Man Turns Cave Into His Home

Angelo stands on the patio outside the completed Rockhouse

I saw an episode of Grand Designs which probably had the most interesting idea I have ever seen about building a house. The irony is that it was actually the very first idea of a dwelling… This idea was not actually about building a house, rather carving one out of rocks. Angelo Mastropietro is the man who bought the 800 year old Hobbit-hole. He was a former business man who was diagnosed with MS so he dedicated himself to creating his dream “man-cave”. (The whole episode can be found at the end of this post!)

The cave was abandoned in the late 1940s and has been falling into disrepair ever since. Pictured: Presenter Kevin McCloud helps Mr Mastropieto create a built-in wardrobe in what will eventually become one of the cave's bedrooms 

Angelo sits in the Rockhouse's bathtub

At first we see him carving out the walls for a fireplace or the bath. I really appreciated that he was so determined to pursue his ideas, he was doing everything himself. Partially because there were no solid plans. As the host says, there is no tutorial that can be found for carving out a cave. So he only had ideas and he was trying to make them work somehow. There was a major problem with the bath but even though he worked so hard carving it, he was still happy.

After the walls were handled there were bigger problems. Electricity, water and heating systems were to be replaced.

He bought the cave (pictured from outside before the makeover) for £62,000 after seeing it advertised  in the local property supplement

Probably out of ignorance, I think the way these modern day problems were handled, looked magical. In the end, the cave had floor heating system, a very well functioning shower, electricity and dry walls. It even had wifi… The biggest question on the show was whether the house would be able to preserve its cave-feeling and its paleolythical origins. That, I think, was well preserved with the interior. I was quite surprised about the amount of light that gets into the cave.


And here’s the episode of Grand Designs showing the whole process:


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