Earth sheltered homes are a prime example of sustainable living and this is one of the best I’ve seen. As seen on Living Big In A Tiny House, the so-called Underhill, is an impressive and unique earth-sheltered home that was constructed by Graham Hannah in Waikato, New Zealand.
Underhill is built into a hillside, hence the name (which is also a reference to Lord of the Rings and the fake name Frodo uses on his travels), and overlooks a pond. From the inside out, the house is constructed using natural materials, which includes the stonework and the wooden supports. All the cabinets and furnishings are handmade out of macrocarpa wood and custom ironwork. The home also features a stone-patterned ceiling, which is quite impressive, and was made by first filling it with sand, pouring concrete over it, and then digging out the sand. Sounds laborious, but the final product was well worth the effort.
The interior features a sort of open-plan living area, which contains a round table that can sit up to twelve people comfortably. There is no electricity in the home, which is lit by candles. An antique coal stove is used to heat the water and provide the needed heat via copper pipes lining the walls.
The bedroom features a custom-made bed with a skylight, which is made from a recycled car windshield. The main bathroom is basically just a salvaged cast-iron bathtub placed outside, but there is also an interior one in a small cave, which is heated by a gas-fired water heater. There is also an outhouse, with a simple composting toilet, the outputs of which are used on the farm where this house was built.
Hannah spent years building this home, and he now runs it as a bed and breakfast, so anyone can get a taste of earth sheltered living.