One feature which is frequently overlooked in the design of a new home is where to put a safe or vault room. Too often the homeowner calls us after the house is built, and then it is more difficult to find a good place for the right safe. In the home pictured, a cubby hole was built so that the owner’s gun safe fits right where he wanted it, and it does not stick out into the room.
Most owners of medium to high-end homes have need of a safe. Everyone has important documents that should be kept private and protected from fire – wills, trust papers, investments, mortgage papers, etc. Many homeowners also keep substantial amounts of cash, jewelry, metals, coins, stamps, sports memorabilia, and so on.
Each application has different requirements. For example, if a woman regularly wears expensive jewelry she should have a jewelry safe located where she dresses, so she can access it easily. If the safe is in the basement she will still leave her jewelry sitting out. Cleaning people may then be tempted, or someone who breaks into the home for a quick “grab and run” may find it. If her safe is small it should not sit on the floor. Getting down on hands and knees to look for a ring or necklace is inconvenient. And remember that as she gets older her knees and back will give her more trouble. A small safe mounted securely at about eye level works out much better, and tall skinny unit works even better. Proper planning when the home is designed makes these options possible. Likewise, putting a vault door or a really heavy safe in a home is much easier if planning is done in advance.
If you are the builder or architect, make sure to ask the homeowner about safes early in the process. If you are the homeowner, don’t be tempted to put this issue off until later.