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Why You (Probably Don’t) Need a Panic Room in Your House

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Given the nature of our business, we work with a lot of high-profile clientele. Some of them are looking for panic rooms in their homes, while others are looking for ways to fortify both the interior and the exterior, essentially turning the entire home into an impenetrable fortress.

We’ve designed custom security doors and windows for Hollywood A-Listers, professional athletes and musicians, as well as lesser-known people on the Forbes 50. The common thread among all these people is simple: they’re in the public eye, they’re wealthy, and they have a desire to protect themselves — but most importantly, their families — from anyone who may be targeting them.

People in the public eye deal with a level of scrutiny and attention that is far more intrusive than ever before. They’re chased by aggressive paparazzi, stalkers (mostly men stalking women, though not always), and unfortunately, people trying to do them actual physical harm. 

Perhaps the most famous example being John Lennon, who was shot while trying to enter his apartment building in New York City in 1980 by someone who simply wanted to be famous. In 1989, My Sister Sam actress Rebecca Schaeffer was shot standing in the doorway of her home by her stalker of three years, prompting a change in California privacy law. In 2016, a Florida man obsessed with rising star from The Voice, Christina Grimmie, shot and killed her during a meet and greet after a concert. 

These kinds of threats cause stars to pay exorbitant amounts of money on personal security and safety measures. They have armed security guards, attack dogs, and panic rooms, and they’re still concerned for their safety. 

A photo of an interior security door to a bedroom panic room.

Protecting yourself and your family out in public is one thing — there are a lot of variables in play and it’s far less predictable — but at home, feeling safe should be a given. It’s understandable that people would want to put a safe room in their homes, especially if they’re being stalked. 

But while panic rooms are often a suggested solution, they’re not necessarily the only answer. Here’s why you (probably don’t) need a panic room in your house.

Panic Rooms are a Waste of Valuable Space

Both architects and interior designers dislike including a panic room in homes they design. First of all, traditional fortified safe rooms are a simple waste of space — they’re typically small rooms (because no one wants to dedicate a lot of space to them) that quickly feel claustrophobic when you’re enclosed in them. And the longer you’re in them, the worse you feel.

The space you use for a panic room — no matter how big or small — could have been used for functional space you actually enjoy using. It could have been part of your eat-in kitchen, a spacious downstairs bath for guests (instead of the tiny water closet under the staircase), or a reading nook filled with fluffy pillows and warm blankets in your family room.

Furthermore, panic rooms are supposed to be windowless boxes so the intruder cannot see you, which means you’ll either be placing it on the interior of the home, or forfeiting a piece of empty wall where there could have a giant window to let in natural light. 

To give up that valuable space for a room you hope you never have to use is frankly, sad. Choosing to install custom security doors and windows in your bedroom is a much better solution for a safe room. It’s already a room you’ll need in your house, but it’s fortified and completely secure. You get to use every square inch of space your house’s footprint affords you — without making compromises.

A photo of an interior security door to a panic room.

Panic Rooms are Terrifying in and of Themselves

The trouble with panic rooms is that they’re the place you go when you’re… well, panicked. Furthermore, you don’t relax when you get into the panic room. You’re tense the entire time you’re in there — worrying about what’s going on outside the room, if the intruder is getting into the house, and when the police will arrive — if they arrive.

Did you call them? Did someone see the intruder breaking into the house and call on your behalf? You have cellphone reception in your panic room, right? Did you remember your cellphone? Or did you leave it in the living room in your panic? Do you have a landline telephone in the safe room, just in case?

Furthermore, police response times aren’t particularly stellar all the time — it depends on where you live and the nature of your emergency. Home invasion doesn’t necessarily warrant the same level of urgency as “shots fired,” and while you certainly don’t want either to be the case for you, you definitely don’t want to wait an eternity for the police to arrive in what feels like a definite emergency to you. 

Sandra Bullock hid in her closet with the door locked (in her bedroom, with a “safe door” on it) for 16 minutes waiting for the police to arrive while her stalker walked around her house. 16 minutes isn’t a long time when you’re thinking in terms of say, a sitcom (which runs about 22 minutes), but when you’re sure — or even just suspicious — that someone you don’t know is pacing around your home looking for you, 16 minutes is an eternity

When you’re on the phone with a 911 dispatcher, the minutes crawl by. Five minutes waiting for help when you’re scared feels like a long time — let alone 10 or 15. Those 16 minutes may have been the longest minutes of her entire life. 

If you’re going to be locked inside a room waiting for the police to arrive, you might as well do it in a comfortable room surrounded by things that can calm you down — your favorite weighted blanket, guided meditation exercises, or a book to take your mind off things. 

And while it might seem unfathomable that you’re reading a book while a stranger walks around your home, creating a Sanctuary in your home can afford you the peace of mind you need while you wait for the police to arrive. No one is getting through our fortified doors and windows, and including BallistiCrete can ensure no one gets through the walls either.

A photo of double doors leading to a master bedroom suite serving as a panic room.

Why a Panic Room is Not the Answer

Most of our clients are less concerned with the daylight hours than they are at night. During the day, they can be more alert — they’d hear glass shattering or a door being kicked in. It’s nighttime that they’re worried about. They don’t want to wake up to an intruder in the house. The dark makes it more difficult to see, and they’d be forced to go from a restful sleep to a heightened state of alertness very quickly.

Many of our clients have chosen to fortify their bedrooms for this exact reason. With our high security windows and state-of-the-art keyless entry on our custom security doors, no one will be sneaking up on you in the middle of the night. 

Some of our clients have chosen to fortify additional spaces, like their kids’ bedrooms or an entire section of the house. Some have even chosen to put our security doors and windows on the entire house. It really just depends on the level of security your specific situation may require and your own comfort level.

How to Turn Your Bedroom into a Sanctuary

Call us crazy, but we believe your home should be the place you feel the safest. You shouldn’t be worried about someone losing touch with reality and trying to force themselves into your home or your life. But unfortunately, with wealth and fame (and the social media aspect of the 21st century) come people who may feel like they actually know you — when they really don’t. And that’s when things can get really scary.

One Florida man has been arrested on multiple occasions for (literally) breaking into Taylor Swift’s home by smashing glass. One of those times, he was found lying in her bed after using her shower. Thankfully, she wasn’t home and no one was injured, but the psychological toll that such an event would leave on a person isn’t easily solved by a 6-month jail sentence. Could you ever sleep in that bed again?

And while it’s more common that stalkers are obsessed with women, there are plenty of male celebrities who have experienced the terrifying ordeal of having a stranger enter their home without anyone’s knowledge. Keanu Reeves encountered two unwanted visitors in one month back in 2014. The first, he discovered himself in his library (he calmly called the police, as one would expect from the nicest person in Hollywood). The second though, used his shower and was discovered swimming naked in his pool by his staff (this time, Reeves wasn’t home).

While Swift and Reeves have thus far been unharmed during their break-ins, the very thought of this being a possibility is enough to send most people into a panic — especially if they have children. 

If you want to have a safe room in your home — protected from anyone uninvited — the answer is to create a Sanctuary. By using a combination of custom security doors, windows, BallistiCrete hardening technology, and state-of-the-art biometric and keyless entry panels, we can create a space for you that no one is entering unless you’ve specifically allowed them to.

A photo of the interior of a bedroom serving as a panic room.

Our Sanctuary system turns your bedroom into an impenetrable fortress. No one will be kicking down doors (they’re more likely to hurt themselves trying). They won’t be able to steal a key and duplicate it (because they’re simply isn’t one). The BallistiCrete will stop any bullet some tries to shoot at you — and so will our armored windows. 

If you don’t believe us, check out the video on our windows page that shows two fully grown men trying to break one of our windows with an axe and then a sledgehammer, and then both together. 450 blows later, the window was still intact, and the men had to stop because they were tired. Trust us when we say that no one is breaking this window to get into your bedroom and lay in your bed. And yes, this is the same glass that can be put in French doors.

Our doors can be made so they self-close and self-lock — an issue that would have solved Sandra Bullock’s problem when her stalker entered her home through a door that had been inadvertently left unlocked.

Panic Rooms are a Thing of the Past

Why would you waste valuable space in your home on a sad, windowless panic room when you can make your bedroom into a luxurious fortress fit for a King (or Queen) instead? We can help you create the luxury home of your dreams that also provides a space where you feel completely safe. 

We believe that whether you’re building a new home or remodeling an existing one, there should be no reason to sacrifice your design aesthetic for security — and there’s certainly no reason to make your home less secure to match your style. We can make your custom security doors anything you can think of, from wood veneer to bulletproof glass to marble to hand-stitched leather. If you can dream it, we can build it.

And if you need help figuring out what kind of coverings might match your home or your style, or if you need to see some examples, we’ve got plenty to share. We can do single, double, French, sliding, or pivot doors on the interior or exterior of the home. 

We believe your home — and especially your bedroom — is a sacred place where you should be able to rest and relax. We’d love to help you realize your completely fortified and secure luxury dream home.  

We’re always available to chat on the phone, but you can also email us or make an appointment to see one of our showrooms. In the meantime, check out our common questions and browse around the website to get an idea as to what we can do for you. If you don’t see a feature you want, be sure to ask! We’re willing to bet we can make it happen. 

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