A decontamination bunker hidden behind two large earth mounds, with four foot thick walls, dirt floors and no windows, wouldn't seem like the most attractive proposition for a house-hunter. However, one developer saw the potential, and has transformed it into an incredible home worth £440,000.
The home is on the former grounds of RAF Bicester in north Oxfordshire, now known as The Garden Quarter. It was originally designed to protect the occupants from a gas attack. The two earth mounds, thick walls, and absence of windows were meant to protect against an explosion, while the occupants sheltered from the attack. These all remain in place, but the space behind has been transformed into a spectacular contemporary property.
The plot is upside down, so once you walk along the walled footpath to get to the building, you enter the two bedrooms - one en-suite and the other next to the bathroom. To bring light into the rooms, huge glass doors open out onto the courtyard.
Upstairs there is an enormous open-plan reception room, with more floor-to-ceiling doors running the length of one wall and opening out onto a terrace. Roof lights bring more even light into the building - to make up for the fact that the blast-protection means no opportunity to install windows at the side or rear of the house.
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It takes a developer with enormous imagination to look at a bunker buried into two mounds of earth and see a light, contemporary, two-bedroom home. However, this developer is among those inspired few who can see potential in unusual places.
We reported at the end of last month on the tiny store room in Islington which had been transformed into London's smallest house - at just 188 square feet. The designer needed to put the bedroom on a glorified shelf over the front door, but in doing so transformed the space into a £275,000 house.
Earlier this year we revealed that a builder had transformed an old Victorian toilet block in Sherringham in Norfolk into a luxury home a stones-throw from the beach. He had called the home the Wee Retreat, and was renting it out to holiday-makers.
This wasn't the first converted toilet to hit the headlines. One of the most impressive was an underground toilet in Crystal Palace, which was transformed into a studio flat by an architect who realised it was her opportunity to get onto the housing ladder and make an architectural statement. She ended up doing most of the work herself - and spent just £65,000 on the renovations.
And their ability to look beyond the obvious may even rival that of the couple who at the end of last year put their £1.5 million property on the market. When the couple bought it 15 years earlier it had been a ramshackle pig farm. They even kept the two pig barns - linked by an enormous dining room
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