opening to cave
Chantel Brink
Chantel Brink
February 21, 2024 ·  4 min read

Man turns a massive desert cave into a 5,700 square-foot off-the-grid home

Would you ever consider living in a cave? In the present era, individuals are dwelling in various unconventional residences, ranging from school buses, and sheds to vans. Grant Johnson, a man who opted for such a lifestyle, crafted an astonishing off-the-grid desert home, spanning over 5000 square feet. The residence showcases remarkable craftsmanship, a music studio, and contemporary decor.

Where did his desire to build an off-the-grid home come from?

In his twenties, Johnson relocated to Utah and acquired a substantial piece of land, which, in due course, became a national monument. However, his property is considered an “inholding,” thereby enabling him to keep it private and develop it according to his preferences.

Despite being off-the-grid, the colossal cave residence he meticulously constructed over two decades has access to running water and electricity, offering all the modern conveniences one could desire. Furthermore, visitors can even rent a private room within the compound through Airbnb!

An off the grid home made in a cave
Image Credit: Tiny House Giant Journey YouTube

There is nowhere on Earth quite like the Boulder house. It is one of the wonders of the modern world – a fully functional, modernized off-the-grid house carved into a giant Boulder. The drive across the stream to get to it was harmless but thrilling. The horses and cows surrounding the place were charming, and the views in every direction were magnificent. Don’t miss your chance to stay here!” Beamed one renter about their experience.

Making a house a home

When Johnson was 17 years old, he relocated to Moab for his education. Along with his studies, he developed an interest in hiking and worked in the local mines when he was not attending school. However, he soon realized the value of nature over city life. “I got involved in stabilizing, Indian ruins, and I got more and more into the wilderness. And then I didn’t see any news. Didn’t read anything. I completely got away from it,” he told Tiny House Giant Journey.

He opted for an off-the-grid lifestyle and sought a location in the canyons to cultivate and grow his food. The outcome of his efforts is a sprawling cave residence, a prospect that he likely never envisioned decades earlier.

Video Credit: Tiny House Giant Journey / YouTube

Starting wasn’t easy, but the results of his off-the-grid home dreams speak volumes

He didn’t only require basic equipment to accomplish this feat, but also had to use dynamite. Initially, he was skeptical about his capability to gather the necessary materials and make the space habitable. Nevertheless, he decided to take the plunge. However, the procedure was not a speedy one.

An off the grid home made in a cave - the beginning
Image Credit: Tiny House Giant Journey YouTube

I started blasting in 95, blasted a little tunnel here first. From the first blast I was committed, and then it was like eight winters probably of blasting.” He said. After the blasting was completed, the property remained mostly unoccupied for several years as he contemplated his plans and gathered the necessary funds.“I didn’t know what I wanted. You know, how I wanted to finish it.” He continued.

An off the grid home made in a cave - farming for food
Image Credit: Tiny House Giant Journey YouTube

Despite being a cave, this off-grid home possesses an abundance of natural light, thanks to Johnson’s expertise in drilling holes for windows. He fortified them with steel and installed glass, providing an exceptional panoramic view. Of course, in a genuinely off-the-grid lifestyle, power, food, and water supply are significant considerations, but Johnson devised ways to tackle these challenges in the desert.

Read: Family who live in off-grid clay house have paid no bills for nearly a decade

I planted the orchard right away. And we had a water wheel, big 22 foot in diameter water wheel that ran the pump. We put in about 6,500 feet of pipeline from the pond that ran the water wheel because I always knew if we could afford to do it, we’d have gravity flow because we’re a mile below the pond…So I just plugged into it and put a turbine.” He explained.

How to feed oneself at home

If you want to ensure a sustainable, balanced diet, you need to take quite a bit into consideration. “The biggest crop is tomatoes and peppers and corn potatoes, lots of garlic, but then, you know, all sorts of little stuff, greens, and carrots and beets.” He described.

An off the grid home made in a cave - a view of the farm
Image Credit: Tiny House Giant Journey YouTube

I love bacon, sausage, and that pork. So to raise pigs, we have to have a cow that’s milking because the pigs eat the milk. Otherwise, it’s not worth it. You know, it costs so much to feed them. So we’d feed them milk. You know, you have to get the milk cow bread and then you have to milk it. And then you have to have a way to feed the milk cows. And so that’s what all these fields are for is feeding the animals, the horses, and the cows,” he further explained.

20 years later

An off the grid home made in a cave - planting crops
Image Credit: Tiny House Giant Journey YouTube

After two decades, the property has evolved into a stunning, eco-friendly haven, and Johnson cherishes both his home and lifestyle. The only drawback is that the residence is too spacious for him. Therefore, he offers it as a rental to visitors, which serves as a fantastic way to socialize and meet new people. “People get inspired by it. I didn’t expect that so much. And it really is the case.” What an inspirational idea!

Keep Reading: Family who live in off-grid clay house have paid no bills for nearly a decade


  1. Man turns a massive desert cave into a 5,700 square foot off the grid home.” Home Hacks. Sasha Alonzo. March 1, 2023
  2. Tiny House Giant Journey.” YouTube