Four teenagers stumbled upon an incredible collection of prehistoric cave paintings in 1940. While historians, conservationists, and archaeologists discuss the importance of the 17,000-year-old Lascaux caves this week, we felt inspired by the underground complex to explore homes that have been tucked away in caves across the world. Eco-friendly, earth homes have become increasingly popular, so it should come as no surprise that homeowners are writing their own page in a Tolkien tale by setting up camp in these natural shelters. The green benefits are a big draw, but several modern cavepeople are proving that the alternative dwellings don’t have to sacrifice style and comfort. Check out a few amazing cave homes we’d totally live in past the break. Feel free to share your favorites in the comments below.
Real-Life Flinstones Cave Home
This striking stone house is located in Nas montanhas de Fafe in Portugal and looks like a remnant from the fictional town of Bedrock. It’s actually a holiday home set in the countryside. Not much is known about the spherical boulder on a lush hill, but we adore its mini cave construction, because it reminds us of the Flintstones.
Modern Sandstone Cave Home
One family built their dream home inside of a 15,000-square foot sandstone cave in Festus, Missouri. The location was previously used as a roller-skating rink and concert venue that hosted the likes of Tina Turner and Ted Nugent. (The Nuge as a caveman? Shocking!) Unfinished stone walls, geothermal heat, and energy-efficient touches give this home a green thumbs up. How did the family avoid living in a sandy mess? They created interior roofs over areas of the three-chamber house.
Ancient Cave Home
We’ve written about the underground city of Derinkuyu in Turkey and the historical region of Cappadocia before. The soft, volcanic rock makes it a prime subterranean real estate space. Caves in the former religious refuge built during the 7th and 8th centuries B.C. are available to rent and buy. Surprisingly, the style of each cave home varies, sporting many contemporary designs in the ancient space. No two caves are alike. Be prepared to descend eleven stories deep into the earth if you become a Cappadocia resident and head out for a night on the town.
Sustainable Hobbit Cave Home
Dietikon, Switzerland is home to a complex of nine caves built by architect Peter Vetsch who covered his Hobbit-esque dwellings with nothing but the earth around them. The grassy, concrete-sprayed domes utilize recycled glass insulation foam, a root-resistant Polymer bitumen vapour barrier, geotextile fabric, and excavation material. Some of the rooftops contain gardens, while others remain completely natural — disappearing into the landscape.
Greek Island Cave Home
The Santorini Cave House in Greece — named after the Aegean island it sits on — has ancient roots, but has been preserved with contemporary additions that refined its natural elegance. Local craftsmen kept the traditional Santorianian style in mind, but used eco-friendly materials throughout the home. The cave rests on the same land that guards used set up camp and watch for pirates centuries ago.
Cozy Cave Lodge
The secluded Beckham Creek Cave Lodge sits on a 280-acre estate in the Ozark countryside. Preserving the natural beauty of the peaceful landscape was paramount for the owners who maintained the lodge’s open living plan to invite natural sunlight and scenery into the cozy abode.
The Rock Cottage consists of three adjoining caves and was built in the 1770s. It has doors, windows, and all the normal home fixtures — apart from electricity and running water, that is. The rocky home embedded in a sandstone cliff is located on five acres of woodlands and gardens in Wolverley, Worcestershire, England.
Red Rock Cave Home
Someone’s living large in Utah where the Cave Palace Ranch sits on 100 acres of land, nestled in a majestic red rock cave. Four alcoves house a master bedroom with deck, a living room and dining room, two additional bedrooms, and a sleeping loft. Solar panels provide power and an underground well supplies fresh water. The window-filled façade betrays the home’s cave structure with an abundance of natural light.
Elven Cave Cottage
If you have a spare $1,500,000 hanging around, you can buy The Cave House in Bisee, Arizona. It’s pretty damn cute, so you might want to consider quitting your day job and getting elven inside the underground retreat. If the mountain stream-fed pools, library, and 37 acres of incredible views don’t make you want to run for the hills, we recommend watching more Peter Jackson films.
Teletubby Cave Home
The Malator in Druidstone, Wales has a turf roof with peephole doorway. It’s been nicknamed the Teletubby house for obvious reasons, but we actually think it’s quite cool. Below ground, a giant room is colorful and contemporary — vastly different from the nearly invisible, glass exterior. Prefabricated pods keep things neatly divided and organized in the small space.