SUBTER­RANEAN STYLE

In­side some of the best home base­ments on the mar­ket

Herald Sun - Property - - FRONT PAGE - NI­COLE ENG­WIRDA

THERE’S noth­ing dark, damp or dingy about the re­mark­able base­ments tak­ing shape in Mel­bourne’s new tro­phy homes.

The hum­ble base­ment has come a long way from its roots as a hid­ing place for camp­ing equip­ment or hol­i­day dec­o­ra­tions.

Builders are set­ting their sights be­low ground to max­imise on space and it’s be­ing used to fit out lux­ury homes with cine­mas, gyms, saunas and more.

Archi­cen­tre gen­eral man­ager Cameron Frazer said the cost of build­ing a base­ment was not as pro­hib­i­tive as in the past.

“Peo­ple are more af­flu­ent now, we’ve got more money float­ing around be­cause rates are low,” he said.

“It’s def­i­nitely an ex­ten­sion be­yond what is now the some­what ubiq­ui­tous un­der­ground carpark.”

Peo­ple plan­ning to build new homes can choose to take ad­van­tage of subter­ranean space, but it is more dif­fi­cult — though not im­pos­si­ble — to add a base­ment level to an ex­ist­ing home.

“If you’ve got enough money, any­thing is pos­si­ble in the build­ing game,” Mr Frazer said.

“It’s not very com­mon you hear about some­body ex­ca­vat­ing a base­ment un­der an ex­ist­ing home.”

Retrofitting a base­ment was gen­er­ally a costly ex­er­cise, as the builder would need to un­der­pin the foun­da­tions of the home while the new level was com­pleted.

But for those wish­ing to ex­pand their ex­ist­ing floor­plan, some smaller rooms could be added be­low ground with­out com­mit­ting to the full ex­pense of a base­ment ex­ca­va­tion.

“It’s not that com­pli­cated to think about putting in a small wine cel­lar,” Mr Frazer said.

“Any­thing big­ger than that and you re­ally start to im­pact on the ex­ist­ing foun­da­tions of the home.”

A bay­side man­sion at 17 Tramway Pde, Beau­maris, has a lav­ish base­ment that caps off the home’s con­tem­po­rary fivebed­room floor­plan.

There’s a wine cel­lar, bar and cin­ema, but it’s the view­ing win­dow into the pool that re­ally makes a state­ment.

Agent Barb Gre­gory, of Mar­shall White, Brighton, said the home was likely to sell for more than $3.2 mil­lion at to­day’s sched­uled auc­tion.

Ms Gre­gory said peo­ple build­ing new homes were wak­ing up to the po­ten­tial of base­ment en­ter­tain­ing zones.

“You’re smart if you can ac­tu­ally make it user friendly,” she said.

A source of nat­u­ral light, such as the in­no­va­tive pool win­dow at 17 Tramway Pde, could make all the dif­fer­ence.

Mr Frazer said the nat­u­ral noise and light-block­ing fea­tures of base­ments made them ideal for cine­mas, games rooms and cel­lars.

“Be­ing un­der­ground is enor­mously valu­able for that kind of thing,” he said.

A deluxe home in Bal­wyn North has made the most of its base­ment space, fea­tur­ing a win­dow­less cin­ema room with huge cus­tom-made screen.

There is also a source of nat­u­ral light for the rum­pus room and gym with mar­ble and cedar sauna, which open to a court­yard. A back­lit bar gives the base­ment a dream setup for en­ter­tain­ing and there is a stylish blue­stone and oak wine cel­lar tucked be­hind glass doors.

The five-bed­room, five­bath­room home at 16 Har­ring­ton Ave is listed for pri­vate sale with Mar­shall White, Hawthorn, with price ex­pec­ta­tions of $4 mil­lion-plus.

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