Sometimes, people feel the need to get away from the city and spend their lives in the great outdoors. That was especially true for a former miner named Grant Johnson. After he purchased a plot of land miles away from civilization, he had the idea to turn it into one of the most unique houses on earth. And you can stay there too.
Grant The Miner
At age 17, Grant Johnson found himself working as a miner in Moab, Utah. While working underground was difficult, he was always up for the challenge.
This career set him up to be very self-sufficient and resourceful when it came to construction. Being a miner would soon help him in the long run.
Heading To Boulder
Grant loved the area of Moab, Utah, and decided to buy some land nearby. He eventually settled on a plot of land on the outskirts of Boulder in 1980.
He ended up with about 40 acres of untouched land and was ready to make it into his new home. It was time to get to work.
Living Off The Land
Grant was now about two hours away from civilization, so things such as basic roads and even people were a rare sighting.
However, he made the best out of this situation. He set up an equine riding trail business, so travelers could get around on horseback. There was still time to get to his real goal.
Making His Dream Come True
It was now 1996, 16 years after he first purchased the land, and Grant was ready to start building his dream home. All he needed was some dynamite.
First, he blew up holes on the side of a huge mass of bedrock. This might seem dangerous, but Grant knew exactly what he was doing.
Grant Was A Visionary
Creating a massive hole inside a giant rock might seem reckless, but Grant was just getting started.
“One theme I’ve always heard is, a lot of people don’t know what they want, y’know? But man, I always knew, even if it was ridiculous,” said Grant in 2020. He was already quite the visionary.
Not Giving Up
Grant still had doubts about his house that he would be built solely out of rock but was able to figure out how to reach his goal.
“My original plan was to find a place in the wilderness and the canyons and irrigate, y’know? And grow my food, out in the wilderness,” said Grant.
Starting With Nothing
Grant was out in the middle of nowhere when he purchased his plot of land in the early 1980s, so he needed to figure out how to get supplies.
“This was nothing but desert here when I moved here. We lived without electricity or running water or anything for about 25 years in a 19-foot trailer just south of this rock,” said Grant.
Getting The Dynamite
The first thing he figured he needed to get things started was dynamite. “The rock was perfect – and I knew it – but I never really thought about it, because I didn’t think I could buy dynamite,” said Grant.
After he started working with a road crew in 1998, he was able to meet a supplier who had no problem selling him some dynamite.
A Giant Blast
“I blasted a little tunnel here first. From the first blast I was committed, you know. And then there were eight winters, probably, of blasting. And also, I was always out in the wilderness, spring and fall, and half of the summer,” said Grant.
Slowly, but surely Grant was making serious progress on his dream home.
There Was Potential
After about eight years of construction, Grant had managed to build a series of caverns into the bedrock.
While this might not seem like much, he knew there was a ton of potential for this cave home. The idea he had in his mind was for it to look as though it could blend right in to its surroundings.
Piecing It Together
“I wanted to not see anything, I just wanted it to be glass,” said Grant. He was able to get one of his construction friends to help him piece the home together.
They were able to carve out wall grooves to slide sheets of glass and made supports for the walls out of steel beams.
Leading By Example
During the time Grant was building his cave home, he was also living life off the grid. The Boulder area is extremely isolated, so he needed to find a way to adapt.
He would do things to live totally self-sufficient, such as having extra supplies on hand in case of an emergency.
Life Off The Grid Isn’t Easy
While some people can’t wait to escape civilization, it can be a really tough thing to do.
“That’d never been my approach. It is there, you want to be able to take care of yourself. But for me, it’s lifestyle, it’s health,” said Grant. It was a ton of physical labor and financial burdens, but Grant figured out what to do.
Getting Running Water
One of Grant’s main concerns was to get running water to his land. In order to do this, he had to pipe some from a local source.
The most convenient source he was able to find was from a pond that was located on his plot just a little uphill from the home. He piped the water 6,500 feet downhill to a 22-foot wooden wheel.
Running Water Seemed Simple To Grant
Grant was pleased he could figure out two of his most important resources; water and power.
“I always knew if we could afford to do it, we’d have gravity flow because we’re a mile below the pond. We have gravity-flow water, so I just plugged into it – put in a turbine to produce our electricity off of it,” said Grant.
With Water Comes Endless Possibilities
Grant now had a steady flow of water, which meant he could start planting seeds to grow food.
His land now has an entire farm and orchid where Grant gets all of his meals. “The biggest crop is tomatoes and peppers. And then corn, potatoes, and lots of garlic,” said Grant.
Here Come The Animals
Since Grant now has a working farm, he was able to add lots of livestock. His cows provide him with endless dairy products and he uses both his cows and pigs for different meat options.
While the farm takes up a lot of his time, he still put a lot of effort into his home’s interior.
Going Inside The Cave Home
Grant was able to use a lot of space to make the cave home of his dreams. After he was finished, it was a total of five thousand square feet.
Even though the entire home was build out of a bedrock, Grant kept the natural aesthetic to give it a unique and comfortable vibe.
Letting Some Light In
One of the most important features for Grant as he was building the home were the glass panes. Caves can get pretty dark, so this lets in all sorts of natural light.
The house is centered around the large and open living room, complete with comfortable chairs and a charming view.
Bringing His Passion Inside The House
While Grant loves living off the grid, he also has a strong passion for music. He built a man-cave that he calls the “jam room.”
There are all sorts of instruments included such as a guitar and bongo drum for him and other guests to explore. There’s even a little stage for guests to perform.
Another Cool Feature For The Bedrooms
Grant isn’t the only one with a fun bedroom. Sleeping in a place such as this may seem unreal and there are some cool features that come with the bedrooms.
All the bedrooms are connected by a bridge, which is one of the few artificial structures in the cave home. It’s made of mostly steel.
Design Ideas Keep Coming
Grant didn’t want the bridge inside the home to distract from the natural architecture, so he sought help from a friend.
The man who makes the horseshoes for Grant’s livestock told him to hang the bridge from the ceiling in order to preserve the bedrock’s structural appearance. This really helps it blend in.
The Other Side Of The Bridge
Those who cross over the bridge from Grant’s bedroom are in for quite a treat.
Writer Lavinia Spalding wrote, “[The wing] includes two charming bedroom nooks, a lounge, and private bathroom. The floor is painted a cheerful blue, the furnishings are bright yellow and turquoise, and it’s all unfussy and relaxed.”
Anyone Can Stay There
If this home seems too good to be true, then you’re in luck. Anyone is able to stay there.
Grant rents out one of the bedrooms on Airbnb with the name Bedrock Homestead Cave. So far, he has received tons of visitors who have all given the home great reviews.
The Reviews Are In
There are almost 300 reviews for Grant’s Bedrock Homestead Cave on Airbnb where it has an average 4.95 out of 5 star rating.
One reviewer wrote, “You have to try and stay here! You will never find a place quite like it.” Even more people wanted to leave some positive reviews for the home.
It’s Worth The Experience
“The house is incredible, the people are friendly. It really is something to behold,” said one reviewer.
Another reviewer chimed in and said, “Absolutely mind-blowing experience. Pictures don’t do it justice. Worth every single penny. The best Airbnb I have ever stayed in.” However, there is more to the experience than just the house.
A Perfect Getaway
Not only will guests get to stay in this magnificent home, but they can explore the surrounding land.
An Airbnb reviewer wrote, “We so enjoyed our stay at the cave house. We loved that it began with an adventure of crossing the river. The cave house was unique, beautiful and such a nice getaway from it all for our family.”
A Fun Nightly Activity
Since Grant’s land is far away from civilization, it allows him and other guests to do things they couldn’t in more populated areas.
For example, the land is a perfect place to stargaze. The cave home is many miles from modern life, so there is little to no light pollution.
Finding The Best Spot
Many of the visitors who have stayed at the home say that stargazing was their favorite activity.
They recommend walking up the bedrock and finding a spot on the roof to get the best view of the stars and the surrounding rock formations. No one will have an obstructed view.
Those who may not get the chance to visit Grant’s unique home will be happy that there are other options. There are actually similar cave dwellings nearby.
For instance, there is a home located in Moab, Utah that was built very similarly to Grant’s. However, they were created for entirely different reasons.
Head Over To Rockland Ranch
A group of Mormons wanted a place to settle down where they wouldn’t be in the public eye. So, in 1977 Robert Foster got to work.
He blasted a hole into large rock using dynamite, which was quite similar to Grant’s cave home. Foster ended up with a place called Rockland Ranch, or The Rock.
The Differences In The Rock
Rockland Ranch looks a bit more modern than Grant’s cave home because it is finished with brick fronts.
Foster also used windows and doors that would be more associated with typical urban homes. He was even able to hook up power and running water and also operate a successful farm.
Another Utah Rock Home
Utah may be one of the best places to go for people looking for out-of-this-world rock homes.
There’s a property on the side of Montezuma Canyon called Cliffhaven. It’s a three-bedroom home that’s totally off the grid, but is able to utilize solar panels as its main energy source. There’s even satellite TV and internet.
While Utah has quite a few of these rock homes, there are some in other parts of the world.
For example, a man named Angelo Mastropietro in Worcestershire, England created one of his own. After being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, he wanted to live somewhere that accommodated his new health needs.
Working With Sandstone
It’s ironic that Angelo’s last name can be translated to mean “master of the stone.” He ended up spending over $200,000 to make his sandstone cave into a home that would work for him.
It’s estimated that it took Angelo about one thousand hours to create this fantasy dream home.
It Inspired Lord Of The Rings
Some think that the finished product Angelo made was actually the inspiration behind the set design for the Lord of the Rings movies.
He was able to include a ton of amenities as well such as underfloor heating, ventilation, fresh running water from almost 300 feet underground, and working Wi-Fi.
Keeping A Natural Aesthetic
Similar to Grant, Angelo made it clear that he wanted his sandstone cave home to look as natural as possible.
By doing this, it brings a unique appeal that has people fawning over every detail. With other builders following in the footsteps of Grant, it might make him wonder if it was all worth it.
It’s The Journey, Not The Destination
Grant is a pretty simple man, so when asked about his experience, he was ready to share his wisdom.
“I always told myself it was about the journey and not the end result. But the result is that it’s so incredible to live here, every day I walk in and just go, ‘Whoa,'” said Grant.
Cave Life Never Looked Better
“People get inspired by it. And I didn’t expect that so much, and it really is the case. People really feel a lot of inspiration here, from all different angles. Positive living in a negative space,” said Grant.
While cave living might not be for everyone, it certainly did Grant and his visitors a lot of good.