Thanks to the likes of James Bond, the trappings of spy-dom have long attracted jealous eyes and vivid imaginations of many who long for a walk on the wild side of espionage.
All it takes is one look at the famous futuristic home used in "Diamonds Are Forever" to get a grip on the lifestyle of such a rich, famous and secretive underworld. In addition to the flying cars, yachts and intriguing weaponry, 007 wannabes have also been exposed to the fancy digs of secret agents.
Beyond the Elrod house — the Palm Springs, Calif., beauty designed by architect John Lautner featured in "Diamonds Are Forever" — there are plenty of other unique and compelling dwellings fit for a spy. We’ve rounded a few of them up for scrutiny.
Safe and sound in Scottsdale, Ariz.
8300 E. Dixileta Dr., Unit 268, Scottsdale, Ariz. (below)
For sale: $2,999,000
While this nearly $3 million Scottsdale, Ariz., home features green building standards and state-of-the-art electronics and appliances, it also holds an enormous built-in safe complete with a gleaming vault handle.
Situated on the outskirts of the city, the mansion isn’t private but could be the perfect cover for a spy looking to blend right in. The home includes 3 bedrooms, 5.5 bathrooms and nearly 7,000 square feet of living space, as well as numerous outdoor patios and a six-car detached garage.
2327 Diamond J Place, Reno, Nev. (below)
For sale: $1,495,000
Need some serious camouflage? Here it is: A stone fortress north of Reno, Nev. The interior of this Reno home continues the stone theme with slab floors and an enormous, multilevel rock fireplace. For the spy with a yen to be green, the house has low utility bills courtesy of a passive solar design, low-E windows (low emissivity windows are designed to conserve energy) and solar-generated water heater. Forget about intruders: A high-tech security system keeps the resident spy safe and sound.
San Francisco speakeasy
2 18th Ave., San Francisco, Calif. (below)
For sale: $3,995,000
This turn-of-the-20th century home in the San Francisco real estate market may have even seen its share of spies back in the day. According to the homeowner Patricia Dodson, the house likely operated as a speakeasy during the heyday of Prohibition. The lower level contains a bar, a secret entrance, and a hidden getaway exit to the garden — all still intact.
The only major change made to the speakeasy by the homeowners was to widen the windows. Prohibition is long over, after all. Located on the edge of Presidio National Park, the estate features many period details, including hand-carved wood moldings, coiffured ceilings and stained-glass windows; a perfect spot for the modern-day Mata Hari.
Happiness is a heliport
5605 W. Lake Road, Vermilion, Ohio (below)
For sale: $19,500,000
The design for Waterwood Estate was not intended for a spy, but the millionaire owner who had the place built had a reputation for being exceedingly private. In fact, architect Hugh Jacobsen specifically designed the landscaping with waterfalls, ponds, and excavated hills to ensure the home’s complete, nearly spy-like seclusion. The "castle" is not even visible from the main road. The home was built and owned by the inventor of the drop ceiling, Don Brown, who along with his wife was killed in a plane crash in 2010.
Made up of a series of interconnected glass pods, the Vermilion home includes an underground floor, five bars, a barber shop, and an indoor heliport — essential in any spy-action movie. The place also contains gated dog runs that used to allow Brown’s Dobermans to be released every two hours to ensure the grounds were clear of any unwanted intruders.
Holy bat cave!
24738 Retreat Dr., Hermosa, S.D. (below)
For sale: $199,000
South Dakota may not pop to mind as the usual spy hangout, but that could make a home for sale in Hermosa, S.D., the oddly perfect place for the undercover secret agent — especially since the home comes with a lighted cave.
The three-bedroom, three-bath home is remarkably large, with nearly 3,000 square feet of living space as well as a second garage, and two additional storage buildings — a possible place to store additional spy gadgets.
Quick escape in Laguna Beach, Calif.
32013 Point Place, Laguna Beach, Calif. (below)
For Sale: $9,995,000
It doesn’t matter whether you’re James Bond or Jason Bourne, true movie spies have to escape the bad guys in style. This Laguna Beach, Calif., home for sale has the perfect place to store the getaway car once the chase is over: A subterranean parking garage with hydraulic car lift. From the garage, any ol’ spy can walk from a secret tunnel to the main home’s entrance — far from prying eyes. Perched on a bluff above the Laguna Beach coastline, the mansion’s walls of glass give the homeowner a birds-eye view of exactly who’s coming up the coast.
Stealth trappings in Saranac, N.Y.
127 Standish Road, Saranac, N.Y.
For sale: $750,000
Sometimes a spy needs to lay low — and far from the glamour of London or the glitter of Vegas. So, we bring you to a converted missile silo in the heart of the Adirondacks. About four hours north of New York City, on four remote acres, sits a stealth Saranac home for sale that is truly unlike any other.
Only one-third of the home is visible, since the rest of the rooms are underground and accessible only through a steel-bolted door. A separate 180-foot deep silo is also finished and usable as another living space. And for those quick getaways, take comfort in knowing the place comes with its own airstrip.
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