In last week's post "Fun with Books", I showed a few examples of book-themed treatments of jib doors. A reader suggested that I devote a post to the subject of these doors, which seem to be more prevalent in Europe than they are here in the States (although there are jib doors in the Oval Office).
For those of you who may not be familiar with them, jib doors are basically disguised or concealed doors. The doors tend to be flush with the walls around them and lack any surrounding architecture, thereby creating a continuous plane. Many times the doors even have concealed hinges to further add to the disguise. Jib doors are usually given the same treatment as the rest of the walls in a room- paper, fabric, mirror, etc.
John Fowler was a designer who incorporated jib doors into many of his projects. In one of the images below, you will see that Fowler papered both the walls and the jib door with a Chinoiserie paper. But Fowler could also be quite inventive with his treatment of concealed doors. In David and Evangeline Bruce's Albany set, Fowler gave the jib door the same molding as the rest of the wall but added a trompe l'oeil painting to both the door and the wall. When one opened the jib door, the painting was revealed to be faux.
Even if you have never heard of the term "jib door", I'm sure you've seen them before. In fact, I think one of the most famous photos of a jib door has to be that above of Pauline de Rothschild opening the door in her Paris bedroom. And with beautiful wallpaper like that, who would want to mess it up with a clunky door!
This jib door at Colefax & Fowler in Mayair was cut into a large painted panel- the door became part of the artwork, so to speak.
The Bruce's dining room with the trompe l'oeil painting on the jib door.
A classic treatment of jib doors- papering both the walls and the door (located to the right of the bed). Design by John Fowler (Sudeley Castle.)
David Hicks was also a fan of jib doors. Here, he papered both the walls and the door with a marblelized paper. However, he also added a little lit vitrine that, according to Hicks' son, moved with the door. Now that's clever!
I once saw an interview with Albert Hadley in which, if I remember correctly, he discussed the concealed door in his gorgeous red hallway that led to his powder room (I believe he said that his guests usually had trouble finding the powder room!). I couldn't find any images of this, but did find a jib closet door in Hadley's guest room. Look closely- it's on the left-hand side of the room.
Jib doors in the Oval Office- a rather blah treatment of the concealed doors during Eisenhower's administration.