Celina’s Tiny Abode

Celina’s Tiny Abode


Sixteen-year-old Celina Dill (“Celina Dill Pickle” on her blog) of Whidbey Island is not only building her own tiny house from her own plans, but she’s cutting her teeth on architecture and building with Ross Chapin. Celina is an intern for the Pacific Northwest architect who is famous for his small homes and “pocket neighborhoods“.

Celina decided she wanted to build her own tiny house after living in 15 homes with her parents. Since she is close to moving out on her own, she figured a tiny house on wheels would be the perfect solution to having a place of her own at a cost and size that she could handle.

“I think tiny houses are in the future,” Celina said. “Living with less.”

She designed her 10 foot by 18 foot house with Google Sketchup after reading a book recommended by Chapin: “A Pattern Language” by Christopher Alexander.

“Before reading the book, I had a few ideas for the layout,” she said. “But as I read, the design unfolded in wonderful ways. As I spent days and weeks thinking about it, everything seemed to find its place in my small space.”

The house will be 14 feet tall with a gambrel roof and will be built with Celina’s version of SIP panels (outer plywood wall, small studs, ridged insulation, inner plywood and paper maché). It will include a sleeping/working loft, large windows, a bathroom and an outdoor shower that Celina wants to build out of an old British phone booth. Her wish list (besides help with electrical) includes a crystal chandelier, a pedestal sink, a SMEG fridge and a comfortable leather chair. She acquired her chassis foundation for $250, a 1950s Dixie RV stove for $20, a pot-belly wood stove for $75 and a farm-style kitchen sink for $175. She got her water heater free from a demolition project and salvaged some wooden beams and logs to be used in the construction. Celina wants the bottom part of the house to look like a French Country kitchen. She plans on building a small bistro table, and will build some rolling chopping blocks.

She decided to build the house on wheels since her family does not own property. Her goal is to purchase some property, park her house and also have a little farm. Most of her money is going toward the truck that will tow the house.

Celina, a 4.0 grade-point average student, decided after three semesters of high school that she wanted to learn on her own and is currently “unschooling” herself. She’s using the welding skills she learned in her metal shop class, and is adding skills from her carpenter father. She earns her money by teaching dancing at her family’s dance studio: “Everyone Can Dance”.

Photos courtesy of Celina Dill/My Tiny Abode


By Christina Nellemann for the [Tiny House Blog]



  1. P.S
    You are very much an inspiration.Can’t wait for the finished product.Please add inside photos.I hope my youngest daughter is as driven as you.Good luck in all you do and God bless.

  2. What a great idea, Its nice to see a young female being so adventurous. I thought you’d like to know that when you plan on moving your new home around on public roads you will need oversize vehicle permits as your home is over width and height. By what I can see in the plans you have a very keen eye for design and I look forward to see more from you.
    Keep up the great work.

  3. I assume since you put it on wheels you intend to be able to move it! But the max height on American roadways without an oversize permit and escort is 13’6″ max.

  4. This idea is rolling around in our heads, and since we are empty nesters and simple, country people, this idea is well, ideal, for us. 🙂 Thanks for the inspiration. Now, to decide where to put our little mini-mansion. 😀

  5. My husband and I are two years away from living in a “micro mansion” that we plan to build ourselves. We are currently living in a custom log home we built 22 years ago.
    I am journaling the “downsizing” process and I need to find a way to connect. The newsletter sounds ideal!
    I am searching for exterior finishes that are extremely durable and lightweight, as we do intend to move it to project sites, after we retire…but for the first two years will be mostly in one spot.

  6. you are incredible! you are such an inspiration for me, i want so much to be doing the same as you have done!
    keep on living your life your own way like you are!

  7. Ever since that I had seen the story on MSN, I had been searching the web for different resources here in Canada. Plenty around.
    Your story has really peaked my interest, and, I would like to hear of any follow-ups on your progress.
    Keep up the good work!! Enjoy your premises upon completion.

  8. Please be sure to have good CO, gas and smoke detectors. Critical with all those appliance that involve flames, in a small tightly weatherized space she’ll be sleeping in.

    Having said that; You Go Girl!

  9. congrats girl what your doing is amazing and will give you a life of peace over so many others. It wasn’t until I wasin my 50’s that I decided it was insane and bailed on the outdated dream. Sold a 4200 square foot home and libe in ia 1400 square foot cabin now complete with my art studio and everything I need. Sold a high end sports car and a range rover and drive a small toyota truck and have never been happier.

    Live Well

  10. I really love your work ethic! The best part of all this is you are a self-starter, which will serve you well all your life. We were homeschoolers for 20+ years and I have a bunch of smart, independent adults with kids of their own now. Starting your life this way is amazing and honestly, I am all about the girls who know how to “do for themselves”. No “Barbie” approach to life for you..YAY! Excellent ideas, smart planning.. Applause applause!