Interiors: Live a High Life and Go Underground

Daily Post (Liverpool, England), March 3, 2005 | Go to article overview

Interiors: Live a High Life and Go Underground

Byline: Colin McAllister & Justin Ryan

ALL across Europe, from Greece to Spain and Italy, people are digging in, going down and adopting tendencies more commonly associated with troglodytes. The reasons are various - and we'll discuss them later - but there's no doubt about it; cave living is gathering momentum.

Our involvement with cave living - and it's a huge involvement - started some five years back in the Dordogne when we visited the Sarlat home of friends Stephane and Carole while on route to write a magazine feature on the chateau home of French resistance singer Josephine Baker. Dead for decades, her former pile remains a perfect time warp to her frantic life. As much as we were excited to be featuring her home, it was the hillside homes so perfectly carved into the nearby mountains that really caught our attention. Sadly, back then, we didn't have time to investigate but ventured back recently while conducting research for this year's Ideal Home Show. Regular Post readers will know that at last years Earls Court show we designed a 60ft houseboat spread over three commodious levels but this year, well, we've really raised the stakes. Indeed, inspired by the cave dwelling phenomenon that is taking Europe by storm, we've designed, well, a cave!

And blimey - is it gorgeous! Constructed off site then brought to Earls Court by lorry, it's divided into four elegant rooms that possess all the form and atmosphere of the real thing. Complete with a villa frontage it effortlessly blends into its own artificial 'rock face'. It's been an arduous project but marvellous results have been achieved. But before we tell you any more we've put together a potted history of cave dwellings and their various types and are going to explain, for example, the difference between a cave HOUSE and a cave HOME.

In Spain, where there is a proliferation of architectural styles ranging from Moorish castles to glorious stone built villas and modest fincas there are also thousands of cave homes that are older than any of them. In Northern Andalusia, for example, the same region that gave us the wild and passionate flamenco, lies the tiny town of Galera where casas-cuevas are still inhabited by a proud and resilient community who eke out a living from the surrounding country side. Sadly, recent years have seen many inhabitants lured to prosperous cities and countless caves have been abandoned. As recently as 1960 there were more than 5,000 people living underground but now there are only a thousand.

Galera, however, has come up with a plan to revive its population. Spotting a gap in the market for unusual rentals, the town council refurbished a selection of caves and via a stout ad campaign unleashed colossal demand. This renewed interest led to a further batch of caves being refurbished and put on the open market. And the results? Well, they were snapped up quickly.

So what makes these homes so attractive? Well, for starters, as the European property market booms and prices continue their vertiginous ascent many people look to alternatives. And as time has passed the caves have become very much more of the moment. No more the amenity-lacking rock pods carved with naive tools by the homeless hundreds of years ago as shelter against the elements. Nowadays the average cave is linked up to electricity and water with mains sewerage a standard inclusion., They can be hermetically sealed against the elements and have an almost constant 18C temperature even though outside temperatures can drop as low as minus ten or rise as high as 40C. Imagine a solid rock thermos flask and you should get the picture. Warm in winter and cool in summer.

If you're a fan of sharp corners and right angles then you'll probably take a while to warm to the caves as their interiors are utterly irregular. Therein, however, lies their attraction for us. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25,

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Interiors: Live a High Life and Go Underground


Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25,

    New feature

    It is estimated that 1 in 10 people have dyslexia, and in an effort to make Questia easier to use for those people, we have added a new choice of font to the Reader. That font is called OpenDyslexic, and has been designed to help with some of the symptoms of dyslexia. For more information on this font, please visit

    To use OpenDyslexic, choose it from the Typeface list in Font settings.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search


    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.