i’d like to say this experience is based somewhat loosely on a fantastic book: . rather, it is quite tightly linked. it all seemed so simple.  you move out of the city to a field, and build your own house, living in a trailer while you chip away at your dream.

so, we bought this piece of junk. here it is just arriving from craigslist:

i figured it would only take six months to gut and put back together.

progress has been consistently slow (renovation pictures) and a solid year and a half later i’m still struggling to finish it up. it certainly would have been easier to do just about anything else. for example we could have not gutted it, built a shop with an apartment, rented an apartment, etc. but, when we go in for a penny, we like to follow it with bad money.

questionable choices aside, it’s not a bad living space. we aren’t feeling cramped yet and everyone seems quite content with the circumstances. here is the current, nearly complete, state of things:




this story isn’t over though. all trailers leak and ours is no exception. all told i replaced about half the rivets on the exterior, re-caulked 100% of it, 50% of it twice, and it is still not watertight. we also don’t have any trees nearby to provide shade.


the solution is a shelter for the trailer to live under. of course this structure represents another large amount of time, money and effort.

after much effort hollowing out the pit run for the footings i finally got the cement poured and the posts standing upright. i was by myself, balancing 16′ 6x6s, 10′ and 16′ 2x4s, drill, bolts, and a socket. some very tense moments. the posts were not quite plumb in this picture but a friend stopped by and we made short work of it.

at one point i went to hang my drill onto my back pocket and missed my pocket. i watched the drill – in slow motion – slide down the front of the pad, into the 6′ deep trench the plumbing is in. luckily, i already had one support up, and it was a fairly well balanced post. i’m not sure what i could have done if it would have been less balanced. here it is vertical, somewhere near mid july:

after being told that the truss boom for the skid steer was no longer for rent, i didn’t know how to get the beams up. luckily my neighbor (guilty of the pit run plan) showed up, unannounced, with his backhoe and a couple of guys. they lifted them all into place in about 6 hours. 

it should be a solid structure, but i left the beams drying in the field too long and a couple are quite badly warped. good thing cait isn’t shallow. 

next time i wouldn’t get the lumber till i was ready to put it all together in a couple days time. from what i understand, there is no way to untwist a beam.

some friends (abe and kenny!!) of a friend  drove well out of their way for 3 days in a row to get me dried in:

this just left me to build the shear walls and get the roofing on.


that’s delphi   ^