Colonel Mustard, in the library…

Today, I wanted to share one of my favorite design vocabulary words. Most people can immediately conjure up an image of this term instantly, even if they don’t know there is a proper name for it.

A jib door.

Can you picture it? No?

A jib door is any door that is designed to look like the wall it which it stands.

See if you can recognize this famous example:

Image courtesy of

Those big windows are actually jib doors that lead onto the balcony of the White House. Here’s a view with the doors open:

Image courtesy of

Can you see how the doors are part wall and part window? The White House balcony was only added during the Truman administration, so the architects had to figure out how to put in doors where there were already (famous, historic) windows in place. Their clever solution? Well, you see it from the exterior in the news almost every day, don’t you?

Are you a great mystery fan?  How about this type of jib door?

Image courtesy of

When I was a little girl in England, one of my friends lived in a very grand old house that had a huge jib door built into the enormous bookcases in the formal living room. The door only led to a large walk-in closet under the stairs, which her parents used as a bar. However, that didn’t stop me from wishing, every time we opened it, that Hercule Poirot would be standing on the other side. I would have even settled for Colonel Mustard, maliciously waving around a candlestick.

Some jib doors really are almost indistinguishable. Can you see the jib door in this room?

Image courtesy of

(I’ll give you a hint: look on the wall left of the bed.)

This was Marie Antoinette’s bedroom at the Palace of Versailles. She had two of these doors in this, her “public” bedroom, leading to her “private” bedroom and “study”. Zut alors!

I’ll leave you today with quite possibly the most popular jib door in all of literary and film history.

Image courtesy of

I do hope you’ve remembered the password.

Now daydream with me: If you could put a jib door your home, how would you use it? Leave a comment and let me know…

Posted on May 10, 2011, in Design Vocabulary. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I’m going to teach my kids a new Hogwart’s vocabulary word today and show them what a jib door is.

  2. I love your blog! I’ve never seen the White House balcony door open like that. I’ve always wanted a secret passage in my house, too.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: