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Full Length Tiny House Documentary: An Exploration into the Tiny House Movement

This tiny house documentary was created by Kirsten Dirksen, it’s called We the Tiny House People. In the last few years, we’ve gotten to see a lot of tiny house and simple living videos, and most of them are thanks to her.

Nobody has been more dedicated to bringing you closer and closer to these homes and their inhabitants than Kirsten Dirksen of Faircompanies.com. Her first interview was with Jay Shafer was approximately five years ago and it has now reached more than 1 million views.

Since then she has gone on to cover so much more, including Jenine Alexander’s self-designed and built $3,5000 tiny house made from recycled materials. After filming hundreds of hours worth of simple living footage- from people living in converted shipping containers, garages, houseboats, sheds, tree houses, and Airstream trailers- she has now released her first documentary (see below).

Updated January 3, 2019

Tiny House Documentary: We The Tiny House People – Dive into the World of Tiny Homes

We the Tiny House People, a documentary by Kirsten Dirksen on the Tiny House Movement

Photo Credits Kirsten Dirksen / YouTube

A Room of Your Own Tiny House by Stephen Marshall in California

Young Ladys DIY Tiny House Built for Less Than 10k – Kitchen

Young Ladys DIY Tiny House Built for Less Than 10k

Tiny House Documentary – Jay Shafer Tiny House

Tiny House Documentary – Jay Shafer Tiny House Loft

Photo Credits Kirsten Dirksen / YouTube

You can watch We The Tiny House People right now directly below. Scroll down further if you want to watch the full version instead of the preview trailer.

VIDEO: We The Tiny House People Trailer (Preview)

Length: 11:13

VIDEO: Full-Length Tiny House Documentary by Kirsten Dirksen (Full)

Length: 1:21:47

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Alex is a contributor and editor for TinyHouseTalk.com and the always free Tiny House Newsletter. He has a passion for exploring and sharing tiny homes (from yurts and RVs to tiny cabins and cottages) and inspiring simple living stories. We invite you to send in your story and tiny home photos too so we can re-share and inspire others towards a simple life too. Thank you!

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{ 41 comments… add one }
  • Avatar harry berggren May 2, 2012, 11:15 am

    Great documentary! This does a better job of ‘stating the case’, in 1:21 min., than a year reading tiny house blog! Sorry, Alex…It’s all good!

    • Avatar Alex May 4, 2012, 12:56 pm

      LOL thanks Harry.. glad that you liked what you saw.

  • Avatar Val May 2, 2012, 4:06 pm

    Well I watched the 11 minute video you put in the newsletter and it was very disjointed. Wanted to see more of many of the different people and their homes. Now if this is a trailer and I missed where the full versionis posted (the above one says FULL not only once but twice) The biggest negative for me was thre irratating sound track which was a cross between humming and meditative moaning…although I wanted to see more of the houses, the best relief when I realized the film was over? was that I would no longer have to listen to that loud irrating sound track.

  • Avatar Olive seeker May 2, 2012, 4:09 pm

    I saw the preview and loved it… I have loved all the videos I’ve seen that are now part of the preview. I am looking forward to seeing the full doc and feel that this filmmakers’s videos have influenced me greatly and have been a big part of my education to date. So, looking forward. PS love the music in the preview.

  • Avatar Val May 2, 2012, 5:54 pm

    My earlier coments may have seemed more harsh then i meant them to be. While I believe this type of music/sound track may be an acquired taste, I should have noted that I have loved and follow much of Kirstten Dirksons work on Tiny/Small House/Living Spaces. In fact it was one such video that initially turned me on to the idea of living small and pursuing the concept of building a small house for myself. If it was not for Kirsten and her great work I would not be breaking ground next week on the foundation for my Small/Tiny house. With that said just wanted to note that I love this site/blog for all the inspiration it continues to bring me and I apologize if I offended anyone earlier.

    • Avatar Alex May 4, 2012, 12:58 pm

      Hey Val- it’s all good! Thanks for coming back and expressing yourself I appreciate that. I’ve learned A LOT from Kirsten’s videos, too.

    • Avatar Kirsten Dirksen May 5, 2012, 5:12 am

      Hi Val,

      I’m not offended about your comments about the soundtrack. I knew I was taking a risk when I chose it (actually a 20-year-old musician created it for me as she too loves tiny homes) and it turns out that people either love it or hate it. A lot of people also complain about my voiceover and I realize I don’t read in the traditional way I learned when I worked in tv, but I’d rather my voice not distract from the video.. and I also recorded it in our very small storage closet (the only place in the house without an echo).

      I’m also so pleased that one of my videos turned you on to the idea of living small. I’d love to hear more about your story and your new home. You can email me at kirstendirksen [at] faircompanies [dot] com.

      Best of luck,

      • Avatar sesameB May 9, 2012, 4:21 pm

        rock on Kirsten!! rock on! Your work is 4 stars out of 5!!!!!

  • Avatar Jay Shafer May 3, 2012, 12:49 am

    Loved it!

    • Avatar Alex May 4, 2012, 12:58 pm

      Thanks Jay!

    • Avatar sesameB May 9, 2012, 4:22 pm

      Jay, you and your work speaks volumes, too. Hi from Arkansas!!! I viewed this film twice. EXCELLENT.

  • Avatar Sue Reynolds May 3, 2012, 10:25 pm

    Just terrific documentary. I really loved the subtle subtexts that were woven throughout. I will be forwarding this on to other design professionals and the other “seekers” of my circle.

    Small living which creates space for an expanded life should be the centerpiece of any discussion between housing design professionals and their clients.


    Sue Reynolds
    Home At Last

    • Avatar Alex May 4, 2012, 12:59 pm

      Thank you Sue, really glad you enjoyed it and that you’re passing it along to others who will likely love it as well. 🙂

  • Avatar Stephan F. May 4, 2012, 4:48 am

    Even $11,000 for a tiny house seems a bit steep to me. There is a book by Lamar Alexander that tells you that you can build one for only $2K!! He goes into using solar power and green living in general. A very logical extension of living this life style.

    • Avatar Alex May 4, 2012, 1:03 pm

      Hey Stephan, I own a copy of one of Lamar’s books and was able to learn quite a bit from his experiences. I have a post on his cabin here on THT too. And he’s got a bunch of videos he’s put up as well, if you’re interested in “simple solar homesteading”. There are SO MANY ways to do this whole housing thing, that’s the best part. Some pull it off for $3,500 and others spend $35,000. It’s all beautiful to me. 😀

  • Avatar John C. Bielik May 6, 2012, 4:47 pm

    Wow! I am newly inspired to get back to work on my tiny house. My project is a 1920’s filling station (14′ x 16′) that I am restoring to its original glory. Thank you Tiny House people for bringing light to tiny houses.

    • Avatar Alex May 8, 2012, 5:30 pm

      That’s awesome John. I hope you can share some photos and more details for us later. Have a great day!

  • Avatar sesameB May 9, 2012, 3:34 pm

    Wednesday, sunny and hot in Arkansas
    RE: Full Length Tiny House Documentary by Kirsten Dirksen (Full) _ watched it twice and was just overcome emotions. What an excellent piece of work. Each and every person, especially young people, should see this film. A documentary is a film or TV program presenting the facts about a person or event, this film does just that and even more for the tiny house movement now and well into the future. The music score for this film, I give it 4 stars out of 5!!!
    Case in point:
    2012, May — ‘Arkansas’ first skyscraper’ considered endangered
    The Historic Preservation Alliance of Arkansas has classified the Medical Arts building on its 2012 list. The downtown building is located across Central Avenue from the Arlington Resort Hotel & Spa. The Sentinel-Record reports (http://is.gd/e5PJ4i ) that the building made the list because it’s been vacant and hasn’t been used for years. The 16-story Art Deco skyscraper was the tallest building in Arkansas when it opened in 1929. For decades, it housed offices for many Hot Springs physicians. The 40-story Metropolitan Tower, formerly known as the TCBY Tower, is now the tallest building in the state at 547 feet.

    My comments are: I have seen this building for many years, while walking in the city, and yes, it has been vacant. Such a sad story of waste in America, instead of this building being renovated into small apartments for young urban dwellers, low-income single people/small families and/or assisted living folks, it has been left to rot. This building is indeed endangered.
    This is another very sad case of waste and over-built: Thousands of miles of railroads have been abandoned in the United States, much of it in the last 30 years. All of these railroad lines have a history and a story.

    Finally, thank you for making this documentary film on tiny living. There is so much waste, greed, abandonment, bigness and now hunger in America.

    Lastly, remember this song ‘A Change Is Gonna Come’, Sam Cooke, 1963. True. This excellent documentary film shows that a change is gonna come in the housing industry.

    A flat belly woman of color, slowing sipping real spring water, barefootin’ living small, close to nature in an imperfect world in rural south central sunny Arkansas, with no apologies.
    — making kimchi at home, sprouting, gardening, taking forest baths, using my binoculars, wearing hemp fabric clothing, wool, burlap, cotton, and yes – silk—no high heel shoes for me. Using my solar oven, food dehydrator, blender, juicers and, my PORTABLE STEAM SAUNA.

  • Avatar Pam May 13, 2012, 6:34 am

    finally getting around to viewing the movie but when I click on the ‘start’ arrow I get message “this video is currently unavailable” -ditto for the trailer – what gives?

  • Avatar sesameB May 14, 2012, 12:39 pm

    People, I viewed this film again.
    Ms. Dirksen is a magical truth-teller, artist, and conduit to kindness. If I had my druthers, every child in the world would have compulsory homework to view this film. Best of all, this film offers children (and people of all ages) ways they can be part of the solution today and in the future. With each profile, Ms. Dirksen examines the impact of peoples’ choices for hosing themselves on the Earth, and her main thrust — that our choices influence the world around us-will remain true indefinitely.
    Graham Hill is right on the fact that this century is about cutting back on space, friends, finances, media! We have a culture of excess, and we need to edit one’s life. Editing is the skill of this century.
    The school teacher’s comments were correct in that compact living makes sense. Awesome! And, last but not least the interview with the mixed gray hair artist Heather Wilcoxon’s house boat lifestyle stole the show. Finally, the bachelor, “black kettle”, was an interesting character. Funny and adorable lifestyle!
    Living small in rural sunny Arkansas

  • Avatar sesameB May 14, 2012, 12:42 pm

    Sharing this nice read with you about living and gardening small, case in point: LIVING SMALL AND GARDENING SMALL — Apartment gardening – Magazine Gardening – How to May-June 2012, pg. 54, Marcia Greenshields writes:

    ‘A nearby patch of dirt yields a bounty of flowers, vegetables, and gratitude.
    “In November, 2006, I moved into one of 29 single level senior apartments in Payson, Arizona. Such complexes usually lack space for gardening, but I lucked out. My (small) apartment was at the end of a row and next to a space of dirt about half the size of a football field and extending to the rear of the complex. Nearby was a mound of dirt the size of a large dumpster. With a dolly and a bucket, I had transferred most of the mount to make a 9 foot x 24 foot front yard. The soil was not great. I amended it with several bags of topsoil. Then I planted tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, carrots, and wildflowers (all from see) and I added a round table and two chairs. Last spring, I grew zucchini, Brussels sprouts, green onions, Swiss chard, flowers. While several other seniors grow flowers in their small front areas, I consider myself blessed to have the space to grow pretty much what I want. Gardening lends a sense of security. It grounds me, satisfies my craving for fresh vegetables, and me many beautiful plants to observe. “

    (Member– Ms. Greensields planted a vegetable garden, wildflowers, and a cherry tree in an empty space in her apartment complex.)

  • Avatar sesameB May 14, 2012, 3:00 pm

    Fire leaves $400,000 in damage to Arlington home, says Jacksonville Fire Department
    Posted: May 14, 2012
    The state Fire Marshal’s Office is investigating the “complete loss” of an Arlington home after a Monday house fire, the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department said. A neighbor reported the fire at 5022 Cinancy Court just before 11 a.m., department spokesman Tom Francis said. The fire apparently started above the garage and was declared under control after a little more than an hour. Forty firefighters responded, and crews had to leave the 3,100-square-foot structure twice. Flames were spreading above them the first time, and a collapse of part of the roof forced firefighters out the second time, Francis said. The damage is estimated at about $400,000, the spokesman said. No one was home at the time.

  • Avatar LD July 17, 2013, 6:04 pm

    What a fantastic array of living spaces, she must have had a lot of fun going out to all the folks and their homes! I’d like to see more forums for these to come out into the public eye.

    Next time though, if you do another film, leave out the psychotic music, the less the better.

  • Avatar Wendy Porter-Kean January 7, 2014, 7:33 pm

    Enjoyed the trailer but lost much of the narration in last 2 mins because of the soundtrack..nice but a tad too loud. 🙁

  • Avatar Connie July 7, 2014, 10:28 am

    I liked it–even the music, which I expected to hate because of previous comments. In fact, I didn’t notice when the music stopped at the beginning and started again at the end. I consider that well done.

    I have been considering a tiny home for awhile, but, pretty much, concluded that the way I live wouldn’t lend itself to tiny–smaller yes, but not tiny. I am constantly in the process of making things–sewing, cooking, preserving, fermenting, painting, gardening, building, etc. all these things require space. I live by what I do and all of it requires tools and space. If I went out to a job somewhere and bought things instead of producing them I could live in much less space, but my quality of life would be drastically diminished. I am still drawn to tiny and considering moving to a region where outdoor living is inviting for more months of the year. If I go tiny where I am I’ll end up with multiple structures I “operate” out of or storage units that serve no practical purpose. I keep following the tiny house movement because I know the solution will pop up eventually.

    Thanks for the movie. The information is inspiring, and gives me hope that we will be able to solve lots of the problems we face living in our oversized economy.

  • Avatar Graham August 7, 2014, 3:49 am

    Was just in HS….actually Glenwood. Are you in that area also?

  • Avatar Lisa E. March 23, 2016, 6:23 pm

    Please put this full length video on YT and then give us the link so we can refer to it when we need to. There are a lot of good ideas here (and it will help spread the news about the TH movement.) 😀

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