TINY examines the so-called “tiny house” movement, which is growing organically throughout the country. Seen through the lens of Christopher Smith, a young man who wants to build his own 120-square-foot tiny house in Colorado, the film also includes interviews with others in the movement—including Idahoan Macy Miller, who works with Johnson Architects in Boise and is active with the U.S. Green Building Council, a member of the Meridian Planning and Zoning Commission and a well-known tiny house dweller.
The producers also talk with experts who study the movement. We learn that in most areas of the United States, tiny homes are illegal. For instance, according to Miller, the minimum size for a house in Boise is 600 square feet. The way proponents have skirted that requirement is to build their tiny houses on wheels, so they’re considered mobile homes.
Some owners have chosen the lifestyle to get out of debt; others because they want to simplify their lives and use fewer resources.
It’s this background, along with the additional stories of tiny house owners, that keeps the film from turning into a home video about making a home—though it does occasionally stray that way.
But it re-centers, probing the idea of “home” in all of our lives. What do we want our homes to be for us, and how much do we actually need to put in them?
“I hope it will inspire people to rethink the way they think about living,” says Miller.
In addition, the charming, sometimes strained relationship between Christopher and his girlfriend, Merete Mueller, who’s also the co-producer, keeps the narrative moving. They should get an award just for surviving the challenge of building the house, documenting the process and keeping their amour intact.