Many luxury homeowners in London seem to have not been affected by the recent property slump, and are instead spending their pounds on lavish home extensions. However, the city of London is equally known for its lack of prime residential space as it is for its lavish homes, therefore London basement conversions are becoming an increasingly popular development amongst the wealthy. If there’s no space to extend upwards or sideways, the only way to go is down.

How are these Basements being Used?

A recent example of a lavish basement conversion in London is the development of an underground beach in a luxury semi-detached property. According to the Kensington developer, the London beach basement will have the feel of a private resort. It includes a seated beach area around a 36 feet swimming pool, changing rooms, sauna and spa bath. The plans must still be approved, but according to local statistics for the area, the extravagant London basement conversion will be permitted.  A local newspaper has stated that only 90 out of the 1,164 applications for similar projects received by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea have been denied. Local authorities have stated that basement construction in the area is ‘out of control’. Similar trend for other areas have been noticed as the market in the capital is at an all time high with many homes having downward extensions.

Laws and the Process of Conversions

If the London beach basement conversion is approved, it will result in over half of the properties in the elite Upper Phillimore Gardens in west London gaining ‘iceberg home’ status. This means that the majority of living space is situated underground. In the same street, a homeowner has built a garage lift that transport motor vehicle and driver two levels down to a poolside bar. Similar neighbourhood London basement conversions include wine cellars, tasting rooms, cinemas, gyms, game rooms and swimming pools. In the same street a mansion which included the renovations and thousands of pounds of extras  sold for £80 million in 2008 and is currently the most expensive property in the UK.

Traditionally London has strict zoning laws that severely limit the extension of homes above ground. However, the laws do not include any development that happens below the surface, thus basement conversions are easy to approve and can stretch as far down as the homeowner desires. With the technological innovations of basement conversion companies in London it seems as though the opportunities for development are limitless. This includes large concrete boxes lined with plastic that acts as a membrane, to ensure that London basements remain waterproof.


Dave Tucker is an avid writer with an interest in luxury property news from around the world. He has explored many a luxury property for rent in Notting Hill and is intruiged by the latest home extension trends.