Wood Stairs » Design Concepts » Secret Compartment within a Box Newel Post
Secret compartments within a newel post is not a new concept. Stashing valuables in stair posts has been done for centuries. Newel posts are the large supporting posts that occur intermittently or at corners or ends of a balustrade to which the handrail is attached. They provide the greatest structural support of the balustrade. Over the centuries a wide variety of styles and designs have occurred and continue to reoccur. There are basically two categories of wood newel posts, turned newel posts and box newel posts. Within these categories, there are virtually unlimited design possibilities. Today I’d like to discuss box newel posts and a particular new feature that woodstairs.com has recently revived.
Box newel posts are squared, hollow newel posts that are typically larger than the turned alternative. There is an infinite number of sizes and shapes based on this squared style, and they incorporate a huge variety of details to create unique designs. Some of these features include inlays, mouldings, panels, plant-ons, rosettes, finials and other accessories. There is one feature of most box newels that is almost always unappreciated, the hollow void within the post. It is this compartment that we at woodstairs.com have begun to take advantage of for our customers.
It is rumored that in historical times a copy of the house plans were rolled up and placed in a newel post upon completion, thereby sealed within the secret compartment within the box newel post. Box Post with Hidden Compartments have also been used as a sort of time capsule with some relevant articles sealed inside. Also, occasionally secret compartments were created, into which items could basically be hidden in plain sight. The top cap became a lid and the items were immediately accessible to those who knew the secret. It is this feature which woodstairs.com has revived.
Just recently we have begun to offer the Hidden Box option for many of our Box Newel Post designs. In addition, we offer a second hidden compartment under the first. In this configuration, the post cap removes to reveal the hidden compartment which is a small box that can then be lifted out to reveal a false bottom. Many of our customers have selected one Hidden Box Post in a series of Newel posts. I myself have three box newels, one of which has the double Hidden Boxes. This is near my front door, where I drop my wallet and keys when I’m home from grueling day at woodstairs.com, 🙂 underneath in the Secret, secret compartment are items of greater value.
The advantages of a permanently hidden box are obvious, but I will describe them anyway, from my personal experience. First, it is my habit to drop my keys and wallet inside when I arrive home and therefore I don’t misplace them anymore (at least at home). The secret compartment eliminates the clutter of these small items around the house. Finally, these items are hidden “in plain sight” which opens up a wide range of uses in itself.
So far the response has been terrific with over half of our customers who select box newels selecting one of the Hidden Box options. We are excited about this feature and are continuously adapting it with new ideas and custom requests. While we have begun to offer this feature on our products, we are currently updating our website to reflect this option with the required drop down boxes, images, descriptions, etc. We’ve engineered this feature to be as reasonably priced as possible, considering the components involved and the advantages it adds to your home and balustrade. A single secret compartment is about $50 per newel while the Double Secret Compartment option adds about $75.