May 30, 2014


Eleven hours, hundreds of meters of cable, one electrician (Kaitsu) and his assistant (Pekka). The bunker is now electrified.

Projects which deal with electricity clearly fall into the anti-DIY category. Fortunately, our friend Kaitsu, who completed the electric work upstairs earlier, had promised to accept the downstairs (extreme) challenge as well.

Work in process

Half a storage space, half a Man Cave for Pekka's projects, lighting plays a crucial role. Light will be provided by a set of fluorescent tubes placed in various places around the bunker. For example, the tubes on the back wall (picture below) will be covered by a board in front to make the light indirect.

Indirect light to be

Major part of Pekka's assistant work was to drill the needed holes to enable running the cable from the electrical board located upstairs to downstairs. Once again, the recently acquired new drilling tool with a 30 mm drill bit become handy once again. Altogether, to run all the wires through required three rather big holes to connect the floors.

Way from upstairs

As it will be a Man Cave, there were certain "special" requirements. Perhaps the most manly one was the availability of power current. Pekka can finally cross this point "completed" from his long term wish list. The power current really marks the beginning of a new era in the Olive Green Window, enabling the use of a much wider variety of tools than before. Just imagine the possibilities! Nevertheless, we will start by compressing the gravel on the bunker floor by using a machine instead of manual effort, which would be clearly insufficient anyways.

Power current plug

As a summary, it is pretty amazing now there is power. Oh, and the floor heating in the downstairs lounge works as well. Quite nice indeed.

May 27, 2014

Painting lesson

We are making progress with the paintwork in the bunker. Today we also realised that for the first time the area is finally dust and tool free enough to allow Sofi to move around a bit more freely than before.

And what does she do when let loose? Of course, following Pekka's footsteps she wanted to paint.

Painter and his assistant

The little painter surprised us by really focusing on the task at hand. Usually, her attention span tends to be on the shorter end of a spectrum, but this novelty engaged her for quite a long while.

Learning all parts of the process

Afterwards, the discoveries continued. The joy of realising the possibilities provided by the large rock formation is a pretty good predictor for the attractiveness of the bunker during the years to come.

Checking out the tools

A few more nights, and the whole bunker will be painted. The white paint seems to be working wonders in many ways. The space does not only light up, but the fresh layer also makes the air feel fresher.

Nearly finished

And what's next? This coming Friday our trusted electrician Kaitsu will start working on the electrical cables, switches, plugs and lighting. After being "wired", there are still several steps before the bunker will be finished, for example a tiny detail such as the steel reinforced concrete floor. Anyway, the light in the end of the tunnel has started to take shape. We are so excited - when ready, the bunker will simply rock.

May 25, 2014

Fast forward

Again, another crazy week is ending.

Physically drained but mentally excited we finally had to admit it: the nesting instinct seems to lie exceptionally strong in us. Despite of the occasional fleeting moments of despair we'd choose to do all of it again in a minute. Crazy.

Lots of work has been done. Small steps, bigger steps. Perhaps not overly exciting steps, but steps forward nevertheless. The checklist from Friday night is as follow:

First, the downstairs walls have been painted with a base coat.

After base coat

Second, the floor heating cable has been covered and the tubes for sensors have been fitted in place.

Sensor tubing waiting to be covered

Third, 10 tons of gravel has arrived. And thanks, once again, to the invaluable help of Juha, Janne, Jouni and Matti, it has miraculously moved to the bunker. You guys rock!!

Pile of gravel

300 mm layer of gravel

Evened out

Last, the painting of the bunker walls and ceiling has been initiated.

The first corner

Fortunately, one of us had time to enjoy the sun outside, as it has been beautifully warm now in Finland. At the age of two, watering the herbs is quite exciting.

Little gardener

May 19, 2014

Anti-dusting and cable-fitting

In many different ways, the past week was a bit hectic. We have a set date for installing the downstairs slate floor, and several things still needs to happen before. So, the only option is just to keep on going...every night after work...weekends...who needs a social life anyway?

Actually, especially Pekka doesn't mind renovating at all, but rather finds it quite relaxing. But he is also able to recognise when something goes beyond his expertise or can't be done with the tools available. And it just so happened that the new DeWalt power tool he got just does not meet the requirements for the current projects falling not only one, but quite a few sizes too small to be efficient. 

Professional vs. Pekka

So, the professional team coming to our rescue did a great job with their diamond blades and expansive mortar. It took them about a week to break the monstrous granite in manageable pieces. The deal was that the pros would only cut and blast the stone and we would clean up in the evening, so they could continue working the following morning. Consequently, approximately five more tons of rock moved out from the bunker, and will be taken away next weekend when bringing in eight tons of gravel to be laid underneath the concrete slab to be.

Five more tons of rock

During this weekend Pekka's mother came over to take care of Sofi which allowed us to focus fully on the project. Minna spend the lovely spring weekend inside the bunker vacuuming the rock which was awfully messy after a whole week of cutting and blasting. We have been living in the world of dust way too long, and now we are at the point when there is finally some light in the end of the tunnel - the worst should be over and cleaning actually makes sense.

Some serious vacuuming

In the meantime, Pekka concentrated on laying the floor heating cable - all the 227 meters of it. First, the grooves had been vacuumed and primed.

Heating cable

The cable pattern was designed by Pekka and ended up working out just perfect. After a final approval by our trusted electrician Kaitsu the grooves will be sealed with a filler.

The 227 meters of cable and a less than a meter long dachshund

Most of the weekend Urho spend upstairs with grandmother and Sofi. Occasionally, he was allowed to come and give his approval on the quality of our work. Come winter, he is considering moving downstairs as he quite likes the idea of optimising the floor temperature to meet his personal preferences.

"Yeah, this will do - now can I go?"

May 7, 2014

On a roll

Since last night, things are definitely moving forward. 

Unfortunately, so is the dust. 

More loose pieces of granite

More groove for the heating cable

More dust invading upstairs

One step at a time

As it comes to Project Downstairs, it feels we have been destroying things forever. Naturally, destroying is an inevitable phase in renovation, but eventually it would be nice to move into the building phase, which has much more positive and energising feel to it.

Now we are finally starting to get pretty close. But along with the little bit of building which has finally started, there is still some more destroying to be done.

But let's start with the building part. During the last few days, Pekka has been tiling the upper part of the downstairs wall. The room used to have a suspended ceiling before, and therefore these surfaces were not tiled. The plan is to paint the tile wall white, and thus the empty area needs to be filled. One half of the room completed, one to go.

Waiting to be seamed

And then, back to destroying. Now when we have an opportunity, we want to add a floor heating. For that, you need to make a space for the cables. As the circular stairs set a maximum limit to the highest possible floor level, we can't just lay the cables on the floor and cover them. Instead, they need to be embedded in the floor instead. So that means 227 m of cable calling for a 227 m long groove to squeeze the cable in.

Floor heating plan

Pekka gave it a very brave try. After spending a day sweating and swearing, we once again came to the conclusion that bigger tools were needed to get the job done. And indeed, the opportunity presented itself when we called in the professionals to break the bunker-based granite monstrocity in pieces. So more than half of it is already done, the rest just waiting for Pekka's updated cable map.

Cable space

And the work on the monster granite underground? Yes, progressing. Apparently, it was so hard a diamond blade was needed to drill the holes for expansive mortar (no wonder Pekka broke a few drill bits earlier). Now, very late in the evening, we can already hear the cracking sounds. Quite exciting.

Work in process

Granite cylinders left behind by the Diamond

Waiting for the magic begin

Not possessing the skills or strenght needed for the above mentioned projects, Minna and Urho made themselves useful elsewhere. Seeing the opportunity to once again organize and get rid of any unnecessary junk we might still have, Minna decided to start working on the endless boxes of stuff  in the garage, study and closets. Our storage system in the bunker will rely heavily on the SmartStore plastic boxes. The goal is that by the time the shelves are ready, the boxes are ready to fly in.

Posing with the plastic boxes

And how was Urho useful in all this? Well, he wasn't. He liked to live dangerously instead by positioning himself right at the door when Minna was carrying the load in. He is, after all, a very nimble little dachshund.