Truly, madly, deeply: meet the people turning their basements into secret fantasy worlds
It’s one thing turning your basement into a wine cellar, but some people are building replica streets, theme parks and even trains beneath their homes
When Jason Shron and his wife, Sidura, were house hunting in 2007, the Canadian model-train-seller would always head to the basement before viewing any other room. In fact, Shron had only viewed the basement of his current family home when he told his estate agent he’d purchase the property: provided Sidura liked the upstairs, he was ready to go. Shron needed the perfect basement because, for nearly 30 years, he had dreamed of building a life-size replica of a 1970s Canadian VIA Rail railway carriage inside his house, the exact train that took him from Toronto to Montreal to visit his grandmother when he was a little boy.
Step inside Shron’s basement today and you will be greeted by a 200lb blue-and-yellow train door. As you pass through it, an MP3 player will hiss the sounds of air circulation accompanied by the squeaking of gangway connections. Inside the carriage there are rows of vintage reclinable red-and-orange-striped seats, luggage racks, a real VIA garbage can removed from a scrapped train and a metal sign instructing passengers that smoking is indeed permitted. What Shron couldn’t find on the scrap heap, he made. He printed out orange litter bags, custom-printed napkins and engraved wine glasses.