Before embarking on a year-long journey of designing and fabricating their own tiny home, Christopher Smith and Merete Mueller had never built anything before. Yet here they were, about to build a home from scratch. The couple started by researching the tiny home movement and following blogs like Tumbleweed Tiny House, Tiny House Design and Tiny R(e)volution. Then they got to work, scouring salvage yards for recycled materials and relying on the tiny house community for advice. Under a tight budget and tighter time frame (that was eventually extended once they got to work), the couple finally finished the home and towed it to a plot of land in Hartsel, Colorado in 2012. If you want to follow Christopher and Merete’s adventure, from their initial blueprints to the final house, you can watch their documentary, TINY, which they filmed throughout the whole process.
To get a rustic look for the home, Christopher and Merete shopped at salvage yards and second-hand shops, and when it was necessary, shelled-out on new materials from hardware stores like Loews and Home Depot. One of the priciest expenses was the soy-based spray foam insulation, which also works as a fire retardant and minimizes moisture.
The interior and exterior walls are made from beetle-kill pine and the flooring is made of recycled timber. In total, seven windows offer a wide view of the surrounding land. The living area features a mini library wall, a couch, and a tiny propane-fueler stove, which provides heat. The rest of the house is powered by solar panels.
The kitchen features a beautiful wood-block countertop from Ikea, a two-burner stove, and built-in shelves to store spices, tea and other small pantry items. Since there’s no well on the land, they had to truck in jugs of water. The bathroom is located behind that patterned curtain, which we admit, doesn’t offer much privacy!
Here’s the composting toilet. On the other side of the bathroom is skinny shower stall.
On the other side of the house is a small desk, which Merete made using leftover wood from the flooring. The stools under the desk actually open up and become storage containers.
The upstairs bedroom is so tight, there’s only room for a mattress. A tiny shelf atop of the window pane holds essential bedside table items. Since finishing the house in 2012, Merete and Christopher are no longer a couple. Merete now lives in New York City and Christopher is in Los Angeles, where they’re both pursuing careers in film. As for the house, it’s now located in Boulder, where Merete and Christopher can both visit it when they’re back in Colorado.
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