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Design Covet | Underground Bars and Cellars

  • Seven Australian homes go beneath the surface to make a case for the subterranean bar and cellar.

    Lifting cues from New York’s underground club scene in the 1970s, we’re revisiting seven below-ground home bars and cellars.

    Brighton Residence by Golden

    Designed for a client ‘looking for the spectacular’, interior designers Golden and architect Luke Seidler have redefined the typical entertainer’s home in their Brighton project. Influenced by Hollywood’s Golden Era, the basement bar steals the show with a dance floor and subterranean brass-framed pool window.

    It’s here where emerald velvet carpet, caramel leather banquette seating and palm tree motif wallpaper are beautifully layered and finished with ambient gold wall lights and an illuminated onyx bar. Conceived as a ‘venue’ within the home, the bar enjoys all the hallmarks of a regular bar.

    Hideaway House by Cera Stribley

    In their Hideaway House, Cera Stribley designed a new underground indoor lap pool, golf room, gym, basement bar and lounge. Cera Stribley head of interior design Jessica Coulter, accurately describes the new basement design as “Mad Men meets Batcave”. “This space is really the ‘adults lair’, so we wanted it to feel sophisticated and moody,” she adds.

    The unique basement residence prioritises leisure and entertaining, accentuated by a contemporary and moody material palette. The bar is the hero, with a custom Da Vinci Marble slab island bench against a backdrop of wine storage.

    Rose Park House by studio gram

    Nestled amongst a leafy Adelaide neighbourhood, Rose Park House is best described by the studio gram as a project of discovery from commencement to completion. “From the street, this early 1900s Queen Anne villa appears like any other; however, beneath the surface lies a series of spaces designed to be unique in their function and expression, yet consistent in their approach,” studio gram director Dave Bickmore explains.

    The underground wine cellar is defined by a rich burgundy red akin to the homeowner’s prized wine collection. CDK’s Elegant Grey stone, American walnut joinery and brass leather joinery pulls further imbue a luxurious tactility.

    Curatorial House by Taylor Pressly Architects and Tyler Aspen Edmonds

    Nestled on a leafy site in Melbourne’s Toorak, this grand residence by Taylor Pressly Architects is spread across five generous levels. The first floor – the basement – is dedicated solely to relaxation and features a lounge, pool table, retreat, bar, cellar, and home cinema. The bar and cellar are reminiscent of the quintessential underground speakeasy, with luxurious leather furniture, brass accents and all-black walls.

    Grange Residence by Conrad Architects

    A split form of minimalist stone blocks makes up Grange Residence’s facade. This symmetrical rhythm is continued inside, where a sweeping sculptural stairway soars from the basement to the fourth floor. In the basement, Conrad Architects and interior designer Lauren Tarrant carved out a moment of calm for the adults in the underground cellar. Oak shelves create a refined wine bottle display, while a statement marble splashback breathes life into the subterranean space.

    Monsieur G by Decus

    “Design is not singularly about aesthetics; it encompasses all the senses,” Decus founding director Alexandra Donohoe told est in her esteemed 10 interview. This approach underpins her Monsieur G underground cellar. Painted in a soft eucalyptus green and lined with terrazzo floor tiles, the space has a grounding presence. Decus leaned into the home’s 1940s bones through the dramatic arched doorway and statement wall sconce.

    Fitzroy Bridge House by Matt Gibson Architecture + Design

    The brief to Matt Gibson Architecture + Design for their original Fitzroy building was to design an authentic and responsive edition – one that was both respectful of its past and representative of the family that lived there. The architecture studio created an arresting underground cellar clad entirely in timber panels and softly lit from the ground up. A central island bench encourages coming together, while a mirrored wall makes the basement-level wine cellar enhances the sense of space.

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