Do unusual homes require a different kind of sales marketing? The owner of this converted Cold War bunker in northwest London clearly thinks so.
The sales particulars for this 10,000-square-foot concrete house describes it as a “pandemic refuge”, and says that it anticipates buyers from the following categories: “a secretive businessman, celebrity avoiding paparazzi, young or old playboy, trophy hoarder, car collector, original thinker, eccentric intellectual.”
The owner, rather than the selling agent, came up with the quirky description, according to a spokesperson for FW Gapp, the estate agency selling the grade II listed property, which is on sale for $12.9 million and lies in the suburb of Mill Hill.
The Cold War relic, once part of a military installation, was built in the early 1950s as a war room, or command center, by the British government in response to the threat of a nuclear war. The atomic-era building is now a 6-bedroom home set in 1.5 acres of its own land. Invisible from all vantage points, with no near neighbors, and featuring five-foot steel-reinforced walls and luxury amenities, it offers the ideal hideaway for future lockdowns or other world threats.
Built as a two-story surface structure, the box-like, contemporary house has James Bond levels of coolness. The upper floor, the former map room, features open-plan living spaces and bedrooms with all-round glazed walls and doors that lead out to a roof terrace. The ground floor has an indoor pool lit by skylights, a sauna, a steam room, and a cinema room. Its grounds, meanwhile, feature a 6-car garage, a courtyard with parking for 12 cars. Concrete walls with wooden electric entrance gates enclose the gardens, recalling the brutalist look of the house.
Close to Finchley Golf Club, the house lies in the borough of Barnet on greenbelt land “that otherwise is off limits to development,” according to a 2010 New York Times article on the property. According to the same article, the home, named Seafield House, was originally “like a windowless tomb”. “The whole idea was to create an architecture of life from the architecture of death, because it was all about nuclear holocaust and a sort of Dr. Strangelove scenario,” London architect Dan Smith who redesigned the bunker said in the article.
The seller of the house sums up the highlights of its location in the same ironic fashion, describing it as “a dull north west London suburb with nothing on offer but; 8 miles to central London, Mill Hill School, close to Waitrose, one fine restaurant.”
According to a spokesperson for FW Gapp, the Partingdale Lane property is an individual home, a “complete one-off.” In keeping with the secretive feel of the property, the seller declined to comment on the home and wishes to remain anonymous.