‘Safe Rooms’ Are the Latest Luxury Trend in Million-Dollar Homes

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The “safe room” has become the image of the time for deep-pocketed property owners. Maybe, it reflects our insecurity. Either way, there’s bragging rights over who owns the latest cutting-edge James Bond so-called panic room.

“It becomes a competition at dinner parties over who has what state-of-the-art hazmat suits, and kits where you can drink your own pee, etcetera,” comments Jill Kargman, writer and star of TV’s Odd Mom Out.” “People love to say how much go money they have.”

The system’s right out of Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451. Nay! It’s magic.

Security keys work on biometric recognition software, residents protect themselves from earthquakes via steel-reinforced concrete caissons that burrow 30 feet underground, and they’ve installed infrared cameras that prowl the perimeters and sniff human thermal heat as far away as 15 kilometers.

Regarding entrance to these billionaire bunkers, former Israeli major general Aharon Ze’evi-Farkash has devised a solution. The onetime head of the Israeli Military Intelligence Directorate has spent the past three years creating a software product that recognizes the entrant solely by face, voice, and behavior, so there is need for a key.

But the core of the home, the “safe core” as one owner calls it, is the safe room.

Forbes describes how a prominent author, who declined to be named, had his third-floor master suite “outfitted as a 2,500-square-foot safe haven.” According to Forbes, “Switches installed throughout the house would encapsulate the space, locking down its three entrances with reinforced doors while alerting local authorities.” The owner’s bathroom doubled as an inner panic room and was stuffed with armament enough to protect his family in an apocalypse. He has never had to use his retreat or weaponry, but “there is a lot of peace of mind that comes with it.” 

Some safe rooms are converted from bedrooms or other rooms. Manhattan and Floridian developer, Tom Gaffney, founder of Gaffco Ballistics, for instance, describes how he outfits bedrooms with bulletproof windows, ballistic fiberglass to secure doors against explosions, an air filtration unit to protect against a gas attack, and a panic button. The kevlar-lined, bullet-resistant doors alone may start at $20,000, according to Gary Paster, founder of American Saferoom Door Company. The typical  price for a billionaire bunker totals to almost half a million dollars.

While safe rooms don’t often top buyers’ wish lists, Jean Bateman, a real estate pro with Sotheby’s, considers them a bonus.

They may be a bonus, too, to uber-savvy intruders. After all, safe rooms contain secrets. They’re used to store pricey jewelry, antique guns, or belongings when owners rent out their home for the season. If thieves manage to penetrate despite the cameras, magic keys, and spiffy detectors, they’re in for a haul.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

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