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Category: Carved earth

CASE STUDY : Chez Hélène-Amboise Troglodyte

An amazing example of an affordable, long-lived modern cave home – the Chez Hélène-Amboise Troglodyte is a rags-to-riches story of a home blossoming within a family. A cave home acquired in modern times for One Euro at auction from a family member, this beautifully rustic cave home was renovated for just under $50k. And even better – one room of the renovated cave house is now for rental essentially as a bed-and-breakfast through AirBNB!

CASE STUDY : Coober Pedy Underground Bed and Breakfast

Situated underground amidst the hostile, arid environment of coober pedy, this bed and breakfast slash underground house makes great use of the environment at hand.

Book Review : “The $50 and up underground house book : How to design and build underground”, by Mike Oehler

To start my book reviews for, I had to go big. “The $50 and up underground house book” is probably one of the most well-known, well-marketed books on affordable underground home construction. You can hardly do a search for the subject without stumbling on countless references, and at the very least one can consider it a classic in it’s field. The book offers a fairly comprehensive, diverse perspective geared torwards survivalism and rustic earthen roof homes, mostly made out of natural log materials. The title says it all – bare-bones, cheap, fairly eco-friendly homes that you can make out of a variety of material types. The author claims to have constructed a “basic model” for literally under $50, using just a few hardware-store items and a cheap heating stove along side plenty of gathered lumber and natural wood to construct the house, and although small to contemporary standards the house illustrated definitely has a generous amount of rustic charm.
Now, as with any review, there are a few downsides to the book. The book meanders quite a bit towards otherwise-unrelated liberty and survivalist rants, and although it’s not off-putting for the most part, it does do a little injustice to the information that could have been otherwise presented there. Also, it does present a few outdated methods and construction techniques that wouldn’t otherwise pass most building codes, but in his defense a lot of underground home building techniques may not either.
All in all, I would recommend it be in the library of any underground home enthusiast, but it may be more of a source of underground building inspiration than a go-to source for other types of underground homes.
B&W with one color insert and color cover, softback, 1978 and 1979