Small Homes, Tiny Flats & Wee Shelters

TV producer and Internet-video personality Kirsten Dirksen invites us on her journey into the tiny homes of people searching for simplicity, self-sufficiency, minimalism and happiness by creating shelter in caves, converted garages, trailers, tool sheds, river boats and former pigeon coops.

— “This extraordinary recalibration of what it means to live the good life”- TreeHugger
— “For those who find themselves dumbfounded, perplexed and curious regarding how individuals can make everyday-use of very tiny spaces.” – The Blaze
— “The documentary focuses on the new craze sweeping American — people living in Tiny Houses.” – Weekly World News
— “The subject is fascinating.” – Directors Live

Kirsten Dirksen is co-founder of and a Huffington Post blogger. She has worked for MTV, Oxygen, The Travel Channel and Sundance Channel. Her documentaries include “Searching for Da Vinci’s Secret” and “Translating Genocide: Journey to Sudan”. “We the Tiny House People” is her first documentary to premiere on youtube.

Documentary runtime: 1:21:47
Release: 2012
Director/producer/writer/shooter/editor: Kirsten Dirksen
Concept & additional shooting/writing: Nicolás Boullosa Guerrero

Features: Jay Shafer (Tumbleweed Tiny House Company), Austin Hay, Jenine Alexander (Forge Ahead Construction), Stephen Marshall (Little House on the Trailer), Suchin Pak (MTV, Hester Street Fair), Graham Hill (TreeHugger, LifeEdited), Felice Cohen, Luke Clark Tyler, Eric Schneider, Michael Chen (Normal Projects), Sarah Dickinson & family, Henri Grevellec, Matthieu de Marien (Fabre/deMarien Architects), Jérémie Buchholtz, Eva Prats (Flores Prats Architects), Christian Schallert, Pascual Alberola, Jorge Cortés (Enproyecto Arquitectura), Johnny Sanphillippo, Heather Wilcoxon

Locations: California (Sonoma County, San Francisco, Sausalito); New York City; Hawaii; France (Saint-Gilles-Croix-de-Vie, Grezille, Puy-Notre-Dame, Bordeaux); Spain (Barcelona, Ibort, Vall de Laguar).

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  1. i must say, i’m impressed with how people can utilize such small space. I come from Tanzania East Africa. the population is poor but there is a lot of land. the city is congested but people don’t utilize space as i have seen here. Amazing…. stuff of legends…..

  2. People live in caravans and trailers and have for centuries…. 

  3. @fuckgreece “English is as insignificant to the world as you…”

    And yet here you are forced to use such an insignificant language. A language which has become the most widely used language in the world. In fact, many non-English speaking countries make it mandatory to learn English in school because it is so widely used. I’ll go ahead and assume that is how you learned it. I wish you the best in developing your English skills as it is likely you will be using it just as much, if not more, than your native language.

  4. Yes, but what about winter? These could not be possible in northerly climates such as Nova Scotia, Canada, where I live. Good, though, for places that are over-populated anyway such as theese.

  5. @FreeRangeRadical, brilliant…

  6. I found this really inspiring. We in the west have been spoiled with space. In Asia you see several generations living in a space the size of these homes, not by choice but by necessity. If they could have their own private bedrooms they would feel lucky.
    I think we could learn a lot about what is the minimum we really need in terms of stuff, and how can we be creative about making a space that works? I really liked the place that turned one fairly large room into several through bringing down a hidden bed and wall/desk. It didn’t seem like a tiny space that way. big enough to entertain friends and meet your needs, what more is necessary? then you have more money left over for nice food, travel, better quality items (instead of quantity of items).

  7. Interesting, but it would’ve been really cool to see if there are any people living in little homes in more extreme climates in America (i.e. winter and her -35F windchill conditions in somewhere like the plains of South Dakota.) Not knocking the doc, just wish it had addressed questions surrounding whether climate is a limiter or not to small homes.

    • Plenty of people live in caravans and motorhomes in the UK during the winter come rain or snow, a woodburner keeps a small well insulted place toasty for very little expense or free if you know where to get wood.

  8. @fuckgreece is much easier to tolerate if you imagine his voice as that of young Anakin Skywalker’s short, flying slave owner boss, Watto, from ‘Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace.

    Get the voice in your head here ( ), and then read @fuckgreece’s rants again. You’ll laugh your butt off!

  9. I’ve been fascinated with the Tiny House movement for some time, so I found this documentary interesting and informative. Kirsten Dirksen’s narrative is refreshing after seeing so many that sound stilted.

    Thank you, Kirsten.

  10. @Peter, just a thought: gays and lesbians already live an ‘alternative’ lifestyle which probably makes it easier to ditch other conventional paradigms. Also, fewer of them have children (compared to hetero couples) which makes living in super small spaces easier.
    @fuckgreece, why would you come to an all English website and complain about people speaking only English? Wh0 would watch a shitty documentary like this? Well, apparently you did. And if you think that this isn’t educational, then that speaks volumes for itself.

  11. Before anyone starts, I am not homophobic, I just find it strange that almost all the men in this documentary were gay, could anyone enlighten me to why this may be? Really enjoyed the documentary also but would personally dislike the feeling of being cramped.

  12. @fuckgreece, I’m Spanish but I have lived all over. I hope the comments people have left make you think about your outlook on life and hopefully change it. If you didn’t care what people said you wouldn’t have replied so much. I think you know you are wrong or you wouldn’t resort to only insults and swearwords.

    I say the more positive your outlook the happier you will be.

    @Nynke, hightower and rizbourne I totally agree, well said.

    I hope this is the last we see of narrow minded racist, homophobic bitter people, sadly I doubt it…

  13. Funniest thing is that Fuckgreece used the word “enlighten” in his first post…. and then it appeared that he is one of the least enlightened people I’ve come across in a long time.

  14. @ fuckgreece; you are an idiot and I’m sure many people tell you that…

    Besides… Greece is a great place!
    Surely you know that most of the enlightment you are so desperate for, comes from there.

    Lighten up man..

    (I guess you must be a man, considering your homophobic attitude)

  15. as the rest of these fucks go. I just dont give a FUCK what you think or say!

  16. @MidoriJoy I guarantee you, you are an Americunt. Im 1000% you can claim whatever you want. You are an american no question about it

  17. haha at fuckgreece. What a fool. @midorijoy good responses. But back to the topic of the doco. We’d love to share pics of our little hobbit home somewhere… we didnt build it, but we rent it dirt cheap and furnish it with well cheap shit from 2nd hand shops and stuff we find on the road during hard rubbish collection. It sounds terrible (my girlfriend is saying in the background) and, she hastens to add, she stole a lot from her stepdad. But by the by. We arent poor but we love (2 of us) living in a 6mx3m box on top of an outside toilet/laundry. you DO have to make sacrifices – we cant buy clothes without chucking others out, we cant buy much stuff at all (even tho we can afford it). Its a weird thing… we moved here out of necessity when we were unemployed, and since the financial situation has changed dramatically, we dont want to leave!! Its an addictive lifestyle, comes at no cost, and dramatically reduces your impact on the environment (whether you’re a hippie, or a tech-head designer/architect, or want the most modern things, or just a commy who wants to live a simple life)… life is much better small 🙂

  18. @midorijoy, couldn’t have have said it better myself. The world doesn’t need anymore people like fuckgreece. Hope that he/she actually thinks about what you have said and tries to change their way of thinking.
    Also I really liked the documentary…

  19. @midorijoy and fuckgreece
    Midorijoy, well said, I couldn’t agree more. I also laughed at Fuckgreece and the comments; what a dick! Fuckgreece stop coming on to this website if you think it’s shit, and keep your messed up rude opinions to yourself.

  20. @Midorijoy I love, love, love your comments and it wasn’t a waste of time as you totally said what I was thinking. “Fuckgreece” needs to take on board what you said and stop being a total tool.

  21. @fuckgreece
    Your last comment honestly made me laugh out loud. You say I shouldn’t make assumptions, and yet you assume I’m American, which I am not. Further more, English is not my first language and I am fluent in Dutch (I currently live in Amsterdam), Spanish, English and German. So evidently you know nothing about “my people” at all. Every comment you have made so far has been offensive, rude, narrow minded and blinkered; but that is no surprise considering you decided to call yourself “fuckgreece”

    I’m actually mad at myself right now as I have wasted some of my life just replying to you, what a waste of time. Look, you’re entitled to an opinion, everyone is, but you need to voice it without being offensive. The truth is because you are so nasty with your comments people don’t listen to your opinion, they just think you are an angry, ingnorant idiot. If you word it better and not in a homophobic or racist way maybe you can make a point without making people dislike you so very much.

  22. Cool doc but link is down . Can find on You tube.

  23. @MidoriJoy that was a misspell, you know English in not the only language spoken in the world, English is second language to me so thats why I have the misspells. I can speak and write 3 languages how many languages you do you know? uh? typical American why doent the whole world speak English so Americans can have it easier when they travel the world. haaaaaa the ignorance of your kind makes me lol. English is as insignificant to the world as you are mate. Heres the beauty of it, I know your people very very well yet you dont know dick about me so dont base your comments on assumptions.

  24. Did you look at the websites selling the plans, kits and completed homes? Friggin’ expensive! It aint like these wee tiny homes have wee tiny pricetags. I guess I was hoping this doc would have a LOT more emphasis and information on how these people live simple lifestyles that’s easy on the pocketbook and the environment. Instead it was just a bunch of stories about privileged white people choosing to live in wee tiny houses as hipsters. Blah. Did you see the polished websites of the sellers in the viddy hawking their products? Yuck!

  25. Cool, there’s even room for a pair of Prada shoes.

  26. Midorijoy WELL SAID, VERY WELL SAID!

  27. Very nice doc! I really respect the people who can give up all their material attachements and I loved the quote: “I choose quality over quantity”. I come from the Netherlands so for us living in small spaces is very normal and not even a matter of choice. The tradition is to move out when your about 18 and live in very tiny appartments in the city where you study. And aswell, many Dutch families go around Europe, living in transportable houses we call caravans, every summer holiday!
    I guess in America, where there is lots of space, this is not the obvious choice.

  28. I never realised that I was claustraphobic until I watched this documentary. I know that a lot of people have big homes with more space than they’ll ever use. These people often have pets with dog houses that are bigger than 90 sq. ft. Most caves are bigger than that. Personally, I don’t really need a lot of space to live comfortably but most of these places in this documentary were just too minimul to live with comfortable happiness…interesting doc none the less.

  29. Super clever idea! Truly admire persons who can live like this … everything is unique and clever ..except maybe the bathrooms lol

  30. Excellent…the spirit of what it is to be contemporary and human ! Once upon a time… people understood what mattered and what did not, their minds free from the unecessary burdens in excess of mother nature.

  31. @fuckgreece

    First of all I don’t know what a “morn” is. So basically all I get from your previous message is that you can’t spell “moron” and you are homophobic.

    This site is meant for documentaries. A wonderful thing about people is that we are all interested in different things, what interests you may not interest someone else. I love the science documentaries and I also really enjoyed this one.

    Maybe you can take a valuable lesson from this, firstly if you don’t like it, then don’t watch it. Secondly, I’m not sure which enlightening documentaries you have been watching, but I think you should watch more as you seem to be the opposite of enlightened.

    Just for you here is the definition of enlightened so you can work on it:

    Having or showing a rational, modern, and well-informed outlook.
    Spiritually aware.

  32. @fuckgreece

    Come on! When people start living a less stressful and hectic life, they can open their minds up to more important things like science and art.

    I’ve been dreaming about living in a secluded mountainhut and I will do nothing else than appreciate nature and read science books!

  33. @MidoriJoy other people are morns like yourself maybe you are interested in gay porn so should people be open minded about that. This is a site meant for documentaries teaching people and enlightening people about sciences and arts and other interesting things

  34. I enjoyed this, and think we could all do with re-evaluating how much unnecessary stuff we have in our lives.

  35. Who are you to judge what people should or shouldn’t be watching, or uploading? You’re obviously bitter and lonely up there on your pedestal. Maybe they should make a documentary about how to be open to other peoples interests, and how to keep your narrow minded bitchy comments to yourself; if they do happen to make this documentary I highly recommend you watch it.

  36. i enjoyed this doc very much….i could definately see myself living in a small place similiar to the ones shown…

  37. this site is slowly becoming shit. What the fuck do these retarded documentaries teach or enlighten people about? We need some space documentaries, science, physics, astronomy, mechanics, etc not this shit WTF. Who are the people recommending these retarded documentaries