Before & After: French Ruin (Bought for 1 Euro!) Turned Cozy Cave Home

updated May 4, 2019
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(Image credit: Vocativ)

Who doesn’t like a good Before & After story, especially when the before might just be the WORST before ever? (Okay, okay, this before might give it a run for its gloriously disgusting money.) This here is a photo of the inside of a trash-filled cave home that an enterprising French couple decided to turn into a modern masterpiece.

Four years ago, Alexis Lamoureux moved to Amboise, in France’s Loire river valley, and began searching for a place for him and his girlfriend, Lotte van Riel, to live. He happened to hear about a troglodyte home, or cave dwelling, that had once belonged to his great-aunt. Unfortunately, the home had fallen into disrepair: the ceiling was on the verge of caving in, there were no utilities, and the place was full of trash. Fortunately, it was for sale. The next week, Alexis snapped it up at auction for a very budget-friendly sum of… 1 (one!) euro.

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(Image credit: Vocativ)

That was far from the end of the road, though. Alexis needed about 25,000 euros to fix the collapsing ceiling and make his new home livable, but no one would give him a loan. So he and Lotte worked for three years in his father’s restaurant to save money before the work could even begin.

Once they could afford to, Alexis and Lotte placed 11 anchors to keep the ceiling from collapsing, and then the real fun began. Work took a little over a year, and included cleaning, clearing out lots of lots of trash, and digging a trench so utilities could reach the home.

(Image credit: Vocativ)
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But all that hard work paid off — today Lotte and Alexis enjoy a two-bedroom, two-bath cozy cave home. They have water and electricity and even internet. And they’re renting the second bedroom on AirBnB, so if you happen to be in France, you can experience cave living, too. You can also book a stay at the cave on their website.

To see more photos of the transformation and read more about the history of the troglodyte houses, check out the original story on Vocativ.

Re-edited from a post originally published 7.30.14-NT