Drawings That Reveal London’s Most Lavish Basement Conversions

Basement wars in London are nothing new – everyone from footballer Thierry Henry to poodle-haired Queen Guitarist Brian May wants their say on how big, deep and luxurious these subterranean additions should be.

Even London’s Claridge’s Hotel, the home away from home from the Royal family, is getting in on the act and planning a 5-storey iceberg basement. DMZ takes a look at the most absurd and grand excavation projects in the Capital.


1.Damien Hirst’s Art Gallery – Regent’s Park

Reportedly the richest artist in the world, Hirst has never shied away from development. After moving in to his £40million Grade-I listed mansion in Regent’s Park, the pickled shark creator submitted plans designed by British architecture firm Purcell for one of the capital’s most lavish basements, stretching to a huge 150-foot, including double-height ceilings to house his vast art collection.

However, only weeks later Hirst submitted new plans to Westminster Council, which included the installation of a 25-metre long swimming pool as well as a steam room and sauna. The artist is allegedly looking to transform the building into London’s finest privately owned home, by the looks of things – he’s well on his way to achieving that prestigious title.

Astonishing: Hirst’s plans can most definitely be described as an ‘iceberg basement’. Source: Purcell

2. Robert Beecham’s Banquet Hall – Primrose Hill

Robert Beecham made his fortune by selling merchandise for Star Wars in the 1970’s, but more recently has taken to property development – including his own London townhouse.

Last year Camden Council approved plans for a mammoth basement conversion, which will also see the entrepreneur demolish his current house and replace it with a 7-bedroom Regency style property. The proposals were greeted with strong opposition from Beecham’s neighbours, who feared the construction would set a precedent for future megabasement’s on the road.

David Whittington, representing Mr Beecham, said, “it allows us to create a new rear garden area. In short, we are pulling the house further away from neighbours…the new house is very respectful to its neighbours. The basement will be invisible at garden level, except for a small fire escape at the rear of the site.”

Vast: the £15million development is set to transform the property’s value to £70million. Source: Daily Mail

3. Jon Hunt’s Car Carousel – Kensington Palace Gardens

Billionaire Jon Hunt founded Foxton’s in 1981, selling the business to private equity group BC Partners for £375million in 2007.

The property mogul’s basement plans include a car carousel to hold his collection of Ferrari’s, with luxury vehicles being displayed ‘like objects of art’ with glass floors and viewing galleries.

Since selling the high street agency, Hunt has been making extremely successful moves in both commercial and residential property investments in the Capital. His extraordinary megabasement plans were approved by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Council, but disputed by the neighbouring French Ambassador’s residence. After multiple legal challenges, Hunt came out on top and had his original 16,800 sqr ft basement plans ratified.


4. Roman Abramovich’s Pool – Kensington Palace Gardens

Neighbours with Hunt, Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich has been given the green light for a new mega-basement under his Grade II listed London mansion.

The construction is set to include a new swimming pool and leisure complex. It could be valued in the region of £125 million when completed, making it one of the most expensive home in the UK.

Documents submitted to the council described the mansion’s existing pool as a “miserable space…not only is the pool too small to afford comfortable or meaningful swimming, but it has low head height and no daylight.”

Abramovich’s plans boost his Kensington home from 16,000 sqr ft to a staggering 20,000 sqr ft. Source: Daily Mail