A Utah man spent decades realizing his dream of living in a desert cave with a modern twist and invites everyone to spend the night.
Grant Johnson loves the idea of living inside a natural underground chamber. The long-term Boulder resident spent about eight years blasting a hole in a hillside, then another 20 years crafting a 5,700-square-foot home fitted with many modern conveniences.
The BedrocK Homestead is advertised on the Airbnb website as a “rugged” yet “tranquil” working farm. It has two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a music studio, complete furnishing, and modern decor.
There is also a private patio with a barbecue, microwave, mini-fridge, and drip coffee-maker. Appliances are hydroelectrically powered by pumping water at the off-the-grid property. Internet access is limited, and hairdryers are not permitted.
The property is situated on a vast plot of land that Johnson hopes will one day be called a national park. The exact location is only provided to approved guests.
Johnson felt inspired to build the BedrocK Homestead after leaving high school and moving to Moab when he was 17-years-old. He often spent his time hiking and working in the town’s mines.
“I got involved in stabilizing Indian ruins, and I got more and more into the wilderness,” he said in a video shared on YouTube. “Then I did not see any news, did not read anything–I completely got away from it.”
Before long, he developed an appreciation for nature living and decided not to depend on electricity, water, and other public utilities. He wanted to irrigate and cultivate his own food in the canyons, so he built his very own cave house.
He blasted out most of the unwanted rock material with dynamite and endured the arduous process of sourcing scarce materials to make the home liveable.
“I started blasting in 95, blasted a little tunnel here first,” he can be heard saying. “From the first blast I was committed, and then it was like eight winters probably of blasting.”
The land remained untouched for a few years until he returned with enough savings to continue work. The project required blasting more holes to allow natural light into the space, reinforcing windows with steel, and installing glass to make the most of the spectacular views.
Johnson also found creative ways to supply electricity and water.
“I planted the orchard right away and we had a water wheel, big 22-foot in diameter water wheel that ran the pump,” he said. “We put in about 6,500 feet of pipeline from the pond that ran the water wheel because I always knew if we could afford to do it, we had [to] have gravity flow because we are a mile below the pond, … so I just plugged into it and put a turbine.”
Since the local convenience store does not sell produce, he constructed a mini-ecosystem to provide a steady supply of fresh meat and vegetables.
“The biggest crop is tomatoes and peppers and corn potatoes, lots of garlic but then all sorts of little stuff, greens and carrots and beets,” he said. “I love bacon, sausage and that pork, so to raise pigs, we have to have a cow that is milking because the pigs eat the milk–otherwise, it is not worth it.”
Johnson revealed the cost of maintaining livestock is high.
“It costs so much to feed them, so we would feed them milk,” he said. “You have to get the milk cow bread and then you have to milk it, and then you have to have a way to feed the milk cows–that is what all these fields are for is feeding the animals, horses, and cows.”
Another source of income comes from renting out his spare bedrooms to Airbnb visitors who come to appreciate the nature-inspired architecture.
“People get inspired by it,” he said. “I did not expect that so much, and it really is the case.”
Johnson has attracted rave reviews, with one visitor claiming there was “nowhere on Earth quite like the Boulder house.”
“It is one of the wonders of the modern world–a fully functional, modernized house carved into a giant boulder,” the visitor said according to Home Hacks. “The drive across the stream to get to it was harmless but thrilling. The horses and cows surrounding the place were charming, and the views in every direction magnificent–do not miss your chance to stay here!”