Eight apartments in the basement are underground havens

In this book, we select eight apartments that prove that basements are the new penthouses, from an Art Deco apartment in Paris to a sci-fi retreat in Madrid.

Basement homes are often associated with limited space and poor natural lighting, and were not always particularly desirable.

But as the world’s cities become more expensive, more crowded and hotter, underground living can be a private, moderate and relatively affordable option.

Here are eight of the best basement apartments previously featured on Dezeen.

This is the latest in our Search Book series, which provides visual inspiration from the Dezeen archives. For more inspiration, see previous design brochures featuring cave-like interiors, residential entry halls, and pocket doors.

Photography by Jim Stevenson

Unearthed cellar, UK, designed by Daab Design

Architecture studio Daab Design has transformed a former art storage cellar in London into a two-bedroom basement apartment.

Georgian period features were meticulously restored as part of the refurbishment and paired with a soothing color palette of creams, greens and blues, transforming what was previously a dark, cramped interior into a modern living space.

Find out more about the discovered safe ›

Photography by Simone Bossi

The Whale, France, by Clément Lesneuve Rocard

The whale takes its name from the massive structural elements that permeate this house in the basement of a Parisian apartment building, which reminded architect Clément Lesneuve Rocard of being inside a huge animal.

Lesnoff-Rocard stripped the apartment to reveal chunky concrete beams, while expansive glass, brass and geometric shapes create a minimalist Art Deco feel.

Find out more about Pisces ›

Photography by Joseph Hevia

Yuricaju House, Spain, designed by Mas-Aqui

Architecture studio Mas-aqui used half levels in the renovation of this semi-basement apartment in Barcelona to maximize space.

The previously unused lower level was excavated to create a staircase down to the new guest bedroom featuring a structural arch above the bed and an exposed concrete retaining wall.

Find out more about Yurikajo House ›

Photography by Yannis Hadjiaslanis (also above)

Iliopoli Apartment, Greece, Bay Point Supreme

Sunken into the ground at the bottom of an apartment building in Athens, this small one-bedroom apartment was once a storage space.

Point Supreme sought to retain the interior’s “magical cave-like” feel by leaving the raw concrete surfaces exposed and using floor finishes, curtains and sliding partitions rather than walls to separate the space.

Find out more about Iliopoli Apartment ›

Photo by Hey! cheese

House H, Taiwan, designed by KC Design Studio

The basement of House H in Taipei leans into its underground location with a dark, moody color palette provided by concrete floors, understated gray plaster walls, and black or gray fixtures and fittings.

To filter more natural light and fresh air into the basement, KC Design Studio carved several openings in the ceiling, accommodating a staircase and an interior courtyard.

Find out more about House H ›

Photography by Joseph Hevia

Tibaut Apartment, Spain, by Raul Sanchez

Architect Raul Sanchez transformed a vaulted cellar under a Barcelona house into an underground apartment using curved panels of pine plywood.

The partition wraps around a central living area, separating each of the rooms but stopping at the ceiling to ensure the building’s original architecture remains visible, as well as allowing natural light to circulate throughout the space.

Find out more about Teapot Apartment ›

Photography by Joseph Hevia

House A12, Spain, designed by Lucas and Hernandez Gil

This semi-basement apartment in Madrid has fun Stanley Kubrick features like shiny silver drapes, cobalt blue walls, and an interior courtyard with orange lawn.

Lucas y Hernández-Gil designed the space as a “world of work and leisure” where homeowners can escape from the street above.

Find out more about Casa A12 ›

Photography by Jérôme Fleurier

Studio LI, France, designed by architect Anne Rolland

A secret room lies beneath this sunken studio apartment created by Anne Rolland Architecte in a long-abandoned space in a 17th-century Parisian townhouse.

The former mortar pit is accessed via a mechanical trapdoor and given natural light through a window in the kitchen floor, to create a music room and home cinema.

Find out more about LI Studio ›

This is the latest in our Search Book series, which provides visual inspiration from the Dezeen archives. For more inspiration, see previous design brochures featuring cave-like interiors, residential entry halls, and pocket doors.

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