a story about living small

A film by Merete Mueller and Christopher Smith


July Screenings: Topanga, Indianapolis, and Gimli!

July: Upcoming Screenings in California, Indianapolis, and Canada

We’re keeping the TINY momentum going through the heat of summer with handful of screenings this month in towns across North America. Click on the links below for info about each screening and how to find tickets:

Los Angeles, CA: Topanga Film Festival
Friday July 19, 4:30pm at the Topanga Library Community Room

Indianapolis International Film Festival
Sunday July 21, 11:00am
Tuesday July 23, 1:00pm

Gimli, Canada: Gimli International Film Festival
Sunday July 28, 11:00am

Please help us to spread the word about these screenings by sharing, tweeting, emailing, and sharing the info with friends in these cities. We want as many people as possible to see this film, and can’t do it without your grassroots support!

May: Upcoming Screenings in Indianapolis, San Francisco, Telluride, and The Berkshires!

After a whirlwind April with screenings in Canada and across the US, we’re excited to keep the TINY film festival tour going with three screenings during the month of May. Click on dates below for details and ticketing information. We hope to see many of you this month!

Indianapolis, Indiana

Saturday, May 11
A special outdoor “Popped-Up” Screening to celebrate next month’s Indianapolis Indy Film Fest

San Francisco, California

Wednesday, May 22
Outdoor Screening sponsored by the San Francisco Green Film Festival & SPUR Urban Center


Telluride, Colorado: Mountainfilm

May 24-27, 2013
(Featuring a special appearance of our Tiny House!)


Great Barrington, Massachusetts: Berkshire International Film Festival

Saturday, June 1, 11:45am
Sunday, June 2, 11:30am

April: Upcoming Screenings in Minneapolis, Toronto, and Boston.

On the heels of our SXSW premiere in Austin, Texas last month, we are excited to continue sharing the film with audiences around the country!

Here are the upcoming screenings scheduled for the month of April, along with links to purchase tickets:

Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota:

Thursday, April 25, 7:30pm (click dates for more info and to purchase tickets)
Saturday, April 27, 4:10pm

Toronto, Canada:

Sunday, April 28, 9:15pm (click dates for more info and to purchase tickets)
Monday, April 29, 4:00pm
Sunday, May 5, 1:30pm

Boston, Massachusetts:

Sunday, April 28, 9:00pm at The Somerville Theatre (click for info and to purchase tickets)

We hope to see you there, and will be announcing other screenings in coming months soon! If you don’t live in any of these cities but know people who do, and who might be interested to see the film, feel free to share this link. A DIY, grassroots project through-and-through, we’re relying on word of mouth to let people know where and when they can see the film.


Announcing our Premiere and Screening Times at SXSW 2013

We are excited to announce that the worldwide premiere of “TINY: A Story About Living Small” will happen at SXSW in Austin, Texas this coming March 8-13, 2013.

Our screening times are as follows:

Saturday, March 9 at 5:00pm: The Rollins Theater at the Long Center for the Performing Arts

Monday, March 11 at 11:30am: The Alamo Village Theater

Wednesday, March 13 at 3:45pm: The Alamo Ritz Theater

For more information about screenings and tickets, visit our page the SXSW website here. And be sure to invite your friends!


If you’ve been following this project for a while, we’d like to take a moment to say thank you for your patience, encouragement, and excitement while this film was in production and post-production. We cannot wait to share the completed story with you.

And if you’re just visiting us for the first time, welcome! To learn more about the project, you might be interested in checking out some of our updates on making the film or our Step-by-step construction photo album on facebook. Continue reading “Announcing our Premiere and Screening Times at SXSW 2013” »

For our Kickstarter Backers: Tiny House Sketches from Derek Diedricksen.

Last month, we were able to meet up with Derek “Deek” Diedricksen, tiny house blogger, author, architect and all-around “mad scientist.” We were in NYC working on post-production for the film and Deek was also in Brooklyn, to lead a Tumbleweed Tiny House Building Workshop.

We first met Deek last fall, when we interviewed him for the documentary and produced this short video on his micro sculpture-meets-shelter work. We launched our Kickstarter campaign for the film soon after, and Deek generously stepped up to offer two original sketches of any tiny house as a reward for new backers.

The first backer, Jim Wheeler, requested that Deek draw him a portrait of our very own tiny house in Colorado. Deek graciously complied and, based on a few photos that we sent to him, sent the sketch above. The next backer, Kendra Robinson, requested a portrait of her tiny dream home, which she hopes to one day build on a foundation up in the snowy mountains nearby: Continue reading “For our Kickstarter Backers: Tiny House Sketches from Derek Diedricksen.” »

Upcoming Events: “TINY” in the Classroom, Idaho Annual Planning Conference, and Beyond.

As we power through final edits on the film and prepare for a host of film festival submissions, we’re getting excited for a busy autumn, full of sneak peek screenings and tiny house discussions.

Below is a list of the various events where we’ll be speaking and/or showing bits and pieces of the film. If you are in the area for any of these events, we’d love for you to stop by and say hey!

From first grade classrooms to urban planning conferences to tiny house building workshops, we’re excited to hear from such diverse crowds. And, of course, stay tuned in the coming months for info on the official premier of the completed film! We’ll be posting updates here and also on the “TINY” facebook page.

Continue reading “Upcoming Events: “TINY” in the Classroom, Idaho Annual Planning Conference, and Beyond.” »

We Want You in Our Documentary: A Call for Tiny House Portraits

An example of a portrait of us in front of our tiny house in Colorado.

Do you live in a tiny house? Send us your portrait to be included in a documentary about the tiny house movement!

When this project first began, it was much smaller. Storytellers by trade, we thought we’d capture the process of building our own tiny house to make a short film. But, as we began to draw our plans and looked to the thriving online tiny house community for design inspiration and how-to help, we began to realize how far-reaching and incredible the tiny house movement really is. This is when we realized that we could use our own building story to tell a much larger story, of the thousands of people around the country who are finding satisfaction in living smaller and more simply.

Filming a portrait of John Wells at “The Field Lab.”

Over a year later, as we wrap up the editing process and get ready to release the film, we want to be sure that we can include as many other tiny housers as possible. We’ve already interviewed a handful of key characters (people like Tammy & Logan of RowdyKittens in Portland, and Deek Diedricksen of RelaxShacks in Massachusetts), but we know that the tiny house movement is a widespread phenomenon. We want our viewers to understand that there’s a huge demographic of people out there who are going small.

A portrait of Anne & Darren in “Protohaus.”

If you live in a tiny house (we don’t have a strict definition for “tiny house,” but are focusing mainly on homes that are less than 400 square feet), we would love to include you in our film.

To be included, please send us a photo portrait of you and your family with your tiny house.

Here are the specifics of what we’re looking for:
Continue reading “We Want You in Our Documentary: A Call for Tiny House Portraits” »

Tiny House Detail: Reclaimed Hardwood Flooring Tabletop.

The table at the front end of our tiny house is a multi-purpose spot. Made for dining, writing, working, and those all-important moments of staring off into the distance with cups of tea. Placed right under the largest window in our house and framed by windows on either side, the view is wide and long; a gold-green valley and snow-capped Colorado peaks.

It was Christopher’s brilliant idea to use leftover reclaimed hardwood flooring to make the tabletop. We decided not to sand the hardwood down or refinish it, as we did with the floor, because we wanted to show the original stain and wear of the wood. Continue reading “Tiny House Detail: Reclaimed Hardwood Flooring Tabletop.” »

Powering our Tiny House, Off the Grid: The SolMan Portable Solar Generator

Perhaps one my favorite things about our tiny house (other than falling asleep to the sound of rain on a steel roof) is that it is entirely off grid.

Christopher and I are both environmentalists of sorts, having spent chunks of our lives studying, researching, and telling stories about humans’ interactions with our natural resources and waste. Part of this tiny house experiment has always been about learning to lessen our own impact.

And there’s also the practical side of things: 40 miles from a major town, our tiny house doesn’t have access to a “grid” of any kind. No gas lines. No power lines. No water lines or sewage system. We’ve had to figure out our own solutions for each of these utilities.

Park County, Colorado gets an average of 246 sunny days each year, so solar power was an obvious choice for our electric needs.  Throughout the building stage, Christopher looked into rigging up a system of his own design, but when we heard about the SolMan portable solar generator, we decided it was be worth it to purchase a professional, pre-made solar unit than to build our own. Continue reading “Powering our Tiny House, Off the Grid: The SolMan Portable Solar Generator” »

Heating our Tiny House: Wood vs. Propane.

Back in March, when we interviewed Ann Holley and Darren Macca of Protohaus (pictured above), we asked them what advice they would give to someone just beginning to build their tiny house. Ann immediately had an answer, “It’s really important to have all of your utilities before you begin building,” she said, “so that you know the exact dimensions and what you’ll need to do to install them. It really helps to plan that out ahead of time.” Christopher and I looked at each other, the obvious truth of this statement dawning on us. Ohhhh. Yeah. That would have made our own construction process sooo much easier.

In case you’re new to this project, here’s some important background info:

1: Neither Christopher or I have any building experience whatsoever.

2: We did not use any plans in the building of this house. Christopher pretty much figured it out/ made it all up as he went along.

For us, this has been part of the adventure. But it has certainly come with its share of challenges. Such as that fateful summer day when we realized that all of the windows we’d bought were horizontal instead of vertical, and that yes, this matters when constructing a house.

This project has been about learning as we go, and part of that, inevitably, means making mistakes, having a sense of humor, and adjusting accordingly. Picking out a stove for our house has been no exception.

Continue reading “Heating our Tiny House: Wood vs. Propane.” »