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Souterrains

Souterrains (or from the French word sous terrain means "Underground") in this century dates back to the Iron Age. These passages, caverns or caves were used as living spaces, storage facilities or passageways for assisting persons who needed an escape route. France, Ireland and Scotland still hold many olden time souterrains.


Modern Souterrain Home

The essential element of a Souterrain is functionality. Depending on the accessibility and structure, the uses of a Souterrain can be limitless. Souterrains can be underground dwellings themselves, or can serve as basements to houses that are above ground or earth sheltered.

Some houses built in modern times that use Souterrains as basements or even underground garages do so for ease of access to plumbing, cable television access points, heating and central air ducts. Boilers to facilitate heating are often located in this area as well.

Talking Crude …

The uses of a Souterrain, although multiple, can also depend on existing geological factors, and building codes for the particular region. In the early building periods a Souterrain was used many times as a crude storage space.

Now, however, they can be as gorgeous as any above ground living space. A well planned Souterrain is easily transformed when during the construction phase the crucial elements of design and layout are already taken into consideration.


Half Excavated Irish Souterrain

Consider when creating a habitable Souterrain the elements in the above ground level and try to incorporate close to if not the same elements. Think about the introduction of natural light and air with the insertions of windows, and depending on the land slope, a door. While this option may not be open to homes already constructed you can still add elements to make the occupants feel comfortable in their new below ground pad.

Blah, Blah, Blah …

Ideally there will be a concrete floor and columns already in place to work with. Covering the exposed rafters and ductwork with typical ceiling material and paint is a great start. Make good uneven concrete floor and install wooden flooring. This brings a look of quality to an otherwise bland or blah space.

Shift all laundry, storage items and access points to an area that can be cornered off from the rest of the living space. Insulate if not already done so and cover insulation with drywall or other quality building materials. Divide space into rooms as necessary. Install elegant roof or wall lighting. To spice things up a little more add paintings and wall décor to otherwise bare wall spaces.

Conclusion …

With these little changes you can create an entire upmarket living space ready to receive occupants. This Souterrian living space can be extremely comfortable and inviting. If done well it can also add increase value of your home.


External Links

http://highlandfolk.museum/raitts.php

http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/39728

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1_ZWaIiAjk4

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CgUxm9bNNoo


 
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