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Luxury Panic Rooms Are in High Demand

Celebrities and the super-wealthy are turning to stealth safe rooms.

Protecting the rich and famous is a serious business. That’s why many prominent celebrities, athletes, and business tycoons are taking control of their safety and installing safe rooms, often referred to as “panic rooms,” in their homes. “It’s not a luxury; it’s a necessity,” say Darren Sukenik, luxury sales broker with Douglas Elliman in New York, “for anyone with significant means or significant staff, or a coterie of people coming in and out of the house.”

A panic room is most successful based on its ability to camouflage itself: An extra bedroom, unused maid’s quarters, or a few closets that are strategically eliminated from the floor plan provide the most clandestine locations, hidden behind fake bookshelves or doors. Entry requires a passcode or combination, and, in some situations, thumbprints. Common requests include everything from generators and infrared surveillance systems to sleeping quarters and an escape tunnel. Many come equipped with Kevlar lining and autonomous air-filtration systems.

Sukenik says that in the luxury home sales market, a property with a safe room is even more desirable to prominent buyers, particularly if it’s able to serve double duty.

“A lot of women use it as a dressing room. It truly is your own bank vault in your house. People could also use it as a wine cellar, because they’re climate controlled. They could use it for cigars, jewelry, papers,” Sukenik says. “It could be a room that’s actually used, but completely fire rated or flood protected—and locked off.”

Most Safe rooms are a useful space than a secluded room. It could be a home office, or a pantry in a kitchen that we make look like a bookcase, that also acts as a vault room in case of an intruder or an attacker.

Of course, if you’re looking to install a safe room into your existing property, it’ll cost you: Sukenik estimates that for a hidden space that requires cordoning off a room, it can cost several hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The rich and famous might not be as safe as they think, says Sojka, who adds that high-net-worth individuals may have fifty people watching out for their financial portfolio but lackluster security protecting them personally. “Taylor Swift’s place was infiltrated by a guy in a wetsuit,” says Sojka.

“If you were my VIP, and let’s say you were the inventor of some sort of new military technology that can erase a population at the stroke of a wand, and you go out to dinner with your family and people catch wind of that, and they don’t like you for what you do, they start protesting out in front of the restaurant,” says Sojka. “If they can reach out and touch you, they can kill you.”

Though having the opportunity to call 911 is important, having the ability to protect oneself proactively will save your life.

Police are a reactionary element, That’s why you employ people especially to protect you—so you can relax and enjoy life.


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