Pret-a-Reporter

Hollywood's Newest Home Trend: Safe Rooms

Courtesy Creative Home Engineering
A secret entrance to a safe room, complete with a fully stocked bar.

"Safe rooms have become an important luxury 'checklist' item for high-end sales and a more common request in the past five years," says Peter Maurice, estates director for Rodeo Realty in Beverly Hills, as homes owned by A-listers from Lady Gaga to the Beckhams boast the feature.

Mark Zuckerberg reportedly is building a stand-alone one on his Palo Alto, Calif., compound, and the L.A. Clippers' DeAndre Jordan has one with thumbprint entry in the Pacific Palisades home that he listed on the market this year. Bullet- and entry-resistant safe rooms are said to outfit Lady Gaga's Malibu mansion and the Beckhams' London townhouse. The 20,000-square-foot Napa Valley estate of the late Robin Williams, sold in January, boasts three safe rooms among its 18 acres of vineyards.

A glance at luxury real estate listings reveals a multitude of other examples, from the Pacific Palisades home where British actor Charles Laughton and wife Elsa Lanchester once lived to the expansive Hollywood Hills villa once owned by Oscar-winning composer Miklos Rozsa that sold in August. "Safe rooms have become an important luxury 'checklist' item for high-end sales and a more common request in the past five years," says Peter Maurice, estates director for Rodeo Realty in Beverly Hills. Adds Beverly Hills realtor Joyce Rey of Coldwell Banker Previews International: "In new luxury construction on the Westside, there has definitely been an increase in panic rooms," with various sources indicating sales have jumped 35 percent. Nick Paster of Oak Park, Calif.-based American Saferoom Door Co., which focuses on doors concealed as secret panels, bookcases or mirrors, says that home theaters, master suites and cigar and wine rooms are most preferred for safe-room conversions.


Creative Home Engineering uses bookcases or mirrors as entries to converted home theaters, master suites or wine rooms.

"Local and global terrorist-related attacks are the main driving force for the increase in business," observes Tom Gaffney, president of Gaffco Ballistics, a Vermont company that has installed safe rooms in New York and Los Angeles celebrity residences that start at $250,000. "Our clients tend to have a higher sense of the lack of security in the world today." 

This story first appeared in the Oct. 14 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

comments powered by Disqus