Updated: Aug 6
We were so honored and Privileged to be asked by this awesome local organization (Mercy Drops Dream Center) to build them a custom shower trailer, complete with four HOT showers, on top of a 14 foot trailer.
They work with thousands throughout Hampton Roads, VA- distributing clothing, food, toys, school supplies and more at their fully equipped warehouse. During COVID- they were one of the top Charities in the area to provide much-needed assistance of essentials for adults and children alike.
Our goal was to be able to take the shower trailer to the streets or use it for mission teams that come to work, sorting items from their warehouse during the summer months.
After a few months of planning, budgeting and getting estimates, we were finally ready to build!
We started with a simple frame- enough to fit four custom doors- all of which we got reclaimed from the Restore in VA, Beach and Norfolk.
We are going to use as many reclaimed materials as possible for this job, however for framing, insultation, electrical and plumbing, buying new materials will ensure the best safety.
A small access door will be just enough room to fit an adult to fix any plumbing or electrical needs- neatly hidden out-of-sight.
DAY ONE: FRAMING THE TRAILER
We only had 30 days to complete this trailer- a very tight deadline- since we were working on it in-between other remodeling jobs with our other company: Handy Andy Fixes and homeschooling our three children fulltime.
But we were focused- knowing that we were giving back to the area and serving in our own way- creating something amazing out of a small idea!
Our little glamping wagon idea during quarantine - during a really cold camping trip- was actually how we got the job with Mercy Drops. Through the power of social media, and the inability for bigger box companies to finish this project until the end of 2021, we gladly took on the task!
We knew that we were starting completely from scratch- creating our own drawings and blue prints out of pure imagination.
We decided to NOT build using a traditional covered trailer- the main factor being price, and the ability to fit as many showers as possible without sacrificing space or quality. To fit FOUR showers, in a covered trailer, we would have to cut through the integrity of the metal outside- causing possible structural damage.
DAY TWO: OUTER FRAMING
We are two days into framing the exterior. We still need to do interior walls and roof. We are constrained by the maximum height of a legal trailer/RV but we want to make the headspace and shower as comfortable as possible.
We build in our backyard, surrounded by our family, our kids and our cats- so you will see cameos throughout our process- being a homeschool family- we are used to having craziness around.
We are Andrew and Christal Marshall- Husband and wife team- and we are so glad to be working together on this project!
Since the start of our marriage in 2008- we have always wanted to do a business together and work together. Now, we can say that we do!
DAY THREE: INNER FRAMING OF SEPERATE ROOMS
We wanted four private, yet roomy showers, but we also wanted the ability to access the controls and showerheads from within. So we have created an inner skeleton with an easy little access door for the maintenance team to easily change the water, find solutions and be ready to fix when needed.
We knew that we could only put in showers, due to grey-water regulations in our city, and not toilets, so we were challenged to fit FOUR comfortable showers in the space of 24 feet, plus tanks, piping and ventilation.
We are secretly so glad for NICE WEATHER- little to no humidity. We don't have a shelter or a barn yet, since we work out of our small home studio- so there is no weather covering to build this custom trailer. With our deadline, we can't afford any setbacks with time or precipitation.
We are celebrating our 12th year of marriage and our 17th year of being together (we met at 17 years old) this weekend! We are so honored to know that we are spending our anniversary weekend building something together- a GIANT piece of hand-made art that is going to bless A LOT of people.
We were encouraged, after custom building everything and creating the budgets, the plans, and the supply lists from scratch with NO help from other organizations, we downloaded some FREE guides about mobile shower units from the awesome group Lavamaex LavaMaeˣ (lavamaex.org), serving thousands of homeless in L.A. Their supply lists and FREE pdf's confirmed a lot of the things that were thinking of building and gave us new ideas for our custom trailer.
DAY FOUR: OUTER FRAMING/ INNER FRAMING AND DETAIL WORK
Four days on framing? That's because EVERYTHING matters from the frame. This process takes a lot of energy, measurements, leveling and double checking everything before we proceed. It's like the foundation of a house- everything stems from it- so it has to be right!
We were discouraged to see small bits of rain- but we were relieved to see that we only had to cover our tools, cameras and equipment a little. Our shelter (20 foot x 20 foot) has been ordered, but we probably won't get it under MOST of our project is completed- so we are praying for clear skies or a miraculous cloud cover for the next week. We have been checking the weather and it does look like rain. Please agree with us that we can finished this project on time.
Pray for energy and wisdom as we still had contracts for other work during the day time, so we have to work on this project at night with 10 work lights to light our way.
We are reinforcing all of the studs with extra layers of protection- since we will have to travel with this trailer. It is better to be double or triple enforced- then see something happen.
We had to go to home depot for a fifth time this month- getting more wood, roof parts and studs. We like to take little trips here- and- there and get what we need for a small batch of work, then use THOUSANDS of dollars worth of supplies in one trip. Therefore, Home Depot is our kid's second home.
DAY FIVE: SCREWING EVERYTHING DOWN TO THE TRAILER AND ROOFING START
after a week of dismal weather- we were feeling a little overwhelmed to the get the project finished.
We started off Memorial Day with screwing everything down with extra brackets and large carriage screws to the foundation of the trailer.
You see smoke because we were actually screwing into metal- lubricating between stops- so that we didn't damage our tools.