Glenn's Underground Cabin Update

Started by glenn kangiser, January 30, 2005, 10:24:03 PM

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Hi Glenn,

Thanks for the concrete floor pics.  Have you seen the Building with Awareness DVD or site?  He poured his whole floor (approx 800 sq ft, I think) with a sm mixer and did some very interesting staining/sculpting techniques. I can't talk the DH into doing that (sm mixer for 1300 sq ft) but the stainig ideas will be fun to use. The Cool house site also has some good concrete staining techniques.



I've heard of the site and DVD  - glanced through it once but haven't spent much time on it - probably worth another look.


Many people think of The Underground Cabin as a Hobbit House, although I'm much too big and ugly to be a Hobbit.

Here is a link to a person who built a Hobbit doll house that looks so real you'll have to look twice to see that it's not.  Also a good place to get ideas for your cabin.

Bilbo Baggins House

For background information about this project check here.

How it got started


Seen the mushroom house?  Lotta inspiring things there and what a cool site too.
I remember seeing an actual Hobbit house built into the ground, round door and all, but darned if I can find that link again since the movies


Thanks for that link, Daddymemm.  That is a cool place.  Gives me too many ideas for my current level of energy. :)


cute--anyway to slow it down a little?


Use your cursor, you can manipulate speed and direction.  Another nice feature of photobucket.


I have to hold down the left mouse button to stop or slide it back.  Another program I had would vary the speed and zoom but the browser doesn't have as much control - but I thought it would be something new and exciting. :) :-/

I had tried to do it once before but the old software crashed my computer.  Arcsoft came with my new camera -tried it with the same pictures and in about 2 minutes it was ready - it exported to swf, and I had previously noticed that the forum would handle swf -so --here it is.  It kind of eliminates guessing what is where on the roof - opposite the greenhouse you will see a bit of the frog pond on the porch roof.  A stitch occured on the 1926 Dodge so not much of it shows - it's black.


I started building a nearly free garage a few days ago.  Since RV storage buildings don't require a permit, that is of course what it is. I think I'll start a new subject and link it here.

The Near Free  1/2 Underground Garage


From Jimmy's Bridge link, I found a link that is appropriate here.

I have a lot of bug kill pine in my cabin - lumber industry doesn't much like it but as I have said -I don't see any problem with it -in fact it is very colorful.

Blue Stain Wood

Wood Durability Information

Pam Saylor(Guest)

I'm new here and trying to read through the posts to see where or how your house began.  Is there a place (web site/blog or entry) where you have a summary of what you have done?    Where did you begin, and then what and what next.... It is hard to piece it together reading from post to post.

Thanks.  (It looks fantastic!)


Hi Pam - welcome to the forum.

That's a hard question -back to the start.  I didn't document much until John invited me to join the Countryplans forum to answer questions about the Underground Cabin.  I found John searching for Ken Kern information.

A search of the original forum

will take you to the original postings -the very old forum- I made when I first got here.

I will post a chronology in a little bit.  Note that the man and boy in the first photo's with my wife are family friends - I am only in some of the later photos.  Too scary. :-/


A short chronology of the evolution of the Underground Cabin.

  • A little over 4 years ago - Son borrows truck to do a job in Yosemite National Park -rebuilding bar in Awahnee Hotel -hits the ice -slides off the road and flops it on its side.
  • A few weeks later insurance pays for truck -totals it - we buy it back and make it driveable but not to its original splendor.  Wife is upset because I don't think it is too good for her to drive in it's new Redneck truck condition
  • She decides she will buy her own truck so she can haul whatever she desires without worrying about the condition of my new custom by crash truck.  (I'm not worried about it's condition - Now I can safely park it anywhere in Fresno without worrying about it getting stolen.)   Problem solved.  She goes out and buys a new looking late model Mercedes Benz ML 320 SUV - there -that will haul anything she needs to haul. :)
  • We decide to go for a drive in her new "Truck" to see her brothers place in Miwok Village near Sonora - we decide that we would like a place in the hills but not so many neighbors and closer to work as well as near an airport for my plane.  We see an add for Property overlooking our airport in Mariposa.  We talk to the owners father-in-law next door ---he doesn't like anybody, but he likes us so puts in a good word for us and we make a deal.  
  • We buy the land but not enough money for a bank owned morgaged to the neck home
  • I like underground homes and caves -worked on Forestiere Underground Gardens water well - visited cave dwellings in France and Mexico.  Did a search on the internet "How do I build an underground house"--came up with several references -bought several books - but the one that made the most sense, had the details worked out in the most cost efficient manner and most affordably with rule of thumb engineering was "The $50 and Up Underground House".
  • Started living in our horse trailer RV -soon bought a used motor home for $1000 - started digging -wife wanted a real bathroom and needed a place for batteries for solar so started digging in another place- kept digging there eventually-  had free logs given to me - donated $400 for them - bought others - logs were longer than the hole so made the hole bigger.  Kept digging and placing logs until a few months ago when I placed the last log in the lower entrance area.  At this time emphasis is not on quality - its on quantity.  Fine points and problem fixing can come later.
That should get you up to speed  on the start.  Feel free to ask questions.



Can I borrow some of your story?  My story will be so boring.  
    *Got bored an found an internet site that sold me my 2.5 acres
    *Still waiting to see the land for the first time, despite I purchased it almost 4 years ago
    *Can't make up my mind what type of house to build so I will use them all in one house

Speaking of being bored and searching the internet, check out this land for sale if you love caves:

WOW....that link was longer than I thought!!! Hope it makes it on the post...and hope it works too

So, how are things coming along Glenn?  I've been hiding in the wings and haven't heard much about what is new with the two of you lately.



Nice to hear from you again, Sharon.

Working out of town for 3 weeks in a row- too much snow to do much on the garage right now.  Not enough energy after working out of town -- we usually work daylight to dark or later sometimes just so we can go back home.

Ready to get started soon.  

Please feel free to take whatever you need of my story--plenty more drivel where that came from.

Salt lick caverns.  Reminds me of  the salt licks my uncle put out for his cattle :P.  We always licked in the bottom of the multiple depressions on the block when we were kids :P -- we figured the cows couldn't get their tongues in the holes.  :P We didn't figure out that the depressions were made by the cows tongues licking :P the blocks.  I knew I should have listened closer in school. :-/


I was just reading the story...  if it hadn't been for me, Glenn probably wouldn't have had to check out the 4WD on my "truck" & we wouldn't have found the property & he wouldn't have his "cave"   ;)



QuoteI was just reading the story...  if it hadn't been for me, Glenn probably wouldn't have had to check out the 4WD on my "truck" & we wouldn't have found the property & he wouldn't have his "cave"   ;)

I have always been amazed at how the seemingly small choices in every day life can totally affect your life later on down the road.
In this story it starts with loaning someone a vehicle.  Now you have this amazing underground house.

Mine starts with being bored one day and typing in a google search for Country cottage
What would I have done with my weekends over the past year if I didnt do that search?


-------and there you have it --- the positive side of "Mood Swings"  --almost makes you want to go build one on the front porch. :)


NOt doing to well navigating this groups pages.....didn't think I was that computer illiterate!  
Registered in order to see the underground house photos [thinking only registered members could see them...], but no photos showed up.

Unable to directly email anyone back to ask questions [system keeps re-asking to register or sign in].    :-/
System assigned me a password, but then immediately reassigned another one--still attempting to enter my own password....{{sigh!}}

Does digest of list get emailed to me, or do I need to go hunting for it every time I want to look thru the posts?  


Hi Winterstar,  I just wanted to welcome you & say sorry that you are having so many problems with the system.  
Wish I could help you, but haven't run into many problems & if I do, I just ask Glenn to figure it out.  I'm sure he or John will be able to help you later in the day.  Don't give up!  Sassy


I don't know why you're not seeing pictures.  I'm on dial up  :'( so if things are going slowly (what's this if--now, now I usually have a fairly fast dial-up connection) I can only open a handful before I start getting red x's instead of pictures.  But I can usually get them to show one by one if I (windows explorer) right-click and then "show picture."

When you do get to the forum opening page (country plans design-build forum), you will see if there is anything new since the last time you opened that section.  And when you open the section, likewise if there's a topic or thread you haven't seen.  

Easier for me to deal with than a lively yahoo group digest where people often forget to snip, so you get either the entire digest and/or a thread going back for a week in your mailbox--even if the final reply is no more than "exactly" and it's on top.  

This version of YABB is pretty new, so there could be a few bugs left.

IIRC, you get a password sent to you.  At least the first time.


Winterstar, are you trying to open "all"?  Go to each page individually, otherwise, it will take forever to load, especially if you are on dial-up.  That's the only other thing I can think of.  Kathy


Hi Winterstar,

Also - you can get your lost password e-mailed to you from the forgot password dialogue  at sign-in.

After you get logged in again, bookmark or save the forum site to favorites, then you will always be logged in when you open the forum.

The pictures are public so you should be able to get them as a guest also.


Hey I am really interested in this type of building (I just ordered Mikes Book after reading through the posts).  However I was speaking with my father who is a General contrator and asked him his opinion about these types of homes.  He told me that they have a problem with humidity (being that they collect humid air inside) and that the resale value is next to nothing since no one wants to live underground.  Can anyone debunk his notions.  I also asked him when the last time he had ever seen one or thought about it and he replied about 30 years.   ;D  

What might be better is a pros and cons list; vs other types of energy efficient building.  :)

This is a great forum and an even better post, what awesome pictures Glenn!  So inpsiring!

Thanks again.