There was a time when just the thought of living underground
brought bunker-type homes to mind, but today there are many underground
mansions that have all the features of conventional luxury homes.
One house in Manchester, England, for
example, has 4300 square feet of underground living space
that is bathed in sunlight, with 1/3 of an acre planted
in garden style above ground.
You may find some surprising extras in underground mansions today.
These include movie theaters and underground spas. Wealthy homeowners-to-be
are heading deep into the earth to create elegant surroundings
for themselves and their families. In addition, some luxury house
owners are building subterranean rooms that are every bit as elegant
as those found above ground, including high ceilings and lovely
Some underground mansions have living space above-ground as well,
but others can hardly even be seen underneath their landscaped
yards. Many homeowners who want to improve and enlarge their homes
are running into obstacles with land availability and zoning restrictions,
but building underground solves those problems.
Steve Martin's Wild 'N' Crazy Earth Berm Mansion
near Santa Barbara, CA
It's Magic ...
Many of the rooms in these subterranean luxury homes are uniquely
shaped, like wedges or other shapes that make use of the available
space most efficiently. Often you may find atrium areas with dome
windows, that let in a great deal of sunlight. This creates the
illusion that you're not underground at all.
Sometimes the "front doors" of underground mansions
are barely visible when you look at them from a vantage point
above-ground. The doors lead to various elegant staircases and
then to the living areas below. Underground houses are easy to
heat and cool, and although the ultra-rich don't have to worry
about high energy bills, it is a positive move that these homes
are less reliant on fossil fuels.
Luxury subterranean homes also feature kitchens with state-of-the-art
appliances and large bedrooms. They may have rooms on even lower
levels too, including Jacuzzi's, swimming pools and gyms. The
rooms may be heated with systems located under the floors, and
heat pumps using heat exchange technology supply the hot water.
Heating systems use the heat located in the ground to heat each
house more efficiently.
Ventilation is very important underground, whether you have a
smaller home or a mansion, and as long as a subterranean house
is well-ventilated, you won't be impacting the environment around
you much at all. The energy demands of newly designed homes may
be almost zero. One owner jokes that his home will be an architectural
landmark even though you can't actually see the house.
Earth-Bermed Mansion in the UK with soccer field
The proposals for underground luxury homes are described as exciting
and innovating. Residents in older neighborhoods, who are accustomed
to conventional homes, feel that the plans take some getting used
to, but they are often won over when they see the beautiful gardens
above the subterranean homes.
Dig a Little Deeper ...
Some designers add to existing luxury houses by digging deeper
beneath them, while some houses are designed as subterranean from
the very first. Homeowners may have many extras in their below
ground living space, including bowling alleys, spas and even half
basketball courts. There is almost no limit to the use of space
when you build by digging deeper.