Now THAT'S a man cave!

Now THAT'S a man cave!
The days when humans lived in dark, damp and abandoned holes in Britain are, thankfully, long gone. But one former businessman has opted to return to underground living by building his dream home in a cave - in a bid to cure his Multiple Sclerosis.

Angelo Mastropietro, 37, spent eight months single-handedly transforming the 800-year-old hobbit hole in the Wyre Forest in Worcestershire into a 21st century man cave, complete with running water, underfloor heating and even wi-fi.

The former recruitment boss was inspired to buy the cave after being diagnosed with MS at the age of 29, a catalyst which forced him to rethink his high-flying career and the stress and unhealthy lifestyle that came along with it.

He then set about carving, cutting and drilling into the sandstone hillside - including excavating 70 tonnes of stone by hand - to make his dream a reality.

Describing the project on tonight's episode of Grand Designs, he said: 'MS was triggered by health and lifestyle and that was the catalyst I needed to remind me that I needed to be mindful of my health and be respectful of my lifestyle. I wanted to be in a place where I had a happier and healthier life.

'It's in a beautiful location, it's uplifting, it makes you feel good, it's very relaxing. While you are a mile from the nearest pub or supermarket, you're a thousand miles back in history.'  

The father-of-two, who returned to Britain in 2010 after more than a decade living in Australia, first came across the cave in 1999 when he and some friends were forced to find shelter during a rainy bike ride.

Incredibly, while he was flicking through a property supplement more than ten years later, he noticed the very same cave was up for sale for £62,000.

Believing it was fate, Mr Mastropieto bought the bolthole. Then, with a budget of just £100,000, he began tireless work to excavate the cave before cutting and drilling into the hillside to create his woodland retreat.

Mr Mastropieto did not need planning permission and had no guidance of how to convert the space, with the only architect being his fertile imagination.

And, with the constant threat of his illness - which once left him paralysed - the extensive manual labour was a bigger consideration than usual. 

But although he wanted a calm and peaceful home - and to keep the essence of the cave - Mr Mastropietro did not shun all the trappings of modern life and instead brought water and electricity to the cave house for the first time.

'I want to celebrate that it is a cave dwellings, but I want to add modern day luxuries,' he says. 'It definitely has a modern feel but hopefully retains some cave charm.'

The completed home has a huge terrace, intimate rooms and white walls to brighten up the cave. He also installed huge glass doors and oak-framed windows to let in the light.


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