More Local News That I was Too Busy To Cover

If every house in the US was designed like this we would not have a problem. Man was destined to live in very modern and comfortable caves…Like Hobbits. And they are SAFE.

Underground house is cozy abode for family in DeKalb




DeKALB — It took a lot of convincing before Diane and Don Harvey’s daugh­ter would bring friends to their rural DeKalb home.

“She was embarrassed be­cause we lived in a basement,” Diane Harvey said. “All her friends liked to come here when it stormed, though, because they figured it was the safest place in town.”

Since moving into the single-floor underground building in 1989, Diane and Don Harvey have converted the Old Mayfield Grange Hall on Five Points Road into a comfortable, normal-look­ing house. What now holds childhood memories for the Har-veys’ kids once was a simple gathering space for an entire farming community.

“Basically, this was the only place in the area other than church basements and their own lawns to hold receptions in,” said Wilma Womack, Diane’s mother. “Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts had their meetings

here, wedding receptions and anniversary parties — it was a meeting hall for everybody out here.”

When the building first went on the market, it was a hot prop­erty for those looking for a blank canvas.

“There were a lot of people who were very upset that we managed to scoop it up quickly,” Diane Harvey said. “There was one real estate investor who wanted to turn it into apart­ments, but we got the bid be­cause we didn’t want to change the structure of the building.”

When the Harveys moved into the building, the only amenities were the four outside walls and a wall down the center of the structure, which was immediate­ly torn down.

“We didn’t even have hot water,” Diane Harvey said. “We boiled water on the stove to take showers. It felt like we were pio­neers.”

The children hung curtains from the ceiling and placed fur­niture along the outside of each makeshift room to create their own walls.

“We had to make do,” Diane Harvey said. “With three kids in high school, where is all our money going to go? It wasn’t going to put walls up, that’s for sure.”

After nearly two decades, the underground building still con­tains possibilities for the Harvey family, including a potential sec­ond floor. Two staircases leading to the ceiling of the home are used as storage space, but serve as reminders of what was once destined for the building.

“They were originally going to build a second floor, and we wanted to build on top as well,” Don Harvey said. “The ceilings have 24-inch footers, so it was meant to be built on top.”

Despite no plans for expan­sion, the Harveys are glad to have purchased the four cement walls they have made into a home. The low nature of the un­derground home provides pro­tection from sound as well as weather.

“A tornado wouldn’t move the place,” Don Harvey said. “It might take the roof off, but we aren’t going anywhere.”

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