The Toy Box

Subterranean storage – when the only way is down…

The original plan had been to add more buildings to our client’s home to accommodate his car collection (and provide some extra living space). But the planners weren’t too keen on the idea, and they invoked greenbelt-planning restrictions.

These restrictions meant we couldn’t build upwards. They also meant we couldn’t build outwards. In fact, we couldn’t build in any direction. With one exception. Downwards. And that, in an inspired flash of lateral thinking, is exactly what we proposed. (Though whether downwards could be described as lateral is, of course, another matter.)

We devised a series of underground terraces and rooms that made the most of the natural slope of the grounds. In other words, we created a huge, below-ground space. Or, as our client likes to call it, the basement.

And what a basement. The living rooms, cut into the side of the slope, have sweeping views – and as they’re south of the house, they’re filled with natural light. More importantly, the tiered garaging area can accommodate all twelve cars in the collection.


The crowning glory, though, is the parking lift. Like a device from a science fiction film, this incredible system quietly lowers and places each car into its individual space. And of course, it automatically retrieves them too.

Amazingly, the garage and the other rooms remain almost entirely invisible, as their roofs are buried into natural landscaped gardens. Even the planners were relaxed about this approach. They accepted that the designs had little or no detrimental impact on the greenbelt.

And if the planners were relaxed, our client was overjoyed.

It was all thanks to our Renovate service. Combining architecture, interior design and construction project management in-house enabled us to meet an unusual and demanding brief – and satisfy planning requirements.

So now our client can play with whichever toy he wants, whenever he wants. And they’re all tided away by the time his wife comes home.