Boulder Couple Builds 125 Square-Foot House

Design Focuses On Sustainability, Simple Living

With grand designs on minimizing their housing footprint, Christopher Smith and Merete Mueller have spent the last 10 months building the tiny home of their dreams.

"It's 19 feet long wall to wall,” Smith said. “The interior square-footage is about 125 square feet.”

The interior layout consists of a sitting area, kitchen and bathroom. A vaulted ceiling makes room for a sleeping loft that can accommodate a queen-size mattress.

“The interior looks a lot bigger than the exterior,” Mueller said.

“When we set out it was to show that a normal person, who never built anything before, can take on a project like this and finish it," Smith said.

Their design incorporates several sustainable elements, including: reclaimed windows, beetle-kill lumber, solar power and a composting toilet.

"It’s just a five-gallon bucket that you put peat moss and sawdust in,” Smith said. “You'd be surprised how well it works and how much it doesn't smell.”

This may sound extreme, but they're not alone; go online and you'll find tiny house blogs and videos, as well as the Small House Society.

Smith and Mueller’s tiny house is roughly 90 percent smaller than the rented townhome they currently live in. They realize tiny living isn’t for everyone, but believe certain elements may be.

"We are really interested in learning more about how the innovations of tiny houses can be scaled up to larger structures," Mueller said.

The house was originally intended as a second home to be placed on land they’ve purchased near Fairplay, Colo. However, the process of building it may have led to a change of heart.

"The more that I've been working on it with Merete, and the more we visit other people's tiny houses, it's starting to feel more and more like a home, and I can definitely picture myself living in it full-time," Smith said.

"What makes a space into a home is all the stories that get built into it over time,” said Mueller. “And when we spend our first night in this house, it's already full of all these stories."

Those stories have also been documented for a film called “Tiny: A Story About Living Small", which is scheduled for release this spring. The pair is also planning an open house in Boulder in the coming months. For more information, visit Tiny-TheMovie.com.

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