Tiny House Tour inside a Controversial Movie

cabin bartlett

I spotted a link to the movie Urban Danger while reading Yonderosa, one of the tiny house blogs I follow. The movie is about preparing for widespread calamity and advocates self-sufficiency, sustainability, and moving away from cities.

I personally didn’t care much for the first 21 minutes of the movie because, in my humble opinion, it focuses too much on negative motivators. Instead of fearing what the future may bring I prefer to focus on the positive reasons for working to achieve a truly sustainable life. I figure in the end this approach will get me to where I want to be which is a lifestyle that is naturally positioned to be sustainable through good and bad times.

Buried in the movie is a wonderful tiny house tour by Roscoe Bartlett, a congressman from Maryland. I don’t know anything about his politics but his cabin is cool in a funky cobbled together sort of way.

The cabin measures 16′ by 20′ and was built originally for about $1,000. The house has many interesting features.

  • A gravity fed water system with a hand pump that taps a natural spring that’s under the house.
  • A wood stove with a clever thermal siphon hot water heating system.
  • Many space saving features like a murphy bed and fold-away table.
  • Two loft bedrooms accessible by ladder.
  • Clever built in storage.
  • An unintentionally hidden root cellar.

If you don’t want to watch another movie about what other people think might happen when we run out of oil (or some other calamity) skip the first 21 minutes and jump ahead to this great tiny house tour. There are also several other simple living stories in the film after the Bartlett cabin tour.

Here’s a link to Urban Danger.

7 thoughts on “Tiny House Tour inside a Controversial Movie

  1. Rickles says:

    I’m trying to watch it full length, but I have to say that while there’s a lot of truths in it, they are put forward in such a way as to provoke thoughts of fear mongering.

    Funny thing, they’re using the exact woodburning stove (Bakers Choice) we were looking at yesterday!

  2. Michael Janzen says:

    Thanks Rickles

    I have no idea who is really behind the film. Seems to have multiple agendas though… beyond the one I share (sustainability). It’s well done in a good amateur/independent sort of way. The fact that the congressman is so prominent throughout the film makes me wonder if some PAC or similar interest group put it together.

    But I must admit… the congressman’s cabin is really great. I’d love to see more folks do little video tours of their funky self-sufficient places like that. Really inspiring in a DIY-junkie sort of way 🙂

  3. Rickles says:

    It’s pretty good and you’re right, the part covering Roscoe’s cabin is really cool.

    Any idea what group put the video up? Reminds me of LDS videos from years ago in some ways.

  4. Rickles says:

    Oh yeah, it is inspiring in a lot of ways.

    My wife and I are less than 3 years from doing the same thing the folks in the movie are doing so it is good to see it!

    I’ve already taken Roscoe’s under bed storage idea! We’d only planned on the roll under plastic containers for storage, the huge drawers makes much more sense.

    Also going to look into the hot water system he’s using. We’d planned on the wood stove, but only thought about the 7 gallon reservoir on the back, not the pump and gravity feed system he’s done. So there’s another idea from the movie.

    Of course, there’s always the part about the family unit and how much it is stressed in the movie. My siblings and I are scattered all over the place, had we grown up on a farm I’d like to think we’d be much closer now.

  5. Michael Janzen says:

    Thanks Rickles. I will be trying to focus in on alternative systems like that more and more. The one Roscoe had setup is very interesting.

    As far as the move back to the land piece… there sure seem to be a lot of us working toward that. It doesn’t even have to be a ‘prep’ for the worst either. It just seems like a safer bet. What triggered it for me was the real estate market crash and realizing that any mortgaged home is a liability in the face of tings as simple as job loss.

    Downsizing, living with less, becoming more self-reliant can simply be a risk reducing move that puts our families in a better position to enjoy life. The side benefits of being prepared for the worst, sustainable, and making a lower environmental impact are nice too.

    In fact if more people choose to live frugally and without debt our civilization would be far more sustaining. Our GDP might suffer but who cares about that besides the billionaires? 🙂

  6. tetsu says:

    Hi everyone,
    I enjoy watch video. it is nice layout.
    it is strong framing structure too.
    I am planning to build contemporary small home here is New York.
    it is normal to build contemporary small home back in Japan.
    there are many people who want to live comfortable home. easy to use, very functional. that’s what we need here in US.
    Big home, big family, small home for single living or couple.
    if we can build only what we need to live, we can save our envermental. it is nice idea.

  7. Estela says:

    It is good idea to build what we only need to live. Sustainability is focus on our daily living. It is a useful way for us to be guided to what our future may bring still we can survive. nice nice idea

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