Underground Structures
Built with Mike Oehler's (Dirt Cheap)
Building Method

(All prices mentioned are from the 1970s and 1980s)


Photos of Mike's Underground houses and greenhouses
Countryside Magazines' article on Mike's building methods
The combined underground house workshop and survival seminar 3 DVD set
$50 and Up Underground House Book
The Earth-sheltered Solar Greenhouse Book


Other works by Mike Oehler
Hippy Survival Guide  
One Mexican Sunday  
WTO Protest Video  
Online order form
Mail order form
digital download
about the author

The Ridge House

Author Mike Oehler stands outside the front door of his ridge house

South view-Look at all those windows and grass growing on the roof

The Miracle Center A.K.A. the kitchen of the ridge house

Interior shot looking north


The cook's bedroom

Two of Mike's other houses

The front door of the original $50 Underground house
This $15 Guest House was built using all recycled materals.

This is an $8000 House

Interior of the $8,000 house built in 1980.

Light, air and views emphasized.
Post/shoring/polyethylene method proven since 1971.

The $8,000 house shown on this page was designed and half built by Mike Oehler. The client built the other half.

Exterior of the $8,000 house. This house is entirely earthen sheltered except for door and window areas.

This interior photo of the $8,000 underground house was photographed with natural light.

Mike Oehler's $50 and $500 Underground Houses

At right: Mike Oehler’s original $50 underground house as viewed from the $500 addition. HGTV frequently features this house on its special, "The Subterraneans."

Above: Sarah Royer cooks a meal through the barbeque window.

Doorway to the $500 addition.

The Holland House

An underground house built by Mike Oehler’s methods in Holland. Built without a permit, Inspectors circled this house and did not see it.

Interior of the Dutch Underground House.

The 5,000 Square Foot Underground House

Some of the windows in an eight bedroom, 5,000-square-foot underground house and greenhouse built in Idaho in the early 1980s for $20,000. Had it been built above ground at the then national building average of $50 per square foot it would have cost the family $250,000. This family saved $230,000.

Interior of the 5000 square foot underground house during construction.

The 2,000 Square Foot Underground House

A six-room underground home built in 1981 for $2000. The owner/builder was a sawmill-owning logger who worked up his own lumber.

Earth-Sheltered Greenhouses

At Left: Mike begins work on his original earth-sheltered greenhouse

At Left: Mike waters plants in the original greenhouse.

The hillside earth-sheltered greenhouse before planting. This greenhouse has taken tomatoes into the second week of December repeatedly. It is heated only by the sun and earth. It has taken hardies like kale clear through the winter.

Mike emerges from his hillside Earth Sheltered Greenhouse, a P/S/P structure that has been in service since 1979.

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Mole Publishing Co. PO Box 6003 Missoula, MT 59806 406-493-9540