Serena Williams reveals a mysterious secret passage behind her living room bookcase – but where does it lead?

 Serena Williams
Serena Williams

Serena Williams' northern Miami home is as chic as it is playful. Primarily designed by V Starr – her sister Venus' bespoke design firm – the residence is pleasingly contemporary. However, it is also full of fun surprises, and the latest to be revealed is a secret door, hidden behind a bookcase.

'Reading is more fun when your bookshelf is a secret door,' Serena says in the Instagram posts that shows the door. 'It's not a secret that I love our V Starr and Hakwood flooring that adds the perfect amount of warmth.'

What does remain secret, however, is what's behind the bookcase. A panic room is most likely in modern America, yet we doubt Serena would be giving that away on Insta? A speakeasy, perhaps? More fun, but equally unlikely. A passageway to a tennis court?

Whatever – we love that Serena's indulged in a design feature that's been around since the time of the Pharaohs, and expect nothing less from the tennis star's fun take on home design. Last week, we featured Serena's really unusual kitchen island (which nearly broke the internet), and her daughter’s bedroom comes complete with a built-in slide (yes, really).

This vibrant Floridan home is, as a whole, a playful yet sophisticated sanctuary – and there are elements of Serena's shelving that can be replicated. Most notably, the dark timber – is right on trend, according to design experts.

'After many years of lighter-colored, Scandinavian-inspired woods dominating home trends, darker, more traditional woods – like teak, walnut, and mahogany – have fallen back in favor,' says Etsy’s Trend Expert Dayna Isom Johnson.

The interior design expert explains that Etsy has observed a 37 percent increase in searches for walnut desks and accessories and a 28 percent increase in searches for brown seating or furniture.

'Meanwhile, we’ve observed a 24% decrease in searches for Scandinavian decor, a 14% decrease in searches for raw or light wood, and a 29% decrease in searches for beige decor on Etsy (so long, "sad beige"), indicating these styles might be on the way out,' Dayna says.

'Darker woods create a sense of warmth and coziness in a space while also providing a touch of character and sophistication to a room. Another reason why darker woods are popular? Their timeless quality. Just ask our 2023 Collections Curator, Martha Stewart, who recently shared that "brown furniture is alive and well" and that "what's old is new again".'

And, for more Serena Williams inspiration, we can't help but look to her biography. It would look perfect on a dark wooden bookcase, after all.

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