This not-so-secret door is one way to deal with a lot that borders directly on a public sidewalk – while not concealed per se, it does blend beautifully into the background, while the rest of the brick wall provides privacy.

Designed by architect Jack Woolley (photos by  David Grandorge), this home-and-office complex is half-buried below grade, with work and meeting spaces on the main floor and living quarters under them.

But there is another layer of surprises inside: the existing carpenter’s workshop provided raw materials during the remodel – specifically, beautifully aged wood – that now serves to contrast with new white surfaces.