Our first home was in Niagara Falls, New York. My spouse and I purchased it with money and we had been fairly completely happy as a result of it meant we did not have a mortgage. Then, round 8 or 9 years in the past, we began pondering that metropolis life wasn’t what we needed. We had been dwelling in Peachtree City, Georgia by then. If you’re keen on suburbia, Peachtree City is a suburban paradise. It has 90 miles of golf cart paths so most households personal one, and we shared a neighbourhood pool with simply two different streets. We have 4 youngsters and I work for myself in online advertising and marketing and constructing web sites, so we might reside wherever with an web connection. We began brainstorming, and as wild because it sounds, a nuclear bunker was most likely the least loopy of all our concepts. We thought of whether or not we might reside on a boat, on an island or in a submarine. Then, we found that some individuals had been taking former communications bunkers and renovating them into houses.
There is proof that a variety of these former AT&T nuclear-resistant communications bunkers were built across the U.S. in the ’60s to maintain the road of communication from the east coast to the west coast open, by way of coaxial cables, in the case of nuclear assault. There had been totally different traces and we consider our bunker was half of what’s known as the “L3” line. Our understanding is that a lot of the bunkers had been offered in the ’80s and ’90s after fibre optics changed coaxial traces.
We fell in love with the thought and that was it; the previous 7 to 9 years have been centered on making it occur. We lastly purchased our bunker in June 2020 and we have now been right here ever since.
We are positioned proper in the center of the U.S., and we paid much less for our bunker than the present median price of a house in the U.S. which is between $330,000-$370,000. It’s very tough to get a mortgage from a financial institution to purchase a bunker, no matter how good your credit score rating is. I do know, as a result of I attempted. Eventually, we supplied a sizable down cost however the vendor supplied the mortgage notice for us instantly. That’s how we had been ready to do that.
The bunker is primarily made up of 4 giant rooms that each one have 16.5ft ceilings. As you enter, you attain the smallest room. Then you get to the second greatest room, and turning to the correct from there may be the biggest room. Circling again from there, you come to a smaller room on the again. There can be a mezzanine and a pump room and a small fan room. The first room was initially an workplace house, the second largest room was the telecommunications gear room and the biggest room was the battery room. That one room is 1,700 sq. ft.
There is just about 4ft of earth above us, however the entire construction is constructed with two ft of strengthened concrete, and I’ve heard that rebar is as thick as a human arm. It’s additionally electromagnetic pulse (EMP) shielded; the entire construction has a copper mesh round it in case there was an EMP burst, in order to guard the electronics. We have a 3,000lb blast door on the entrance, a 2,000lb blast door on the again and an escape hatch. The escape hatch results in a full stairwell you could go up and depart by way of. My understanding is that the bunker can face up to a near-miss nuclear explosion. As lengthy as we’re not vaporized in the crater, we needs to be OK.
We reside in a renovation in the mean time, however we had been lucky that there was a fibre optic line that went proper alongside the street the place we’re, so we might have excessive pace web straight away. Getting water to the bunker was an ordeal, although. The water went to a hydrant exterior and we needed to go up with buckets and we used compost bathrooms for a whereas, however we do now have a working rest room and operating water.
Right now we’re in the stage of deconstruction. We must take down a lot of the steel in the ceiling, however there may be a steadiness as a result of we wish to preserve the integrity of the construction. When you are dwelling in, and renovating, a house that wasn’t meant to be a residence, there are compromises. There are issues we’d like now for performance, and there are issues we’d like ultimately for the renovation. The largest room is the place we have now acquired a lot of the work carried out. We have taken down all of the steel from the ceiling, put up lights and moved our belongings into that room so we will renovate the remainder of the bunker. More lately, we have now been organising an Energy restoration air flow (ERV) system which is able to preserve the move of air coming in and out of the bunker with out dropping an excessive amount of warmth.
My spouse and I’ve taken the mezzanine space as our room, my son sleeps in the smallest room, and my different daughters sleep in the biggest room, one in a tent and one in a bunk mattress. I’ve straightforward going children, which makes it a lot simpler to tackle a challenge like this. People have requested what my children take into consideration shifting underground, however this has been a 7 to 9 12 months course of they usually had been little once we began speaking about this. If something, their response has been: It’s about time!
We have a makeshift kitchen in the biggest room, utilizing cupboards as an island and with some primary gear, like an induction hotplate, a microwave, an prompt pot, a toaster oven, an air fryer and a blender. The subsequent stage is to get the lavatory in after which construct a correct kitchen. When we set up the bedrooms we are going to benefit from the 16.5ft ceilings and construct a second story in each of the smallest rooms for them.
When you stroll in, the smallest room is on the left, so we’ll make that into a actually giant pantry and create a second storey with two bedrooms. There can be one other door on the correct that can result in the second largest room which may have a eating room space with a kitchen in the again left hand nook after which a lounge space on the correct. It can be an open space with a massive concrete pillar in the center. To the correct would be the largest room, which is able to turn into a recreation room, and also will retain the unique ceilings. The furthest smaller room may even have a second storey constructed in with two further bedrooms and the generator room will turn into my workplace. If we find yourself spending $300,000-$500,000 I might not be shocked. I’m doing a lot of the work myself and I actually wish to do this. It appears becoming that when you have a bunker you need to know the way it works and runs.
People ask me if I’m a doomsday prepper. It is tough to have a bunker and never have a little little bit of prepper come out in you. But the motivation for getting the bunker wasn’t being terrified of the long run. I do not like the thought of doing issues out of concern. If one thing occurs, in fact, I can be completely happy to have a bunker, however we fell in love with the house. I’m not getting ready for any doomsday eventualities.
At the identical time, we have now at all times had meals storage in our houses, whenever you work for your self there are ups and downs and there have been instances the place we weren’t making sufficient and used our meals storage. My spouse might be extra of a prepper than I’m: she needs the large pantry! She would like to solely go to the grocery retailer as soon as a month. But we’re solely about 20 minutes away from a city with massive shops, so it isn’t onerous to purchase objects we’d like.
The finest response to the house we have now had is when a pal got here with their daughter and informed her it was a sacred house. I like that as a result of I see that too. My imaginative and prescient of the house is probably grander than what it’s now as a result of we’re at the start of a renovation, however I see the potential of it and I do see it as a sacred house for us.
I’m excited to get to the purpose of creating design selections as a substitute of air high quality selections. I talked to a firm who had been bunker specialists, however I believe they had been used to individuals throughout the doomsday prepper house; individuals who wish to construct defence programs. But in my thoughts, our greatest enemy right here is nature, not individuals. Nature will possible destroy this place a lot quicker than individuals will. I wish to preserve it secure from mould and mildew and get good high quality air in the bunker. This firm additionally needed manner an excessive amount of cash.
It’s been such a lengthy course of that I’ve had time to analysis all the pieces myself. I’m not utilizing any wooden or drywall; something that’s liable to mould or mildew. Of course, picket furnishings is okay. But I do not wish to be terrified of the place moulding or deteriorating if we spent a while away. It’s actually unhappy to me that a lot of those bunkers are being misplaced to time, neglect and abandonment.
People are interested in how they will discover these communications bunkers, and you’ll find them. They are on eBay and different property websites. Some of those former communication facilities are 60,000 square feet. But we need not construct a small metropolis. This is only for me and my household.
People have urged we get extra mild in and lower out a skylight in the ceiling. If there actually was a nuclear battle, I’d really feel fairly silly to be 95 % of the best way there and have ruined it as a result of I needed a skylight. We must be true to the bunker too. I wish to reuse something I can. I would like the flavour of the bunker to stay. I like minimal, industrial, monolithic design. If I needed a conventional residence, I might have purchased one.
My dream, as my children begin to develop up, is to have a place the place they and their households can come for household reunions. We’re sort of in the center of nowhere however that does not hassle me, I’d fairly simply sit and discuss with them. That’s my dream and all the pieces I do to the bunker revolves round that imaginative and prescient: bringing my household collectively in the long run.
Ruben Romero is a advertising and marketing and net advisor and is at the moment renovating a 6,000 sq. foot former nuclear communications bunker. You can observe him on TikTookay @undergroundliving or on their YouTube channel UndergroundLiving.
All views expressed in this text are the writer’s personal.
As informed to Jenny Haward.