For Jack and Lani Garfield, duct taping the bedroom just won't do. Instead, they've totally updated an old bomb shelter in their backyard, complete with a special ventilation system, a generator and a two-way radio. The retired dentist and his wife, from Palm Springs, Calif., even fixed up the decor, hanging Cold War-era bomb test photos on the wall. "We're ready," says Dr. Garfield.
Cold War nostalgia? I remain dumbfounded at the kinds of atrocities that affluent people are willing to commit in the name of home decor.
With war looking likely, worried homeowners are investing in the latest home addition: the "safe room." With the help of home-security companies, they're putting in food-storage tanks in the basement, blast-proof walls in the garage and fiberglass pods that can be buried in the backyard. One security specialist is selling a portable shelter on eBay -- with two-day shipping included. And while experts say the rooms may not be as safe as some people hope, folks are shelling out from $3,000 to more than $50,000 for one, even when it's just a closet.
Of course, the number of people putting these things in is still small, but companies like American Saferoom Door in Los Angeles say business is up 20% in the past two months, while Zytech, a recently launched Maryland safe-room builder, says it already has a backlog of a dozen orders for its $26,000-and-up customized rooms. Alliance Security Products, a New York company owned by an ex-Israeli army officer, says its six-person tent can function as a safe room on the go. The company says it's sold 150 in the past month -- and has a waiting list four times that long.
Rex Bost's version will be a little more permanent. "We live in scary times," says the North Carolina builder. "This gives me peace of mind." His will be in the basement with foot-thick concrete walls and its own separate ventilation system. And in the event nothing bad happens, the space won't go to waste: He's planning to have it double as a place to practice his guitar, because it will have soundproof walls.
Woohoo! What a rock and roll rebel! I bet Rex Bost even has bumper stickers that say "If the safe room's Iraqin', don't come a-knockin'."