Turning a cave into a modern home is not easy or cheap, as homeowner Angelo Mastropietro discovered.
He invested £162,000 ($204,000) – and lots of physical labor — to transform an abandoned cave into a state-of-the-art off-grid home. But he says it was worth it.
“In the end I had spent somewhere around 1,000 hours basically breaking rock, cutting burrowing rock,” Mastropietro said. “… Somewhere about 70 or 80 tons of rubble that I excavated out of this rock house by hand.”
The finished home has wi-fi, forced air central heating and a wood stove. There’s an 80-foot terrace around the house, as well as modern windows.
Mastropietro’s house, located in the Wyre Forest in Worcestershire, England, is one of the oldest rock homes in Europe, Britain’s Daily Mail reported. Families lived in the caves for 800 years until the 1940s.
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The cave is located in 50-foot-high sandstone cliffs that reportedly inspired J.R.R. Tolkien to write The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.
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Mastropietro stumbled upon the cave during a bike ride in 1999. Eleven years later, in 2010, he purchased it for £62,000 ($78,000) and went to work.
Transforming a cave into a home is far from easy. It took Mastropietro 11 days just to cut a door through five feet of rock. He also had to drill a 262-foot deep well through stone to get water. Other modern touches include ventilation channels cut into the floor, and skylights.
The most incredible aspect of the project: Mastropietro is battling multiple sclerosis (MS), which left him temporarily paralyzed in 2007. That disease forced Mastropietro to change his life; he quit his job as head of a successful recruitment company and returned to his native Worcestershire from Australia and bought the cave.
“I have literally been paralyzed before and it does put the fear of God into you really,” Mastropietro told the newspaper.
“I love a challenge,” Mastropietro said of his reason for taking on the project. “Coincidentally, my surname actually means master of the stones, so you know maybe it’s in my blood.”
The cave home, he says, is good for his health.
“MS was triggered by health and lifestyle and that was the catalyst I needed to remind me that I needed to be mindful of my health and be respectful of my lifestyle,” Mastropietro added. “I wanted to be in a place where I had a happier and healthier life.”
He hopes to live in the cave full-time sometime in the near future.
His cave home was featured on a popular British TV show, Grand Designs.
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