Home tour: this modern 'caveman' built a £165,000 house in a rock

A house built into a cliff face? Of course we had to have a tour, and it's really not what you would expect...

House build into a cave
(Image credit: Future)

Ever get the feeling you want to run away from life and go and live under a rock? For us, it's a regular emotion, but for real-life caveman Angelo Mastropietro this became a reality. Although we say live under a rock, this is a very stylish, modern 'rock' with a king sized bed, gorgeous fitted Shaker kitchen and a cosy snug, all decorated beautifully in a very trendy boho style. 

So where did this massive project begin? Angelo, originally from Worcestershire UK, was living a high-flying life as the head of a successful recruitment company in Australia when he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis back in 2007. The condition led to him being temporarily paralysed which is what inspired him to seek a simpler life – so he literally took to the hills and found a 700 year old rock house to make a home.

The house is carved into a 250 million year old sandstone cliffs in the Wyre Forest, which is said to be one of the inspirations behind Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, and we can so see that – this is literally the Hobbit House of the 21st century. 

Just watch the video to take a tour and head over to our completed projects hub page for plenty more inspiration for your own renovations. 

Did we mention you can stay in this amazing home? Just head over to www.therockhouseretreat.co.uk for all the info you need. 

Living on (in) the rocks

Buildings carved into the rock are not unique to this part of the world with famous examples at Petra in Jordan and the caves in France's Loire Valley. The rock houses in Worcestershire and the border areas were inhabited into the last century, with those in the village of Kinver – just seven miles from Angelo's home – being occupied until the 1960s when they were deemed unfit due to a lack of modern sewers and sanitation. They are built into the same soft sandstone rock that was easy to modify – want a shelf? Just chisel one!

Many expect rock houses would be cold and damp, but they maintain an ambient temperature year round, well insulated against the heat and cold. Lime wash was historically used to seal the stone from water while making it breathable to prevent damp.

The Kinver rock houses are now a visitor attraction owned by the National Trust, where people can see how people lived in them many years ago.

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Hebe Hatton

Hebe joined the Real Homes team in early 2018 as Staff Writer before moving to the Livingetc team in 2021 where she took on a role as Digital Editor. She loves boho and 70's style and is a big fan of Instagram as a source of interiors inspiration. When she isn't writing about interiors, she is renovating her own spaces – be it wallpapering a hallway, painting kitchen cupboards or converting a van.