This website uses cookies to improve your experience navigating our site. By continuing to browse, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

OK, I understand

A Tiny Handmade Home Built By A Father-Daughter Duo!

Tiny Homes

Camilla Walker flew the coop thirteen years ago, only to land back in it again – in a good way! After more than a decade jumping between sharehouses and continent-hopping, she finally felt the urge to settle down. Buying a property wasn’t really a viable option, so she had to think outside the box.

Together with her Dad, Patrick, Camilla built a tiny, self-sufficient home at the back of her parents’ garden in Melbourne’s north. Guided by Patrick’s carpentry skills and a strong desire to make this alternative mode of living work, the pair set out to handmake this mini dwelling on wheels, totally from scratch!

1st December, 2020

Camilla Walker built the tiny home at the bottom of her parents’ garden with her dad, Patrick. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Camilla at home! Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

The view from one end of the home to the other. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

The kitchen, dining and living area are all tucked neatly into the main space, while the loft houses a separate mezzanine bed and Camilla’s bathroom is behind the sliding door! Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

A plumber and electrician were the only outside help Patrick and Camilla received in constructing the home. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Although Camilla admits she probably could have been a bit more nifty with storage space, the small dwelling has forced her to only own object she truly loves and needs. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Camilla’s bedroom. Her only two requirements were that the house had plenty of natural light and her bedroom was on the ground-floor. Here, she has both! Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Patrick + Camilla Walker outside the finished tiny home, which took 8 months to complete. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

The entrance to the tiny home, where Camilla looks out onto her parents’ lush garden. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

 

 

The construction phase in progress!

The completed dwelling, entirely handcrafted by Camilla and Patrick. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

 

Poppies in the garden outside Camilla’s tiny home. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Having a bountiful garden to plonk your tiny home is definitely an added bonus! Camilla spends lots of time outside in hers. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

The lush garden Camilla shares with her parents. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Sasha Gattermayr
Tuesday 1st December 2020

‘It is literally one room but I don’t ever wish I had more space.’ – Camilla Walker

It’s no secret that increasingly, home ownership in the traditional sense is not a reality for many young Australians, and even more so for those without someone to join forces with. When Camilla Walker‘s parents first floated the idea of building a tiny home for her, she thought it was a bit bonkers. But after some consideration, she began to see the perks.

There are many reasons to build a tiny home. Generally, they have a low environmental impact, discourage overconsumption, and are economical to build and maintain. And for Camilla, there was the added bonus of being even closer to her beloved parents!

Located at the bottom of their garden in Melbourne’s north, Camilla and her dad Patrick built this tiny home by hand between September 2019 and April of this year. Over those eight months, the Walkers did everything themselves – drilling, jig-sawing, hammering, and painting – until the tiny, cosy cabin came to life. Despite her early reservations, Camilla has never been happier.

We quizzed her about every angle of this impressive project!

Hey Camilla! First of all, how did the idea of building a tiny home arrive as an option for you?

My parents went to a talk on tiny homes and suggested it to me as something to consider as a housing option. I thought it was a horrible idea at first! But I mulled it over for quite a while and eventually saw the plus side – no mortgage, living more sustainably with a lot less, being near my family, and building a house with my Dad. A lot of my friends were buying their first homes, which wasn’t financially viable for me back then when I was a single gal, so I built one instead with the budget I had!

Did you have any reservations about living ‘with your parents’?

Yes. I’ve been very independent for thirteen years, moving out of home and interstate when I was just 18, living in various sharehouses and overseas in London for a bit. I cringed at the idea of being anything but self sufficient. But as my friends have always told me, I have ‘cool parents’, and we foster a relationship that isn’t ‘parent + child’ so much as it is ‘adult family members who get along really well’.

We share meals, split bills, have each other over for coffee, help each other out, and particularly during Covid times I’ve felt the warmth and love of family that so many have probably been pining for. I love my parents with all of my heart, and never want to look back on life and wish I’d had more time with them.

Talk us through the construction phase!

My Dad and I built my house. Dad was a carpenter when we were kids so has unlimited skills and experience when it comes to building. He’s also endlessly creative and everything he touches turns into an eccentric masterpiece.

We had many discussions about the tiny house and how to build it. We looked at Pinterest a lot to make a mood board, watched tiny house videos and got a great feel for how to approach it. Essentially though, a tiny house is one room so you’re governed by the four walls. We sketched up the floor plan very loosely and then just went for it.

There were a few things I was adamant about – my room had to be on the ground floor (not in the loft as I didn’t want to have to crouch to get dressed) and I needed lots of windows for light and airflow. We had a plumber and electrician come in to do their thing, but the rest was all Dad and I.

How do you approach everyday life in your tiny home?

Life in my tiny home is simple – I wake up and have a coffee, and go out my front or back door to different parts of the garden. It is literally one room but I don’t ever wish I had more space. It has a kitchen and bathroom (with a composting toilet which isn’t as bad as it seems), and a shower which is plenty big enough. The only thing it doesn’t have is a laundry so I pop to the big house to do my washing. I also need to look into some serious cooling during summer because it can get pretty sweaty on a hot day!

We designed the house so that if I ever relocate it pretty much everything can be removed. For example, I don’t have an inbuilt stove, but rather an electric stove top and oven that I store under the bench. To be honest, I was a bit light on with storage (i.e. we weren’t clever to build storage into every nook and cranny) so I have to be ruthless with what stays in the house. For example, my wardrobe can only fit one season’s clothes so I swap them over every few months and put what I’m not wearing in a suitcase under the house.

What kind of life does your tiny home represent to you more broadly?

I’m a minimalist at heart and as I get older, I want only beautiful or practical things in my home. I hate having stuff for the sake of it. My tiny house represents doing life a bit differently – no mortgage, living alone (but quite communally) and feeling free. It’s on wheels so I can cruise away at any time too!

How long do you envision yourself living here?

It’s hard to say how long I will live here. I love it for now, it suits my lifestyle and I foresee growing more fond of it as time passes. But I also love change, so when the time comes for me to fly the coop again (lol), I don’t feel tied to owning a house in a traditional sense. I will either leave it in the yard or sell it, or relocate it to somewhere new!

What has been the most rewarding part of this project?

The feeling of living in a house we built from scratch! Sometimes I just stand in the kitchen and look up and I’m in awe of how beautiful the space is. I know where every last material came from, how heavy every piece of timber is, how strong its foundations are, how much insulation went into the walls, how I wondered what the hell I had done when the trailer was first delivered, and how much I dreamt about what this home would be like when I was living in it. And now I know that it’s the life for me.

This Week

Stays

This Revitalised Motel With Old Hollywood Vibes Is Byron Bay's Newest Design Destination

A little bit Los Angeles, a little bit Ibiza, this beautiful new accommodation in the heart of the Northern Rivers is a showcase of local de...
Sasha Gattermayr

Creative People

The Best News Story Of 2021, So Far!

We check in on Think Thornbury owners Maggie May and Josh Kelly and their son Remy and get an update on their family!

Studio Visit

Dive Into The Colourful, Creative World of Melbourne's Designer-Of-The-Moment, Danielle Brustman

Know her name but not her story? Welcome to the vibrant world of designer Danielle Brustman, at her incredible studio in Collingwood Yards!
Sasha Gattermayr
02:40

Small Business

Our (Free!) Small Business Summer School Is Here!

Got a burning business idea but no idea where to start? Small Business Consultant Fiona Killackey is here to guide you through how to get st...

Furniture

The Tradie Brotherhood Behind Our Newest Furniture Obsession

Brothers Jack and Mark Fearon combine their experience as a plumber and boilermaker to create the most colourful, characterful furniture goi...
Sasha Gattermayr

News

Sit Front Row At The Country To Couture Fashion Show Tonight!

The 2020 runway show featuring an incredible lineup of contemporary First Nations designers will be broadcast via Facebook this Friday (toda...

Interiors

The 5 Rules Of Good Kitchen Design, According To Cantilever Interiors

A good kitchen starts with observing these five rules, brought to you by Australian design and manufacturing kitchen brand Cantilever Interi...

Architecture

A Victorian Terrace That Plays Design Gymnastics!

Melbourne's colour masters Wowowa are back with another clever Victorian renovation!

Architecture

A Contemporary Beach House Designed By An Architect For Her Parents

The Bendalong Beach House by Madeleine Blanchfield provided such a serene escape for its owners, it became their full-time residence!

Architecture

This Couple's Home Is Two Houses In One!

Coy Yiontis Architects have designed this home with separate areas for a couple who have been living together for 50 years. His and hers goa...

Architecture

A Lean, Clean Renovation To A Grand Heritage Weatherboard

ioa Studio transforms a cavernous Victorian residence into a light, bright contemporary home - and adds an element of surprise!
Sasha Gattermayr

Studio Visit

The Dreamy New Retail Space Of A Professional Plant Charmer

Consider us charmed by Ryan Klewer’s (aka Plant Charmer) brand new headquarters in East Brunswick!
Sasha Gattermayr
  6 hours ago

Homes

Louella Boitel Gill's Loved And Layered Bungalow By The Beach

Interior and furniture designer Louella Boîtel-Gill has turned her former Airbnb in the Northern Rivers into an idyllic family home.
42:51

Podcast

TDF Talks with Plant Designer, Jenna Holmes of Plant Mama

In this podcast conversation, Jenna of 'Plant Mama' and 'Pasta Mama' shares how she has built and grown two very different businesses from t...

News

Colourful New Kids Books From A Legendary Local Illustrator

Artist Kat MacLeod teaches us our ABCs in this super cute range of books from Thames & Hudson.

View Comments

Similar Stories

Homes

A Pint-Sized Coastal Home That Does More With Less!

Harriet Birrell aka Natural Harry, and building designer Fraser West, turned an exisiting structure into a dreamy 40 square metre home on Vi...

Homes

A Designer’s ‘Curated Maximalist’ Apartment in Sydney

Interior designer and stylist Jono Fleming shares his treasure-box apartment in Sydney's Waterloo.

Interiors

4 Big Ideas For Small Spaces

From storage to styling (no, you don't have to be a minimalist), we bring you the best tips and tricks for making the most of a tight spot!

This Week

Architecture

A Contemporary Beach House Designed By An Architect For Her Parents

The Bendalong Beach House by Madeleine Blanchfield provided such a serene escape for its owners, it became their full-time residence!

Interiors

The 5 Rules Of Good Kitchen Design, According To Cantilever Interiors

A good kitchen starts with observing these five rules, brought to you by Australian design and manufacturing kitchen brand Cantilever Interi...

News

Colourful New Kids Books From A Legendary Local Illustrator

Artist Kat MacLeod teaches us our ABCs in this super cute range of books from Thames & Hudson.

Studio Visit

The Dreamy New Retail Space Of A Professional Plant Charmer

Consider us charmed by Ryan Klewer’s (aka Plant Charmer) brand new headquarters in East Brunswick!
Sasha Gattermayr
  6 hours ago

Architecture

A Victorian Terrace That Plays Design Gymnastics!

Melbourne's colour masters Wowowa are back with another clever Victorian renovation!

Studio Visit

Dive Into The Colourful, Creative World of Melbourne's Designer-Of-The-Moment, Danielle Brustman

Know her name but not her story? Welcome to the vibrant world of designer Danielle Brustman, at her incredible studio in Collingwood Yards!
Sasha Gattermayr

Stays

This Revitalised Motel With Old Hollywood Vibes Is Byron Bay's Newest Design Destination

A little bit Los Angeles, a little bit Ibiza, this beautiful new accommodation in the heart of the Northern Rivers is a showcase of local de...
Sasha Gattermayr
42:51

Podcast

TDF Talks with Plant Designer, Jenna Holmes of Plant Mama

In this podcast conversation, Jenna of 'Plant Mama' and 'Pasta Mama' shares how she has built and grown two very different businesses from t...

Homes

Louella Boitel Gill's Loved And Layered Bungalow By The Beach

Interior and furniture designer Louella Boîtel-Gill has turned her former Airbnb in the Northern Rivers into an idyllic family home.

Creative People

The Best News Story Of 2021, So Far!

We check in on Think Thornbury owners Maggie May and Josh Kelly and their son Remy and get an update on their family!
02:40

Small Business

Our (Free!) Small Business Summer School Is Here!

Got a burning business idea but no idea where to start? Small Business Consultant Fiona Killackey is here to guide you through how to get st...

Architecture

This Couple's Home Is Two Houses In One!

Coy Yiontis Architects have designed this home with separate areas for a couple who have been living together for 50 years. His and hers goa...

News

Sit Front Row At The Country To Couture Fashion Show Tonight!

The 2020 runway show featuring an incredible lineup of contemporary First Nations designers will be broadcast via Facebook this Friday (toda...

Architecture

A Lean, Clean Renovation To A Grand Heritage Weatherboard

ioa Studio transforms a cavernous Victorian residence into a light, bright contemporary home - and adds an element of surprise!
Sasha Gattermayr

Furniture

The Tradie Brotherhood Behind Our Newest Furniture Obsession

Brothers Jack and Mark Fearon combine their experience as a plumber and boilermaker to create the most colourful, characterful furniture goi...
Sasha Gattermayr

Similar Stories

Homes

A Pint-Sized Coastal Home That Does More With Less!

Harriet Birrell aka Natural Harry, and building designer Fraser West, turned an exisiting structure into a dreamy 40 square metre home.

Homes

A Designer’s ‘Curated Maximalist’ Apartment in Sydney

Interior designer Jono Fleming shares his leafy Sydney apartment!

Interiors

4 Big Ideas For Small Spaces

From storage to styling (no, you don't have to be a minimalist), we bring you the best tips and tricks for making the most of a tight spot!

The Design Files acknowledge the traditional custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files – we would love to hear from you.

Please email us here.