One woman’s quest to make sense of a nonsensical world after losing her dream home and all her worldly possessions to a raging and sudden wildfire. Exploring the existence of God, our cultural discomfort with grief, what it means to be human as well as life in a 1967 Airstream trailer, Kristen Moeller shares her humanity, her spirit and her dark edge openly for herself as well as for the countless others who beg to be heard in their wild journey through this wacky world.
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Cabin Fever! The adventure of living tiny.

Posted on: 37 Comments

We have jumped, taken the leap, gone for it. We have committed to living in a tiny home back on our burned out land.

This fills us with equal parts excitement, trepidation and joy. Most days the positive wins out and we keep moving forward. And most nights, I wake in the dark hours with looping questions and a head full of worry.

Tomorrow our cabin arrives on a truck from Florida. We and our competent team will spend 6 hours unloading and cataloging what will become our new home. The truck will park near where I watched the dumpster full of the last remnants of my old home being towed away. Tomorrow, we will witness the delivery of our new life. The truck giveth and the truck taketh away.photo1

The “plan” was to build a cabin where we could retreat – a place to get a way from it all but not a full commitment to living on the land – once so lush and now a harsher edgier version. After so many false starts with builders the summer after the fire, we walked away from the idea of building and settled into living in Evergreen, near the lake, walkable to downtown, a cozy womb where we could heal. Mostly we knew Evergreen was temporary but we allowed ourselves to love this house and appreciate all it had to offer. It held us well.

The cabin idea began to become reality after a trip to Florida in December where we met with Gayle and Andrew of Cabin Fever. What was initially planned as a meet and greet turned into a four-hour brainstorm where we fell in love with them and their amazing company. Former furniture designers, they create beautiful pre-fab tiny homes with soaring ceilings and an exquisite attention to detail.

Our homework was to return to Colorado and begin the education process of what it really took to build. We began slowly – conversations with the county people who promised to make our re-build easier than the norm due to the fire – and as promised, they have delivered. The lights were green, the path was clear – yet still, we hesitated. Should we? Can we? Will we really? Were we making the right choice? Then the deeper question began emerge – did we really want to build it on our land? A trip to Fairplay produced a major quandary: 37 acres, 360 views, a small shed turned cabin – and what our land would never have – a forest of green. Suddenly the decision became more difficult. We went back and forth, we consulted friends and psychics (I did, anyway). What was our choice to be? And, knowing how we had waffled so many times before, would we really ever make a decision?

Then in mid-February an unexpected development in our never-boring life arose. Cabin Fever sent us an email from a television casting company with the following:

A major network and an award-winning production company are seeking people who are planning on downsizing their home and are currently looking to build a tiny home. A team of expert builders and designers will be lead by a former Disney Imagineer will create a one-of-a-kind and fully functional layout filled with custom accents and amenities to maximize your tiny space while significantly increasing the value of your property.

The caveat: you must adequately address the following – Why are you choosing to live in a tiny home?

As someone who has studied quantum leaping in life, I jumped – and wrote a pitch. A damn fine one, I might add… I began, “My husband and I are building a tiny home – but our story is much more complicated than that…” I talked about the fire and the quagmire of rebuilding, the missing of our oasis, and the longing for true “home”. In writing the pitch, I enrolled myself the mission and movement of living tiny – and we went from creating a cabin, to creating HOME.

Two and a half hours later, a response came back requesting our first of many interviews for the show.

Over the next month and a half, we gradually worked our way through the maze (and roller coaster ride) of TV show casting until finally officially being accepted into “Tiny House Nation”.

Looking back on it now, I know that had it not been for this wild and wacky opportunity, we would not have made a decision. We would have continued to doubt and wonder and second guess. Committing to the show, had us commit to Cabin Fever and start a process that is now real and happening.

Yet in this lull time between the TV show saying yes and the action actually starting, we have had time to question and wonder again. What are we doing this for? Do we really want to move back? From 1500 to 725 square feet with two big dogs and both of us home-officing, are you kidding?

This time, we have the grace of time.  In preparation, I have been passing things along, cleansing, making multiple trips to goodwill – and still I look around and wonder how we will possibly downsize to that level. For two people who once had what would fit in the back of our SUV, we have now accumulated a lot of stuff. Emptying my family home in Rhode Island gave us furniture and family heirlooms that unto themselves might not have held value but after losing everything and then selling that beloved house, I deemed meaningful. Now, we can consciously choose what to leave behind and what to take into this next phase of life – and we have time to ponder. During the fire, I scrambled frantically from room to room picking what to take with me – and then life changed in a flash and there was no more choosing. Now, I personally deliver gifts to people I love.  Things I have gathered and loved in the last two years are  finding new homes.  Things I thought I needed are being passed along.  Things I still want are being released.  Things I cherish and can’t quite let of of, I will find room for.

I sit here in my dark purple office where we keep the curtains closed for privacy and think of the expanse that is that land. I think to the future, of sitting in my new tiny 6×8 office and staring out those open windows which will never know a curtain, as I write my next chapter. The promise of that view keeps me moving forward. And tomorrow the truck arrives, and there is no turning back.

More photos:

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37 Responses

  1. Sally says:

    Looooove the continuing adventures. Thank you for your tale of tiny – and for continuing to share the darkness, as well as the light.

  2. Ben says:

    I will be sure to tune in! Let us know when it airs. Best of luck on building. Please keep sharing the process and the lessons learned along the way.

  3. Autumn says:

    Kristen, I so love how you share. Your words pull at my heart strings. Not because I know what you and David are going through, no- I have not lost in this way. Your writing so connects me to some part of our human condition and I love it. I love being right there with you in a sense, and experiencing the highs and lows. Love your sharing, THANK YOU THANK YOU!

    • Thank you Autumn!!!!! I love hearing that. Thank you for reading!

    • Yola says:

      Autumn, it is like you went inside my brain and took the words I wanted to write to Kristen out of it! I couldn’t have said it any better!! Kristen, it has been only a week since I came across your blog/site (& twitter account) and as I am sitting here in my tiny kitchen, in my NYC apartment reading your latest blog entry I cannot help, but feel the reawakening of the desire to go against the norm and the conventional, something that has followed me since I turned 15, and remember that life should be lived as an adventure! As a Taurus, HOME is such an important part of who I am and how I carry myself in the world and the idea of living in an unconventional home, with JUST the quality things I want and need is on the top of my manifestation list! Stories like yours inspire me to believe that it is possible and not at all just a fairy tale for the lucky few! And the message that the UNIVERSE is rising to support you in this next chapter in your life via a TV show of all things is definitely NOT a coincidence but a confirmation that the platform you have been given to inspire others to stop gathering things and start living life instead will only grow from here because YOUR MESSAGE/PURPOSE is THAT important! It is such a pleasure crossing paths with you! xo

      • So sorry for my delay! Thank you for your note!!! I was in the middle of Tiny House madness and now we are on the other side. The show will air 8/20, we think!

        • Yola says:

          So good to hear from you Kristen! Sooo looking forward to watching the show! I am sure you have mentioned this before but I can’t find it now: what channel exactly will the show be airing on? Hope you are having an amazing summer! xoxo Yola

  4. Paige says:

    Wow! How fabulous!!! Enjoy the ride!!!

  5. Susan says:

    What a brave and thrilling adventure. I’ve been an armchair fan of the tiny house movement for more than a decade … and since my fire loss, and still being in temporary quarters, I often wonder, could I do it? Maybe I’ll just go the vicarious route and see how much you love it, bare windows and mini office and all of it. CONGRATULATIONS!

  6. Suzanna says:

    So excited to hear how things progress in your adventure! Keep going :)
    Suzanna

  7. Diane Clark Sobelman says:

    It’s been a while since I have recieved need of you two after the move after the fire ! All this sounds so exciting, I have a Pinterest board if tiny homes! I saw a few I’m Austin however being a poor riode I’ll live out my days in what I call ” my box” that I have made my home with my cat and new Maltese pup who is now one year old and still so small, what a joy he has brought!
    Can’t wait to read your building and making it your home, and I need to order your new Book too!
    So excited for you and David, hope it all goes we and no glitches ! Enjoy…. Diane

  8. Sage Lee says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this. I, too have been appreciating tiny, mostly because I want to clear so much of the clutter from my life, and I look at the opportunity to go tiny as a way to cull what I no longer need. You are an inspiration to me, always.

  9. Susyn says:

    I loved reading your journey to your tiny home. You are an inspiration – I’ll be thinking of you tomorrow when your Home arrives.

  10. Mariea says:

    Big humongous smile!

  11. Jennifer says:

    We will have the DVR set! Can’t wait. Tiny is the new black! Love ya, babe!

  12. Sue Coletta says:

    Hi Kristen, even tiny log homes are beautiful. They craft them in a way so they don’t appear small, from what I’ve seen. We almost bought one with a catwalk that ran above the living room. It was very cool. Thankfully we found our dream home in time.
    I personally love being surrounded by natural elements (stone, wood, etc…). My home is all knotty pine inside. It’s become my muse. I write better with natural surroundings– the smell of wood permeating the air, high ceilings that seem endless, handcrafted stone hearth. As you know, living in a home you love is important. We lived in a house we despised for twelve years with the hope of building on the land. It never panned out and we didn’t feel comfortable there. It was a nightmare. Then we made the decision to move north, to the mountains. It was the best decision we ever made.
    I’m sure you’ll love your new home. I wish you the best of luck!

  13. Sherilyn says:

    Kristen, you never cease to amaze, do you! I admire your willingness to share your pain as well as your triumph. You are so brave! You inspire me at every turn. Keeping sharing your story; like so many others, I can’t wait for the next chapter.

  14. Gail Austin says:

    Really excited to hear about the new home! Thanks for sharing. (The show sounds fun too) Blessings and light for new beginnings! May many wild flowers grace and open gently before you.

  15. maria olaughlin says:

    AWESOME…I have seen a few tiny homes in magazines..LOVE THEM..I was laughing and crying..remembering how quickly we “collected” so many things that even in nearly 3000 sq feet we are finding the closets filling up. UGHHH you think you will never reclutter but you do.
    I cant wait to see what you do and hope you let us all know about the show. I am excited to watch it. You are amazing and I love your writing. It reaches me in many ways. XO
    Maria

  16. Hi Kristen,
    I, too would like to live in a much smaller house. I need to downsize from 2200 sqft(incliding an art studio) to 1000 or less. After living here 20 years it’s pretty full of stuff and getting rid of it all is daunting. I loved reading about your process.
    XON

  17. […] House Nation, a new show premiering on A+E this fall, will document the rebuilding of the home of Kristen Moeller, author of What Are You Waiting For? How to Rise to the Occasion of Your Life. Moeller, who lost […]

  18. Lorenzo martinez says:

    Hi this is lorenzo just wandering how everything is going at your home

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