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Gimme shelter: Preparing for the Big One

Everyone should have a respectful fear of natural or man-made catastrophes. Today you can choose from the Mayan prediction that the world will end on December 21, 2012 to the everyday fear that a nut will set loose a home-made bomb in the supermarket. In October 1962, during the Cuban Missile Crisis, people in my neighborhood built home bomb shelters or called in special contractors to handle the work. Some of us began building them anew after 911.

If it’s not one thing, it’s another. While there’s no hard data on how well pre-fab or high-end shelters handle radiation, chemical or germ attacks in America, there are plenty of innovations if you’re moved to take action.

Get away from it all

Photo by Hardened Structures

Photo by Hardened Structures

When only military grade will do, consider the Genesis Series by Hardened Structures. The basic unit can be expanded to suit any size family or neighborhood group. Genesis is 100 percent waterproof and fully protected against high altitude and regular electromagnetic pulses, and the nuclear, biological and chemical air filtration system is top-grade. No, it doesn’t come with vinyl siding!

Do it yourself shelters

Photo by Good Inc.

Photo by Good Inc.

If you’re interested in surviving the apocalypse and are good with tools, find a wide range of considerations at Backwoods Home Magazine. You can read about ventilation, sanitation, food and water storage, medical issues and furnishings from writer-engineer Jeffrey Yago.

You’re not alone

Photo by Home Designing

Photo by Home Designing

After the dust settles, it’s good to know you won’t be the only ones to climb up, blinking at the sun. Families, people of varying spiritual persuasions, survivalists and cultists already have their underground condos built. Many are in Utah and Montana, but there are Europeans, too, who have their shelters.  Check out the décor and details at Good.

Mr. Noah, call your office

Photo by Lifeboat

Photo by Lifeboat

Ark I is a green, self-sustaining space station proposed to house escapees from a global catastrophe. You can read all about it at The Lifeboat Foundation.  The non-profit group claims the Ark will include humans as well as native plants and animals from Earth and will feature artificial gravity. Resources will come from asteroids and the moon if dependence on a poisoned Earth is impossible.

Make mine a double:

Photo by Wardomatic

Photo by Wardomatic

In 1603, English courts decided in the famed Semayne’s Case that every homeowner had the right to protect his house against illegal entry, making a home truly one’s castle. I’ve walked the damp, winding stairways of English and Scottish castles and got little besides chills and shin splints. If you don’t have servants to tend to dozens of rooms, a castle could get dusty in a hurry.

Still, every year, British, Irish, French and even American castles go on the market with a flourish of bugles and, lately, a price cut. Do you still wax romantic about living in a castle? Grab your checkbooks!

Knight Templar house exteriors

Photo by CNBC

Photo by CNBC

Clan Houston built this classic example of Scottish-Norman architecture in the 12th century. It can be yours today for a mere $1.12 million. It stands on six acres with four bedrooms, four baths, and a crenelated tower. Read more about it at CNBC.

Designs from the other continent

Photo by Castles for Sale

Photo by Castles for Sale

Only a half-hour from Durban, the South African “Stradford Castle” sits on a fish-stocked lake and Par 72 golf course…all for sale at of $365 000. It’s a spear’s-throw away from the local game preserve.

Not your usual Jeffersonian

Photo by Castles for Sale

Photo by Castles for Sale

Why buy a Colonial home when you can have this West Virginia castle in Berkeley Springs? For $1.8 million you can command all you see from this 20-room estate with tower room and wine cellar. The home is a registered national historical landmark.

Get out your Capri Pants

Photo by Medievalists

Photo by Medievalists

You get more than alliteration when you own the 12,000-square-foot Castiglione Castle on Capri. Dating back to the first century A.D. – long before the invention of vinyl siding — this complex of villas overlooking the sea was a sturdy fortress against the elements of nature and war. It’s a steal today for $46 million.

Recent Comments

  • Kid's stuff:Bedroom furniture for dreamers

    Hey Woodrow,

    You've put together a great post here. Hardwearing and long-lasting bedroom furniture is so important when you have young children, and choosing pieces which can handle the rough-and-tumble that comes with having little ones is key!

    Best wishes, Alex.

  • Awesomely Oddball Lawn and Garden Accessories

    I plan to do this. What was your process in painting the bottom...outside portion of the tub?

  • Poor staging can crush your home sale

    Woodrow, you have once again 'nailed' the essence of the issue of staging your home for sale with easy to understand pics and words. These are definitely rules to live by, oh wise one! I know I"m soaking up the knowledge you share--- now excuse me while I wring myself out. Can't wait for the next issue.

  • To everyone, a room of one's own

    We've recently bought a house which needs A LOT of work and I'm trying to convince my other half to let me build a "room of my own" for the house, one where I can put my games console and beer fridge. She's not gone for it yet though. The most I've managed to get is an office I can work out of ... not quite the same ... LoL.

    Mine would certainly be like the car boot room in the first image :)

    Ben

  • Home designs you haven’t seen before

    I wonder how far the folks in the Rock House are able to drive in their car? Maybe down to their boat? It's so true that home is where you are at the moment.