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2020 has been a unique year, to say the least. Many people find themselves staying at home more than they ever thought they would. For some, it’s a matter of binge-watching Netflix or seeing how much nothing they can do.

One father named Dylan decided to take things in another direction. He got busy during the lockdown and built Ella, his daughter, a secret replica of Harry Potter’s Diagon Alley behind her closet.

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Finding a secret street in a wardrobe durning lockdown!

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It took a number of months before he was able to create this interesting imaginary world. He didn’t tell Ella he was doing it, and he even allowed her to find it on her own. I couldn’t imagine how exciting it would be to find a Harry Potter world behind your closet. That is especially true when you consider yourself to be the biggest Harry Potter fan in the world.

Dylan talked to Bored Panda about the project.. “I used mainly wood and MDF,” said the London-based dad, “but also I found wallpaper, for example, with books printed on it which really helped make it look good but take less time.”

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Building one of the shops, lots of late nights and early mornings!!

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He needed it to be completed for Ella’s birthday at the end of September. He knew that she was homeschooling so he wanted to do something special for her.

One day at lunchtime, he was standing in her room wondering how he could improve it when inspiration struck. He thought he was looking at more than a room, it was a miniature street. They live in an old Victorian terrace house, so his imagination took over.

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Thank you all for asking for more! Here are a few photos of inside Ollivanders. More shops to follow.

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Before long, he started shopping and enlisted the help of his wife who painted store signs. Rob, his friend, cut out the storefronts.

In the end, they had what could only be considered a team effort. “The street surface is Lino, which is soft and warm to walk on. I also live in a street of many kind people, so I was given old photo frames which I used for shop windows,” Dylan said according to Bored Panda.

One of the biggest difficulties they faced was keeping it a secret from Ella until it was completed. On that day, a game of hide and seek was set up when she got finished with school.

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The books shop and reading nook!

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After a few rounds, she decided to hide in the closet behind the curtain in the back. She didn’t find it right away, but she suddenly said “I can see something in here.” The room was silent until she finally included, “Can we keep this here forever?!”

They worked their way through the entire alley with each other. Ella was busy exploring the details, including gifts that were in Ollivander’s wand shop.

Dylan said, “We played for the rest of the weekend, for example, making ice cream in the ice cream shop with a machine I found. I also dressed up as Hagrid which was hilarious for us both as my accent was terrible, but we went back through the wardrobe to the muggle world as Ella and Hagrid and took cushions from her living room for her reading nook above her bookshop on Diagon Alley.”

Ella is a big fan of Harry Potter but has only seen the first movie so far. Dylan is reading the first book with her. Her parents want her to be a little older before she watches the other movies.

When it finally comes time for her to watch those movies, she will have a great place to escape. Dylan admits that it was a lot of hard work to make the alley, but it was worth it. He said:

“If a day is hard, then do something to make the next one better. Thank you to authors like J.K. Rowling and filmmakers, as your stories and films are really helping people at the moment. They certainly have helped us during the first lockdown.”