We’re Done!

Just kidding.

This is going to be a Mega-Post to top all mega-posts of United Blog History. I thought about turning this into a few smaller posts, that doesn’t really jive with our general sentiment. Of late, our crew has been described as both a freight train and a tropical storm. In both cases, you have something that starts slow and steady, sprinkling little rain drops and puttering along at the speed of a snail. But before you know it, we’ve blasted across the Wasatch front dumping enough rain to flood the four corners and we’ve choo-chooed so fast the rails are still hot as I write this.

Ok, enough with the mixed metaphor thing. Here’s what I’m trying to say: we started slow, sure, but then we started to hum along, unstoppably, until we were done. We started plaster in earnest last Thursday morning and we finished by Friday evening (while dramatic minute-long thunder claps and lightning bolts zipped through the valley) with time to go volunteer at the Bad Art show at the MARC in Moab. That’s why this post is what it is … a freight train of images.

We had tons of help too. A HUGE thank you and HUGER hugs go to Val, Lia and Brian of the Youth Garden Project, Honnika – a surprise volunteer travelling from the East Coast to the West Coast, Karl – local natural building enthusiast, Drake – former CR board member and straw bale enthusiast, and Jessica – former CR intern and friend of many. All of our volunteers injected new perspectives, new voices, and new excitement into the project. It was a blast getting muddy with you.

And now I’ll let the pictures do the talking.


The job site early Wednesday morning.

Pre-plastered bamboo and straw.

Future fascia.

Wall, lathe, plaster, window, soffit, eave.

Grant and Paige look on.

Kelly Ray and his sporty new Moab Half Marathon hat.

This is Karl Larson. He's way into natural building and has been for many years. He can be found at our site on any given day of the week. He can also be found in the album art of a Grateful Dead album. A special Community Rebuilds prize will be given to the first person to present us with this album.

This is Karl's truck. All four sides look like this.

Lisa puts slip (a wonderfully slippery mixture of water and sifted clay) on the North wall.

Slip helps the plaster stick to the wall. Here, Paige prepares a large area with slip while Lisa follows with plasters.

That's our electrical box protected under that plastic.

Our raw materials in action.


Look at em go! Left to Right: Kelly, Honnika, Emily, Jerry, Wade, Jason & Grant.

We were lucky to not only have volunteer but CR's own, Emily Niehaus - founder, director, friend, inspirer, joker, plasterer... among other things.

Emily: tongue-sticker-outer

Jerry and Wade love getting plaster on the job.

Honnika: Master Plasterer

We use long 'floats' to spread the plaster on the wall. Longer floats help us maintain a consistent thickness, over large sections.

That's where the swamp cooler will go. Our first straw bale homeowner confessed that they only turned their cooler on few times the whole summer. Passive solar and leaving windows open at night help the home stay cool while keeping energy costs down

All of Laurel's windows were salvaged from a Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Colorado. They're all terrifically mismatched and full of character.

We rounded the first corner!

Northwest corner.







What we arrived at Friday morning.

Approaching our last corner. The corners were by far the most difficult parts to work on. Not only is it an art to smoothly round the edge, but the corners are not made or straw, they are concrete columns with foam insulation, paper and finally lathe. The tops and bottoms aren't flush with their fittings making it a challenge to plaster those areas. A special thanks goes to Jessica Retka for sticking with that corner and to Kelly Ray for fixing our flubs.

what we left on Friday evening.


4 Responses to “We’re Done!”
  1. Bruce Hagen says:

    A thousand Thanks to all of you helping Laurel build her new home! What a wonderful thing.
    I hope I get out to Moab to meet you this Autumn.
    Bruce Hagen, Laurel’s dad

  2. David Peterson says:

    Did you do the same on the in side? looked like you had some real hotties working with you!!!

    • Hey David!
      We haven’t plastered all of the inside yet. We’ve worked around the windows in the same way that we worked the outside. Today we did our first layer of lime plaster.
      Stay tuned! we’ll have a full blog post about the inside when the time comes. Thanks for reading.


  3. The website looks great! So does the house–well done!

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