The Lady Loam (Re)Creation Story

Part 6: The Last 10% of the Build

To catch up on the first part of the series, start by reading Part 1: Big Dreams require Bigger Decisions.

Despite the fact that we had dispatched from Tucson on our adventure, there was still quite a few smaler projects we wanted to check off on our building list. On top of that, as expected, we needed to adjust our systems and make some more purchases based on our needs once living in Lady Loam. We had accomplished the goal of building the interior to a point of functionality, but little details were still on the list. We were both feeling the post-exhaustion of the last year of non-stop buiding, so we took it easy on the building projects the next few months, and prioritized addressing the most important things. We carry building supplies and tools in our truck, which has really come in handy as we travel.

Within the first week, we prioritized the projects most pressing:

  • reiforced the front window plexiglass with nuts and bolts to prevent it from breaking the caulk seal as we drove
  • re-caulked the big windows
  • bought a gas generator for times when our battery was low and the solar panels weren’t supporting our intake of electricity
  • bought a spare tire for the trailer
  • re-caulked the ceiling area where we found leaking the first night in Flagstaff
  • made a simple exhaust pipe and carried an eletrical wire to the fan for the composting toilet so we could use it
  • built Artie a crate/hideyhole under our bed, with a cute cedar door with a simple gate lock

A few months later, and a few more projects later, we checked off a good amount of little tasks which greatly improved daily life. From late August to mid February 2024, these projects include:

  • installed 2 more LED strip lights on the ceiling beams for a total of 3, and one more below the bed in the “garage” for maximum light efficiency
  • replaced the original tongue jack stand on the hitch with one that can swing up and secure on the hitch while we are towing
  • installed heavy duty slide-out hinges and a platform for the fridge/freezer to pull out from under the couch
  • built a slide-out drawer for under the desk top
  • installed a magnet computer mount on the desk to maximize the workspace
  • built under bed shelving on 1/3rd of the space, with 24 1f fabric cubes to organize our less-frequented clothes, tech, and art materials
  • built a floating wall-to-wall shelf for the bathroom
  • installed a curtain rod for the shower curtain in the bathroom
  • installed a rod for an under-sink curtain
  • cut and installed luan pieces to the upper cabinet face frames
  • installed a peg board for the entry wall for our jackets and dirty work clothes, hats, flashlights and headlamps, and things like that
  • installed a cosmetic doorframe, window frames, and wheelwell step toe kick to conceal the battery storage
  • re-installed a decorative wood beam on the ceiling and reconfigured the light strip to match the others
  • install a removable floating platform on the couch for a continous couch
  • built a platform for the under sink water jugs for easier movement and space underneath for water bottle storage
  • re-spray painted the hitch and exposed trailer on the front and back with matte black automobile paint
  • replaced the old tires with larger, off-roading ones
  • replaced the leaf spring suspension with independent suspension to help us off-road safer and smoother
  • replaced the one-way metal screen door bolts with longer, stronger hardware

Lessons Learned After being so worn out from having our lives consumed by building, completing these final tasks took a lot of motivation. Many people recognize that the beginning a big project is the hardest part, while others think ending it is the hardest. I firmly believe that both are equally difficult. The first 5% of a big project you haven’t done before is intimidating; so many choices that will affect so much in the future, with the least amount of experience. The highest amount of motivation and inspiration guide the beginning, but the overwhelming nature of it is tough to work through. It took Isaac and I months decide we were going to demolish the trailer after buying it because that meant we had committed to building the entire structure from the trailer bed up.

In contrast, by the final 10% of a project, the inspiration can be worn and the fatigue of the process can really wear on you. We set the managable goal of having the basics of our living spaces built before leaving, and we proudly accomplished that goal and still felt that we pushed ourselves harder than we ever could have imagined. The last 2 weeks of building in Tuscon was full of mental break downs, 15 hour days, and fits of dehydration and overheating. Overall, we just wanted to do as much as we could before time ran out on our deadline to leave, knowing that whatever wasn’t finished yet could be completed later on. In the end, we were glad that we waited on building some of the minor projects until after we lived in the space and observed how we functioned in it.

And after a while living in Lady Loam, we continue to dream up new projects and adjust what we built. The beauty of living in a house you built is that you have the freedom, autonomy, and ability to change what you want, when you want.

isabelle's painted sky ● Copywright 2023