Reports that Kim Kardashian West is adding a panic room to her $20 million Bel Air mansion, capable of withstanding fire and a 7.0 earthquake, is hardly surprising, given the trauma she claims to have sustained after she was robbed at gunpoint in a private Paris residence in October. Yet the reality star's $100,000-plus safe haven is not so unique. Over the past couple of years, these luxury bunkers have become commonplace for top execs, celebrities, foreign royals and others hoping to protect themselves from both natural disaster and an attacker.
Specialty rooms are not only for the wealthy, however. Today home builders are receiving requests to build everything from wine cellars, billiard rooms and home theaters to shrines and fitness rooms. According to Nikki James, a manager with the design studio at Ashton Woods, a personalization-oriented luxury home builder, one of the most popular add-ons is a mother-in-law suite that can later be used for children who move back home after college.
The following are eight popular specialty rooms designed by Ashton Woods, plus the estimated cost to add them to a new home. (Prices will vary depending on your own choices of materials. Planning these rooms in advance when building a home costs less than retrofitting a space.)
— By Colleen Kane, special to CNBC
Posted 7 January 2017
This music room was added on for a family with three musical daughters in a band. It features a low-rise stage large enough for an at-home private performance and enough room for an audience and rehearsal area.
Much of the cost for this room goes into the framing and trim for the stage. But music rooms can also be designed as a recording studio. Simple home recording studios can consist of just a computer, an audio interface and a microphone. But a pro studio, with soundproofing and recording, editing and mixing equipment, can range anywhere from $5,000 to $50,000 or more.
A doorway disguised as a decorative wall panel leads down to this speakeasy. Inside this clandestine imbibing space is backlit shelving to spotlight special bottles of liquor and glassware, plus seating, additional built-in storage and a casino gaming table.
Nikki James of Ashton Woods noted that some families adding this room are seeking a place for adults to drink apart from the children. Many prefer to add period-appropriate speakeasy furnishings that, while costly, adds a vintage flavor.
Wine vaults and wine-tasting rooms are common in high-end homes, but bourbon rooms are a rising star. This dark and masculine chamber has eight full casks with spouts, exposed beams and a stone wall, plus a central seating area with four comfortable armchairs.
For this room the custom built-ins (whiskey casks and more) make it unique, as does the stone wall, but brick veneer is a less-expensive option.
Dogs have risen in rank and privilege from being relegated to the traditional doghouse in the yard to their present reign as four-legged family members. For some lucky dogs, that includes their own custom room inside the family home. The fully tiled room here provides a showering station, with a tiled area to accommodate the subsequent shake-off. It also features shelving for towels and other supplies and a feeding/grooming area.
Additional options include a dog bed or other specialized dog furniture, such as a canine couch. A comfortable window seat allows dogs to supervise all comings and goings outside. Going with simple tile and pre-planned plumbing can achieve this room's purpose at the lower end; floor-to-ceiling tile and shelving will run more.
This yoga room and dance studio features a floor-to-ceiling mirrored wall with a bar, as well as a meditative circular wall light and subtle recessed overhead lighting.
If the focus for this room is yoga, home buyers might want to also include a meditative fountain, which can run several thousand dollars for a midsize water feature.
Like craft rooms and sewing rooms, potting rooms are now leading the pack for those with a green thumb. This garden room is awash in natural light, with shelving and a worktable for potting seedlings and tending to them as they grow.
While plumbing can be costly, the addition of running water and an antique farmhouse sink in this space add beauty and convenience.
For this media room, built-in cabinetry doubles as a door leading to this concealed windowless dual-screen paradise. "Turn the lights off, you have your surround sound and really have that movie-theater feel," said Ashton Woods' Nikki James. Elevated stadium-style seating provides a good view for everyone, as well as lit built-ins for display and to store gaming gear.
Homeowners can also choose to soundproof the room or add a movie theater–style snack bar, which can drive up the cost. For the concession stand, the builder or contractor could do a custom-build. There are many DIY ideas online, or buy a premade version for around $2,000.
For parents wishing to foster creativity and learning, a reading nook is the perfect cozy spot. The space here is accessed through a circular portal from the child's bedroom. Inside is a reading perch reached by ladder, like a bunk bed. Other built-in options include shelving and a desk space for homework and projects.
Most often, these nooks are located in an area where parents can still see the children, such as off of a game room or off the kitchen, said James. "That's a very important attribute. They want to be able to see their kids. ... Are they doing their homework [or] drawing on the walls?"
Note: This slideshow has been updated with price ranges for each room.