Live like a womble 3 – Door vs. hatch

It was a warm, sunny afternoon in August, and Mr C and I found ourselves sitting in a large back garden with a cup of tea. This is unusually civilised of us. We surveyed the extra-long grass, and discussed what size plot you would need to fit an underground bunker.

Quite big, is the answer.

We discussed the pros and cons of more than one storey, and the concept of bungalows being more expensive because they take up more land, and how this translates to the underground.

We suddenly thought that perhaps, what we need, is a regular above ground house – kitchen, bathroom, bedroom – with a big enough garden to house an underground studio. It’s the recording, and the office environment where we need the quiet, after all. It seems like a more manageable solution.

So far, we had been working on the principal of building your underground house into a cliff, but if it’s a legitimate bunker, lighting and accessibility is less important. Although, getting into it was a big topic for debate. Do you build steps down towards a front door? That way, you’re taking up a lot of extra external land, and you’re creating problems in terms of drainage and slippery steps and the like.

The other option, and my preferred, is to have a hatch, à la LOST.

How cool would that be? Of course, that would just be moving the space problem inside, because even though it’s a hatch, I don’t want to be climbing down a ladder every day. Stairs would still be required, and they would take up space. It does mean you could seal the bunker better though.


I’m still keen on the Tellytubbies house in the hills idea, but I also really like the mental image of showing guests out into the garden and just having a little trapdoor poking out of one corner.

10 thoughts on “Live like a womble 3 – Door vs. hatch

  1. What about what my Auntie’s neighbour did? He built his house on a hill so the bottom floor is actually underground. He built a windowless room at the back of his house so that he could put his home theatre gear in there. To do that means you would effectively have an upside-down house with the lounge and dining room on the top floor (he had a sea view) with the bedrooms on the bottom floor…

  2. House on a slope is the easiest. The bottom floor can be built into the hill, and effectively underground with the top floor nice and open and probably noisy.

  3. Why stairs or a hatch………why not a lift??
    You would have fun carrying cups of tea down a ladder from a hatch!

  4. but I also really like the mental image of showing guests out into the garden and just having a little trapdoor poking out of one corner.

    Any danger of them thinking you are a crazed fruit cake with something sinister to hide?

  5. Let us see here….

    1) You have a hatch.
    2) You have a ladder (naval style- they are sloped at angles of greater than 60 degrres.) so that you can easly slide down and only need to climb up it.

    3) To run this production studio of which you speak, you are going to need a generator room and or a battery room with a genernator in it. This will give you the power needed to run the cameras, other equippment, lighting and air compressors to suck in fresh air when needed or at least run the pumps so that the air can be scrubbed from carbon dioxide build-up.

    4) You might wish for senorory equipment, in case co-workers come looking for you and you do not wish to be disturbed. There is a chance they can catch you crawling out of the hatch.

    5) You furthur might want sleeping quarters and a gallery just in case you lose track of time.

    At this point it is getting silly. Just throw in a diesel or nuclear engine with propeller as well to make your bunker portable and you have one awesome submarine that can rival the doomsday machines of the Big Four. Nessie would not have a chance…

  6. Ooo when I was home the other weekend I paid proper attention to our little sunlight tube thing – it works mighty well, actually. I then told my dad about your ideas and he got very excited because he’d rather like to live underground too. He started talking about how he’d build his underground home (embedded in a hill, with a big window at one side peeking out from the hill) and then he got over-excited about the thought of having a glass dome at the top (peeking out the top of the hill) and then he held a glass mixing bowl over my head so that I could get the effect of what this would be like… 🙂

    (My dad is awesome.)

  7. The problem with a hatch is someone can park a car on top of it and you are stuck. I like the idea of a house with a couple of floors of basement that can be sealed off.

    Building into a hillside is clearly the easiest way to do it but I don’t like the idea of being on the side of a cliff. Cliffs erode and you could be left with a house precariously hanging out of the cliff face waiting for it to drop.

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