We here at TreeHugger are known for being partial to a modern aesthetic, yet we nevertheless have a gooey, soft spot for the rustic home comforts of earth-sheltered homes. Whether it's constructing an earthship, earthbag, or hobbit-like cottage, there's something beautifully nostalgic and reassuring about these places. Seen over at Living Big In A Tiny House, tiny house video host Bryce Langston gives us a tour of Underhill, a stunning, earth-sheltered home built by Graham Hannah on the family farm located in the northern region of Waikato, New Zealand.
The home is built into a hillside, overlooking a pond. Everything in the home is built with natural materials, from the lovely stonework, to the thick, wooden supports and handmade furnishings and cabinets, using macrocarpa wood and custom ironwork. The stone-patterned ceiling is remarkable; Hannah says that it was done by filling the spot in with sand, pouring concrete, and then digging out the sand.
The central, rounded table is the focal point of the space, seating up to twelve people comfortably for a good dinner.
To keep life simple, there is no electricity here; rather, the cave's intimate atmosphere is enhanced by candlelight. Water is heated by an antique coal stove, which is also the home's main source of heat, and is piped around the cave with copper pipes.
Over the custom-made bed is a skylight made from a re-used car windshield -- a brilliant idea.
For bathing, there is a salvaged cast-iron bathtub placed under the stars, or there's another small cave bathroom to use during the winters (this one has a gas-fired water heater). Adjacent to the bathroom cave is an outhouse, which uses a simple composting toilet; the outputs here are composted and re-used on the farm, which specializes in raising cattle and lamas.
This is a remarkable home, built over many years as a labour of love by Hannah for his family. You can actually visit the farm and stay in the cave (it's now a bed and breakfast), check out the info here. For more tiny house tours and tips, visit Living Big In A Tiny House, and if you like them, support Bryce and Mel in making more great videos on Patreon.