If you’ve ever wanted to live off the grid in a self-sustaining way, you might want to check out the cave house of a man named Grant Johnson, which is located just outside of Boulder, Utah. He lives in a mountain inside the Grand Staircase-Escalante Monument (it’s now an inholding within park boundaries) — but this place isn’t exactly what you’d expect. It’s a 5,700-square-foot dwelling, complete with modern amenities such as hydroelectricity, climate controls, a gas barbecue grill and cell phone service (well, as long as you have Verizon, in some areas of the home).
Johnson moved to Utah at the age of 17, when he started working for mining companies while finishing school. That’s when he learned the skills he would need to build his residence. He purchased his 40 acres of land in 1980, but didn’t originally conceive of his blasted-into-the-rock cave home until later.
In 1995, he blasted a small tunnel into the face of the mountain, which started the idea. It took him eight winters of blasting to clear out the space, and then he spent more time coming up with the money to build into it. He lived in a trailer onsite for 25 years without water or electricity while the project was being completed.
Today, the place houses enough living space for Johnson and his partner, Gina (along with their dogs and cats), plus a music room for jamming. It also includes a two-bedroom, one-bath apartment that you can rent through Airbnb for about $355 a night. Outside, there’s an orchard and animals (cows, horses, pigs) that help provide food for the owners, plus a water wheel to generate electric power.
The Airbnb listing for the “Bedrock Homestead Cave” calls it a “rugged but comfortable stay,” noting that guests will have to use a four-wheel-drive vehicle to reach it — the route involves crossing a river, according to reviewers — and there’s no Wi-Fi.
The description reads, “The cave is a free-standing rock that your host, Grant, blasted and carved into his custom home. It’s finished with glass openings for uninterrupted views of the Grand Staircase-Escalante Monument. Like sitting in a painting. The cave’s a fascinating work of art, while the surrounding homestead is a master example of sustainable living. Grant lives here year-round, and has farmed this land for 30 years.”
Here’s an example of the view guests will see out their door. The cave is about two hours away from the nearest traffic light, making this a great site for star-gazing and hiking.
Intrigued? If so, you’re going to want to check out the video feature and virtual tour of Johnson’s home, posted to YouTube by Tiny House Giant Journey.
“People really feel a lot of inspiration here from all different angles,” Johnson said in the video, calling the experience “positive living in a negative space.”
Doesn’t look so negative to us, though! We’re packed and ready to go.