‘Tiny Miss Dolly On Wheels’ Is the Brightest, Most Charming Tiny House Ever
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Name: Dolly Rubiano Villacorte
Location: Victoria, Australia
Size: 270 square feet, including the two sleeping lofts
Years lived in: 2 years, owned
With almost 100 thousand Instagram followers and a popular blog, chances are you’ve come across an image of Dolly’s tiny house before. Filled with plants, bathed in sunlight, and seeming much larger than its teeny 270 square feet, it’s easy to see why her handmade home is a favorite of fans of tiny house architecture.
Dolly made the move to Australia from new Zealand in 2015, and her dream to build the ideal tiny house evolved soon after. She first created a miniature model in cardboard of her design, and from there she hired Designer Eco Tiny Homes to build her home on wheels. Though she had help, Dolly did plenty herself, like painting the walls and ceiling, installing floating shelves in the kitchen, and installing a clever bathroom sink—which she created from a wooden salad bowl! She also researched and made the compost toilet using a handbook as a guide.
With two loft spaces, a full-size kitchen, a comfortable bathroom, and lots of clever storage that includes a washing machine, Dolly has designed and created a beautiful home… and it’s clear why her and her home are such an inspiration to the Tiny House Movement. While she continues to make updates here and there to the interior, it’s the exterior that’s recently seen a big improvement: The new deck has been stained and awaits Dolly’s decor and gardening skills now that winter has past.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
My Style: A touch of bohemian and shabby chic. Can I add Scandinavian based on the number of IKEA products I have? Seriously, I prefer every piece of furniture and decor in my tiny home to be decorative, simple, and functional at the same time. Also, I am germaphobic so I keep items that are easy to spot if dirty (hence, white and pink everywhere) and easy to clean, too.
Inspiration: For the tiny house itself: I took inspiration from tiny house designs floating on the internet. Although my original idea was not the same as how it turned out to be, I went with the flow and trusted my gut. It has to be spacious, have natural lighting, and functional. For the interior decoration: I scout secondhand shops, crafts, and farmers markets locally and anywhere I travel to, and these are the places where I got most of my beloved items like the egg house, plants, and many bits and pieces.
Favorite Element: Light and plants! The natural light coming from the north-facing french doors and windows makes my tiny home look spacious and inviting. The plants are both decorative and functional: they make the space feel alive, add humidity, and purify the air. To think that I added indoor plants to solve a moisture problem but now it is the main attraction in my tiny home!
Biggest Challenge: I didn’t have a deck until five months ago and it took me ages before I stained it due to the constant rain (it was winter time in Australia). By then, mould appeared on the deck and I had to get rid of it using several applications of vinegar mixed with water. After that, I applied four coats of water-based stain. I was surprised to discover my deck has become waterproof! I have to wipe the deck dry after it rains or wait a long time before it dries on its own. On the bright side, mud is so easy to wipe away.
What Friends Say: “Dolly, this is so you!” They sense creativity and happiness when they enter my tiny home. And some say “This is a giant dollhouse!” in a good way, I guess.
Biggest Embarrassment: Before the Apartment Therapy photoshoot, the exterior of my tiny house on wheels used to look unkempt. But with my deck and landscaping project, this is changing. Watch this space!
Proudest DIY: Almost everything inside my tiny home is DIY, from the interior wall paint (thanks to my sister Emma for helping out!) to the compost toilet and I’m proud of them all. But if I had to choose, I’d pick the bathroom sink to be my proudest DIY because it was creatively made from reused materials: the vanity sink used to be a wooden salad bowl and the countertop was an off-cut from the kitchen countertop.
Biggest Indulgence: The deck! I had to hire a friend to build me a deck and it’s not cheap. I say it is an indulgence because I am not going to spend a lot of time out on the deck. My tiny house on wheels is exposed to extreme elements: harsh sun, strong winds and frosts. But I’ll grab every chance I get to make the most of the deck use. As I say, watch this space because I have so many creative ideas!
Best Advice: When in doubt, add plants. And fairy lights!
Dream Sources: Instagram is the best place to find inspiration. Of course, @apartmenttherapy is one of them.
PAINT & COLORS
- Dulux Wash&Wear — Antique White U.S.A. for the interior walls
- Dulux Wash&Wear +PLUS Kitchen & Bathroom Semi Gloss — Vivid White for the bathroom and walk-in wardrobe/laundry doors and walls. I can vouch for this mold resistant paint. Two years living in my tiny home and I’ve never had to deal with mold in the bathroom and laundry room.
- Intergrain NaturalStain — Iced White for the deck
- Lace curtains — IKEA
- Floral blackout curtain fabric — Spotlight Australia
- Havana runner — AU Rugs
LOFT LIVING ROOM/ GUEST ROOM
- Japanese style futon sofa bed from Inhabit Designstore, New Zealand — I designed my loft living room/guest room around this 3-in-1 furniture. From a sofa, it folds out into a lounger and a single bed.
- Quilt coverlet on the sofa bed — Linen House Australia
- Cushions — ISHKA, Australia and Linen House Australia
- Norden Gateleg Table from IKEA — This is a space-saving table with multiple uses. It can be a 2-4 seater dining table, a work desk, a crafts table, and a display table for my plants.
- Rail with hooks — IKEA
- Floating shelves — Bunnings Warehouse Australia
- Mugs — Linen House Australia
- Wonderboom portable speakers — Ultimate Ears
- Queen bed — Ecosa Mattress
- Quilt cover and pillows — Linen House Australia
- Fitted sheet — Bhumi Australia
- Square wall shelves — Kmart Australia
- Towel head wrap — Bhumi Australia
- Toilet bucket liners — BioBag; these bags are a life saver! It makes emptying the toilet bucket easy and mess-free.
- Kettlebells — Kettlebell Kings
- Yoga mat — Kmart Australia
- Footstool — ISHKA Australia
- Folding lounge chair — Bed, Bath N’ Table Australia
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