a story about living small

Making the Film

Colorado Bioneers Conference: A Field Trip to the Tiny House.

Each year, the University of Colorado hosts a satellite version of the National Bioneers Conference, which celebrates “Revolution from the Heart of Nature.”

The national conference features speakers working on the forefront of environmental sciences and activism, bringing environmentalism to everyday

We welcomed an enthusiastic group of 25 Bioneers attendees to step inside the tiny house, and to ask questions about the construction process, the film, and our exploration of the greater tiny house movement.

Colorado Bioneers from CU Environmental Center on Vimeo.

Tiny House Construction Update: Windows and a Small Setback.

Window Tape

Window Tape
Photo by Kevin Hoth

Part of building a house with no experience is learning as we go. We make mistakes, sometimes cringing, sometimes laughing, mostly agreeing that each snafoo will add to the charm of the finished product. But today’s mistake turned out to be pretty expensive, and a little tough on our morale. Continue reading “Tiny House Construction Update: Windows and a Small Setback.” »

Summer Thunderstorms and the Race to Weather-proof.

Summer along Colorado’s front range brings thunderstorms like clockwork. Almost every day, between 3:30 and 4:30pm.

Out at the building site, we can see them coming from miles away. Long gray fingers of rain that extend from the clouds to the plains, dark and quickly moving cloud formations, lighting in the distance and then thunder. We stop to count (1 Misissippi, 2 Mississippi…) to see how many miles away the storm is, and then notice which direction the wind is blowing—whether it’s moving towards us or away—and how fast it might come.

Today, we saw the storm coming and knew it would be a big one, but had just one more piece of trim to cut, with a rented table saw due back that afternoon. Christopher was balancing on the ladder, holding the trim against the roof with one hand and waving for a pencil with the other, when the rain reached us. Fast. I was running around the house, slipping through the mud in my Toms, trying to find the missing pencil and hand it up to him. By the time I did, my hair was dripping and we had no choice but to unplug all the power chords, as soon as possible, and get the rented table saw under plastic. Continue reading “Summer Thunderstorms and the Race to Weather-proof.” »

The Land: Hartsel, Colorado.

Last weekend, we headed up to the land for the first time this spring, to do some filming and to mark out a driveway.

It’s been a rainy few weeks in Colorado. It was drizzling in Boulder as we left, but the clouds broke as we drove up into the mountains. We stopped at the super market in Fairplay and bought some egg salad and a loaf of bread to make sandwiches. Up at the land, we filmed at interview and blocked out a vague idea of where the driveway should come in. It got windy around 4pm and massive dark clouds began to roll in. We packed up. By the time we stopped in Fairplay for coffee on our way home, it was snowing.


Continue reading “The Land: Hartsel, Colorado.” »

How It All Started

It’s hard to remember exactly when or where Christopher and I each learned about Tiny Houses, but we think it started for both of us with this issue of Yes! Magazine, back in 2008:

This was before we knew each other, and long before Christopher would buy his land and I would suggest that he film the process of building a tiny house from scratch, and we would decide to make a short documentary.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Before any of this happened, for much longer than I’ve known him, Christopher has had a fantasy of building a small cabin in the Colorado mountains. It would be remote, surrounded by open space, and it would include a porch with two rocking chairs, a dog, a banjo, and possibly a pick-up truck. It was the kind of fantasy that started out vague, the details slowly being filled in over the years (his friend David would sit on the porch and play banjo during rain storms, the dog’s name would be “Buck”). But the potential of making this dream into a reality was always pushed off to someday in the future. “When I get older.” “When I have money.” “When I feel like settling down.” A few months after I first met Christopher, he sheepishly showed me that he had a Park County real-estate website bookmarked on this computer, featuring cheap parcels of land that were far from any amenities. This is when he first told me about the cabin that he one day wanted to build. The dream was there, always in the background.

Continue reading “How It All Started” »