Build Rundown of Our Tiny Home

Specifics and Motivations for creating Lady Loam

Build Details

  • name: Lady Loam, registered as a 1962 Pacer Trailer (the only thing from 1962 left is the trailer bed)
  • dimensions: 16x8x8ft, 12’ tall from the ground
  • square footage: 128 square feet
  • trailer weight: 5420 pounds
  • independent timbren suspension
  • distance traveled so far with us: 7,000+ miles
  • hauling vehicle: 2020 Ford F-150 3.6L V6 with ecoboost and complete towing package, previously owned
  • miles per gallon hauling the trailer: 12mpg
  • time lived in: August 2023 to March 2024, 7 months so far
  • number of places parked and lived in for more than 4 days: 28+
  • temperature highs and lows while living in: 24ºF (Sequoia National Forest) to 102ºF (Tucson)
  • power system: 2 lithium batteries 200aH 24V total, 3 solar panels, inverter, distribution system, and emergency gas generator with 30 amp plug in
  • water system: 5 20L (5 gallon) military grade water jugs for clean water, one sink with a foot pump and simple plumbing, and one 5gal water jug for grey water
  • appliances and features:
  • Camp Chef 14” Versatop Cast Iron Cooktop (runs on propane), IceCo chest refrigerator and freezer, Nature’s Head Composting Toilet, Water recycling shower
  • storage solutions: Under counter kitchen storage shelves, under couch storage space, 12 feet of upper cabinetry for clothes, built in narrow storage bed headboard, wall and corner nooks for small storage, 10” high wheel well step storage for shoes, under bed shelf storage, truck cab storage, truck bed storage for building materials and tools, decorative pillows stuffed with soft clothing
  • exterior materials: FRP panels
  • other features: Simplisafe security system, metal screen door, 2 opening picture windows, 2 glass windows, 1 stationary skylight, 1 AirMax vent fan, Starlink Satellite, Wifi router and extender, computer monitor and mount, enclosed and water proofed bathroom, large built-in underbed dog crate with locking door
  • estimated total cost for the build: from 4/2022 to 7/2023, (from the initial purchase of the trailer to the day we began traveling), $17,681.44


  • sustainability: use and reuse as many reclaimed materials as we can, take up less space as people and hord/consume less obsolete materialistic items
  • financials: save money that would otherwise be used for rent and utilities, parking, cost of 2 cars and their insurance and gas
  • lifestyle: glamping, closeness to nature and ability to travel, experience different landscapes and seasons and communities, change our way of life to focus on fewer and more fulfilling activities, challenge our comfort with indoor/outdoor living and navigating new places and biomes
  • experience: challenge of building and sustaining our own house out of conventional terms, electrical and propane management, grey water and composting toilet maintenance, car and mechanical maintenance, travel adaptability and resilience

WHY A TRAILER? (and not a van, truck camper, or 5th wheel)

  • ability to unhitch and take our car other places without hauling our house everywhere
  • ability to eventually park it permanently on land without looking sacrificing a converted car
  • ability to take the car or the trailer to get fixed at a auto shop without loosing the other
  • initial cost of purchasing a trailer bed versus a van (which is astronomically expensive upfront)
  • security of being able to lock the trailer independently from a standardized van door system (which is known to be easily hacked, break-ins are common in vans)
  • accessibility with building the shape of the trailer


  • gas prices for traveling weekly and towing
  • finding clean water stations to refill our water jugs (they last us 2 weeks for drinking, dishes, sponge baths, and food)
  • our shower setup (a shower pan system that uses a lot of water, must be used outside for easy drainage so it requires privacy and warm weather)
  • relying on a laundramat for clean clothes
  • finding and camping on lesser trafficed, non-littered, free, beautiful and sunny places that also have good roads can be challenging
  • distance from civilization, and necessary conveniences like gas stations, water, and food
  • anxiety on travel days for the durability of the trailer and uncertanty of our safety while on the road with other drivers
  • being exposed to the elements (pro and con)
  • maintaining our own home and all it’s quirks (pro and con)
  • limited showers (using our own, finding a truckstop, or campsite shower)
  • dishes with limited water and using foot pump
  • limited fridge storage for fresh food and leftovers


  • ability to completely customize every inch of the tiny home, build betterment projects as we see fit, and have autonomy over the space
  • accessability to travel where we like to see friends, family, job opportunities, events, and seasons
  • Artie (our dog) enjoying nature everyday, getting sufficient exersise and healthy stimulation
  • financial freedom from not renting
  • traveling wherever we want, whenever we want, for however long we want
  • immeasurable pride and satisfaction in our accomplishments of building our own house and experiencing breathtaking nature (weekly) as a result
  • encouragement of minimalism and organization in the small space
  • spending time with each other (the absence of not commuting and doing chores apart from each other)
  • maintaining our own home and all it’s quirks (pro and con)
  • pushing our comfortability limits to live an outside/inside life
  • sleeping in wild and secluded enironments
  • cooking outside, being challenged to cook from pantry and freezer foods mostly
  • being exposed to the elements (pro and con)
  • highly efficient and powerful landromat machines
  • getting creative with the purposes of multi-functional tools, appiances, and clothes


  • find a shop to build the trailer with a designated area for woodworking and welding, material storage, and tool organization for the duration of the build
  • build the roof with an small overhang and an extra single piece of material to avoid risk of leak spots
  • make the exterior wall dimensions 4x8feet so paneling is easier to build
  • not use FRP for the exterior (it was toxic to work with, took forever to cut/sand/paint/install, and was expensive)
  • build a drainage hole in the bathroom for showers
  • build the kitchen and sofa 3 inches lower to the floor
  • use real double pained windows instead of makeshift DIY workarounds for the opening picture windows
  • wire the lights behind the luan walls rather than exposed wiring
  • reinstall the tongue and groove floor more carefully and with less perimeter gap so the seams don’t drift apart each time we drive
  • have a shorter and faster heating cooktop
  • consider using aluminum pipe framing instead of steel for weight and less temperature fluctuation throughout the day and moisture levels (steel is easily weldable, affordable, and stronger, while aluminum is a lot more complicated to weld and expensive, yet aluminum stays at a more constant temperature and is lightweight)

12 things I’ve learned about building a project at this scale:

  1. The hardest part is the start (of each mini project)
  2. The second hardest part is to complete the final 10% after the 90% is done
  3. Don’t be afraid to ask for help (and discounts on building materials and services) (in stores, from friends)
  4. Always maintain a to-do list, and collect reliable and important sources and ideas along the way (reasearch via “YouTube University” as we builders call it)
  5. Better to over-engineer than under-engineer
  6. Some things are worth hiring an expert for (we’ll keep this in mind for the next build…)
  7. Pick up trash and screws at least once a building day. There will always be a screw or two loose on the ground. And keep your building supplies and tools organized
  8. Always look to reuse materials and get resourceful before purchasing new
  9. When you’re struggling, don’t feel bad about indulging yourself with an afternoon shower and getting a nutritious meal delivered to your doorstep
  10. Always wear PPE! And if you think you’ll get hurt doing something, step back and reassess how to go about it (doubt means don’t)
  11. Change is constant; problem solving, emotional regulation, organization, and communication are all equally imparative
  12. There will rarely be a perfect time to build your dreams. You have to make the time and reorder your priorities if you want it done

isabelle's painted sky ● Copywright 2023