Sunday, March 01, 2009

Caving in

A family that is living in a cave to see out the recession may be booted out after falling back on payments. Curt and Deborah Sleeper bought the three acres property and a cave in Festus, Missouri after they spotted it online.

They fell in love with the unique geography of the old mining cave and figured out how to build a house inside it.

But they've got a big payment coming due on the property and don't think they can afford it. If they can't secure new financing, they've got a backup plan - auctioning their cave home through eBay. Bidding starts at $300,000.

"I get the financing, or I sell the property, or I lose everything," Curt Sleeper, a self-employed Web designer and small business consultant, said while giving a tour of the home.

Inside, the walls and ceiling are comprised of the natural cave stone. Three large dehumidifiers keep the interior from getting too damp or musty.

Curt Sleeper said there are no bats in the cave, and no bugs beyond the normal stuff. "Nothing a cat or two won't handle," he wrote on a Web site.

One plus to living in a cave is climate control. The cave is at a constant 62 degrees. In fact, the home doesn't even include a furnace or air conditioner.

Sleeper said he'd never want to own a traditional house after his time in the cave home.

"I'd never live in a box again," he said.

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