Christopher Smith and Merete Mueller, the filmmakers behind "Tiny: A Story About Living Small," with their 130-square-foot house.

(Photo: Courtesy of Kevin Hoth)
The average size of the American home has more than doubled since the 1950s, from 983 square feet to more than 2,000. But for some home dwellers, big isn’t necessarily better.

These people are part of the “tiny house” movement and they live in homes that are smaller than many one-car garages. Some do it for environmental reasons; others just want to live simpler lives without a lot of “stuff.” Their houses look like smaller versions of conventional houses, with front doors, peaked roofs and even porches.

In 2011, Boulder couple Christopher Smith and Merete Mueller decided to build their own micro house, although neither had any construction experience. Smith had always wanted a little cabin in the mountains, so he bought five acres of land near Hartsel, Colo., with the idea of building a house less than 200 square feet in size.

However, local zoning regulations don’t allow permanent structures that small.

To get around that, he and Merete built their house on the back of a trailer, and after it was completed, they hauled it to Hartsel. It’s now back in Boulder.

They also documented the experience on film. "Tiny: A Story About Living Small" has been showing at film festivals across the country. The documentary will have its Front Range premiere on Sunday, Feb. 16, at the Boulder International Film Festival, and it will screen in Denver on Feb. 18 at the Sie Film Center.