Are you still trying decide what to buy this Christmas for that friend who has everything? Time’s running out, so here’s a suggestion; how about a cave house in Spain?

My good friend, regular inspiration and fellow architect, Tom Booker (who you may remember from the entry about the key to the MI5 tea cupboard) and his partner Claire Johnson recently teamed up with some friends to buy and renovate a cave cut into the limestone of the hills of Andalusia. The first of two is now complete and available to buy, full details are at

We paid them a visit just over a year ago during the construction and the transformation is startling. Here’s a picture of Tom shortly after the completion of one of the fire places.


Here’s the plan of the house. In some primal, long forgotten memory of our prehistoric ancestors, the layout of the rooms and passages is so seductive that it seems you could sell it on the strength of this drawing alone.


The front of property, rebuilt after the interior has been cut into the hillside, looks like this:


You can click on all the images to see them at full size.

From what I saw mid-construction and from what I know of Tom and Claire (who’s also an architect), the finished product will be beautiful. Find an architect with good design skills who’s also prepared to get his hands dirty and craft it himself and you’re on to a winner.

Of course if you do buy it as a gift this Christmas, you may need some help from Christo when it comes to wrapping it.

Merry Christmas to you all, I’ll be back next week. I’ve got to go and buy a tree before it’s too late.