FY24. The best area for capital growth was Playford in Playford City. Its median value soared by 19.94 percent to $530,991. Playford is approximately 40km north of Adelaide. It incorporates the suburbs of Elizabeth Downs, Elizabeth Grove, Angle Vale and Virginia. It is home to many young people under the age of 40. The median age of residents is 33 compared to the state median of 41.

 

Perth 

Home values across Perth rose by a median 23.6 percent in FY24. The No. 1 area for growth was Kwinana in Kwinana City. Its median value skyrocketed by 33.19 percent to $618,925. Kwinana is approximately 37km south of Perth CBD. It includes the suburbs of Leda, Medina, Casuarina and Mandogalup. Henderson Naval Base is located here and there is a significant community of servicemen and ex-servicemen living in the area. It is home to many young families, with the median age of residents being 33 compared to the state median of 38.

 

Canberra

Home values across the nation’s capital rose by a median 2.2 percent in FY24. The best area for capital growth was Weston Creek. Its median value rose by 5.24 percent to $937,740. Weston Creek is approximately 13km south-west of the CBD. It includes the suburbs of Weston Creek, Holder, Duffy, Fisher and Chapman. Approximately 43 percent of residents have a bachelor’s degree, which is on par with the ACT median but much higher than the national median of 26 percent. Household incomes are about 35 percent higher than the national median. Almost one in five residents work in government administration jobs.

 

Hobart

Home values across Hobart fell 0.1 percent in FY24. The top performing area for capital gains was Sorell-Dodges Ferry with 2.78 percent growth. This took the area’s median home value to $615,973. Sorell-Dodges Ferry is approximately 25km north-west of Hobart. It incorporates the suburbs of Richmond, Sorell, Dodges Ferry, Carlton and Primrose Sands. The area has a large community of baby boomers and retirees, with the median age of residents being 43 compared to the Australian median of 38.

 

Darwin

Home values across Darwin rose by a median 2.4 percent in FY24. The No. 1 area for growth was Litchfield. Its median value moved 3.21 higher to $672,003. Litchfield is about 37km south-east of Darwin and includes the suburbs of Humpty Doo, Acacia Hills and Southport.  It has a high proportion of middle-aged residents, with the median age being 39 compared to the territory median of 33. About 12 percent of residents are Indigenous Australians. The biggest industries are government administration and defence. Median household incomes are about 35 percent higher than the national median.

 

MOST POPULAR
11 ACRES ROAD, KELLYVILLE, NSW

This stylish family home combines a classic palette and finishes with a flexible floorplan

35 North Street Windsor

Just 55 minutes from Sydney, make this your creative getaway located in the majestic Hawkesbury region.

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