The Secret Room

Minneapolis, Lake of the Isles

The Team

Remodeler: Vujovich Design Build, Minneapolis,
Interior designer: DesignWorks MN Inc., Minnetrista, Minn.,

The Idea

Dan Buettner, world traveler and author of The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who’ve Lived the Longest, challenged various designers to create rooms in his turn-of-the-century home based on principles from his book. The completed home, which is on Minneapolis’ Lake of the Isles, was a 2010 Minnesota ASID Showcase House.

Buettner’s book’s sixth principle, “Down Shift: Take Time to Relieve Stress,” inspired designer Gloria Stafford to create Buettner’s 15-year-old daughter’s room and the adjacent space known as The Secret Room, which allows the teen to pursue her creativity. Stafford incorporated splashes of pop art and used dry-erase paint to finish the upper walls, allowing the teen to draw, make notes and keep her schedule on the walls. “The paint was a perfect solution because it was a space for a teenage girl who happens to like to draw, and the room has a number of angles and planes,” Stafford explains. Dry-erase paints finally make it OK for kids to doodle and draw on their walls.

The Materials

Stafford specified tabrasa by Idea Paint ( for The Secret Room’s upper walls. The product can create a writing surface in one coat and can be painted over like any other paint product. The product, which is available in five colors, is certified by GREENGUARD for low-emitting materials.

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