Idaho modern oldtimer builds underground & solar $50 houses




Mike Oehler lived for over 30 years in an underground home that he built for $50 (and expanded for $500) on his land in Northern Idaho near the Canadian border. Now in his seventies his arthritis keeps him from hiking up to his home, but he continues to “write and proselytize”

In 1968 like thousands of other San Franciscans hoping to go “back to the land”, Oehler bought property and began to build a homestead. After spending a winter freezing in a small cabin, he designed a home that would use the earth as insulation. With his first attempt he fell into the easy errors of what he calls a “first thought house”: a hole cut into a hillside with south-facing windows.

Gradually he began to innovate with subterranean design, creating better ways for letting light in: among them “the Hollywood Wing”, “the Royer foyer”, gables and most-importantly the “uphill patio” (which also provides space for an earth-sheltered greenhouse). He also created an inexpensive, low-tech approach to basic design with what he calls PSP or Post/shoring/polyethlene.

Mike Oehler’s “$50 & Up Underground House Book”:

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20 Comments

  1. Mike Bablles
    December 19, 2017
    Reply

    There are as many choices as there are ways to live. Do what you think is right for yourself and hopefully you won't have too much regret at the end.

  2. Joy Gallaher
    December 20, 2017
    Reply

    We built an underground, all masonry house 26 years ago. Constant temp worked better than we ever expected. Fixing to do it again more cheaply and less conventional. Very industrial.

  3. natureboy tom
    December 20, 2017
    Reply

    Fantastic!

  4. Elizabeth Deapen
    December 20, 2017
    Reply

    Love this!!!

  5. Erick Ramos
    December 21, 2017
    Reply

    Love it

  6. monkeynumber nine
    December 22, 2017
    Reply

    This is my dream… it would be perfect for me

  7. Vacant Land Guys
    December 23, 2017
    Reply

    My wife and I wholesale land to people looking to build tiny homes or live off grid like this. Check out vacant land guys if you're looking for some incredible land deals.

  8. Darling Love
    December 23, 2017
    Reply

    I feel so empty inside any day I haven't been digging barefoot for a couple of hours.

  9. rshorts
    December 24, 2017
    Reply

    Hero

  10. imathayne
    December 24, 2017
    Reply

    The Indians of the inland NW also had winter houses that were semi-subterranean for a reason. It is cold!

  11. BO NES
    December 24, 2017
    Reply

    Anyone watching this video should realize you are here for a reason. We are about to be demolished by two very large Planets. There are a total of seven and their Star is a Dwarf. Three of these Planets have highly advanced life and they don't care one bit about you, me or anyone else including the assholes that worship them through child rape and sacrifice. We were warned and the stupidity of mankind has caused GOD to get very pissed. The Day of The Lord is only a few months out. Start digging now.

  12. Nicholas Heltzel
    December 26, 2017
    Reply

    R.i.p. I wonder if the roof of the underground housing has the load bearing to handle wandering bears. Definitely wouldn't want a bear crashing through the roof. Lol.

  13. raymond schmidt
    December 26, 2017
    Reply

    why did this guy build so many homes ,  IS HE A MILLIONAIRE

  14. tc25d
    December 26, 2017
    Reply

    Nice life hobby. Great concepts and ideas. Unfortunately in most places the government who is trying to protect me will not allow these building techniques. They don’t even have a code to reference for this type of construction but will regulate it into compliance and out of existence. Just a fact of life in most areas of the country.

  15. Rick Owens Rick Owens
    December 27, 2017
    Reply

    I thought he was John Hammond from Jurassic Park.

  16. mlaiuk
    December 27, 2017
    Reply

    It is not underground, it is still on the surface and would not protect you from a thermal nuke bomb. Nowadays they use thermal nukes, and you would need to be more than 600 ft below ground to be protected from the blast just to survive it.

  17. Ben Magee
    December 29, 2017
    Reply

    That’s rad.

  18. KEVIN41387
    December 29, 2017
    Reply

    A thousand years from now they find these burried houses and think humanity at some point lived underground –_– thanks for fucking history up!

  19. sedumjoy
    December 29, 2017
    Reply

    His structures have good air flow and that was very smart. I would be temped to seal whatever wall touches dirt so that moisture or radon gas cannot permeate. You don't have to where the glass is so it would not be that bad. A water proof material that is air tight and will not corrode over time…put it on the outside of whatever touches the earth …more expensive but worth it. Will get ride of moisture that can hurt your arthritis and radon that can give you lung cancer.

  20. Tactic Planner
    December 31, 2017
    Reply

    Your own little piece of heaven, I love it!

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