Category Archives: Tiny House on Wheels

Kasl Family on Tiny House Nation

tiny-house-tiny-homeby Terry Salmela

Compliments: Kanabec County Times

Imagine moving from a 1,900 square foot home in Shakopee to a 207 sq. ft. tiny house where you homeschool two children on your aunt and uncle’s farm in southern Kanabec County. Well, Ryan and Kim Kasl are doing just that in their tiny house that ended up being built and featured as an episode on the new FYI TV channel show called “Tiny House Nation.”

Kasl Tiny House featured on Tiny House Nation Terry SalmelaAccording to the TV show, tiny houses are a nationwide trend as a way for owners to achieve financial independence, a simpler life style or to just make an extreme downsize.

“A tiny house is a chance to live out our family values that we want our children to have and not just to teach and talk about them. It also helps us to achieve another family goal of being a close family,” Kim said.

“We want to put our resources into experiences rather than into stuff,” Ryan added.

Being closer as a family is just one of the reasons the Kasls were interested in a tiny house. They wanted to get out of debt by selling their existing house, paying off their mortgage and paying off college debt. So, as a family they decided to live a simpler life style by downsizing.

The Kasls grew up in Cambridge, got married and moved to Shakopee where Ryan is a special education teacher. Ryan is now completing his second master’s degree in special education administration at the University of Minnesota. He anticipates that in the future he will have to move to different communities to set up special education programs. So, he would like to take his family and home along and not have to sell and buy houses.

Kim Sully Story and Ryan Kasls on tiny house porch Tiny House NationThey began exploring tiny houses by attending a couple of tiny house group meetings in Minneapolis. It was there that they learned that the Tiny House Nation TV reality show was looking for families to film for the show. Their dream became a reality after they applied for and were chosen for one of eight show episodes.

“We went through two huge experiences at once,” said Ryan. “One was to build the house and the other was going through the TV production process. It was fun filming for several full days for a month. It worked out great since I had time while taking a graduate course this summer. The kids really liked having a microphone on them.”

Kim added, “We were supposed to show doubt when filmed, but that was hard to do because we were so grateful and happy.” While filming, the TV crew stayed in Mora.

One of the greatest challenges was to help their children (Sully age 6 and Story age 4) to pare down their toys and get comfortable about moving into a smaller home. The TV production crew did a great job of making the move fun and special for the children. The crew inserted a round window in the loft between the children’s beds, built a kiddie catwalk with a full railing, added books and a place for their dog. They brought the children to see the house in progress several times so that they understood what was going on and in an effort to increase their enthusiasm for the neat things that they would have in the tiny house.

Another challenge for the show hosts Zach Giffin and John Weisbarth was to deliver a home that would withstand harsh Minnesota winters. It was built using a Tumbleweed blueprint that they greatly modified for a $30,000 budget. The New York production company obtained the building materials from Oslin Lumber Company in Mora.

The house was built for them by their uncle Patrick Mattson from Stanchfield along with help from his Nicholas Construction Company crew and the TV production company.

On the TV show Pat said that he wanted to do the best that he could because he wanted the best for his niece. “I think it’s neat, something different,” he said.

The house was built on wheels so that when Ryan moves for his job they can take their home with them. It is now located on a farm owned by Kim’s aunt and uncle, Ron and Julie Johnson, between Brunswick and Braham. The next location for the Kasl’s tiny house will be at an R.V. park in Shakopee.

Source: Kanabec County Times

Couple Takes Tiny House On the Road

tiny-house-tiny-homeBy Amelia Robinson

Compliments: Dayton Daily News

Former Centerville resident Jenna Spesard, her boyfriend Guillaume Dutilh and their 1-year-old Australian Shepherd Salies have taken their house on the road.

Yeah, you read correctly.

The couple of two years set off last week in their newly finished, 132-square-foot Tumblewood Cypress home from Shelbyville, Ill., where Spesard’s parents Alan and Rebecca Spesard live.

Jenna-Spesard-Guillame-tiny-house-Nick-Graham-Dayton-Daily-News

At the start of an across the nation road trip, the pair swung by the Cox Media Group Ohio building and showed off the biggest and tiniest example of their new minimalist lifestyle. It took them a year to custom-build the home.

The stop was a homecoming of sorts for Spesard.

The 28-year-old spent her kindergarten to eighth-grade years in Centerville after her family moved here for her father’s job at Mound Industries. She still has friends in the area. Dutilh is originally from Pau in the South of France. He has lived in the U.S. about seven years.

Spesard and Dutilh are hauling their cozy home with a pickup at a maximum of 50 miles per hour.

They will travel the nation and Canada indefinitely, making upcoming stops in Boston; New York; and Montreal, Quebec, and Halifax, Nova Scotia in Canada.

Jenna-Spesard-Guillaume-Dutilh-Tiny-House-Photo-Nick-Graham

The couple say a growing number of people are rejecting large homes and joining the tiny house movement.

“What we want to do is travel and live debt free,” Spesard said. She noted that many people who live in so-called tiny homes live in one place.

The average size of a new single-family house in the nation was 2,392 square feet in 2010, according to the United States Census.

Some tiny house are as small as 80 square feet.

Tiny homes are gaining attention. The new FYI network show Tiny House Nation features small houses and other living spaces.

Dutilh said he and Spesard are going against the grain of a society that pushes student loans and car loans.

“Our idea was to have a more free lifestyle and not be tied down,” the 30-year-old said.

He and Spesard said they were fed up with the cubical life.

The pair abandoned their 2,000 square feet apartments and jobs in Los Angeles.

She worked as an executive assistant at Dream Works Studio. He was was an engineer at Yamaha Motor Corporation.

“We want to live our dream lives,” Jenna Spesard said. “Why not take a risk and create a project around it.”

They spent $25,000 to $30,000 on their home, which they consider a drop in the buck compared to their rent in LA.

“You can make them cheaper,” Dutilh said.

Spesard said she and Dutilh wanted something more homey than a RV.

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Tiny house hero Dee Williams on her book tour

tiny-house-tiny-homeBy Janet Eastman

Compliments: The Oregonian

Tiny house hero Dee Williams will talk about the benefits of living simply in a small, efficient space and read from her popular book, “The Big Tiny: A Built-It-Myself Memoir,” on Saturday, Sept. 6 at Vintage Books in Vancouver, Wash.

This stop – which includes a walk inside her 84-square-foot house on wheels – is one of many she has made crisscrossing the country on a book tour intertwined with her ongoing efforts to educate about building, living and enjoying tiny houses.

Tiny-house-hero-Dee-Williams-on-her-book-tour

The self-taught carpenter and founder of the respected resource center, Portland Alternative Dwellings, has lived in her solar-powered home for more than a decade. She cooks using a single propane burner and sleeps in a loft with a small window.

“The house looked gorgeous: just like an ad for pancake syrup or a painting called A Simpler Time,” she writes in her inspiring, funny memoir that resonates with anyone on a quest to downsize, de-stress, let go or feel at home.

People interested in green design and plans for an legal accessory dwelling unit can explore Williams’ tiny house, from 2 p.m.-3 p.m. Saturday in the parking lot of Vintage Books, 6613 E. Mill Plain Blvd. She will read from her book and answer questions from 3 p.m.-4:30 p.m. inside the bookstore.

The event is sponsored by Vintage Books and Clark County Environmental Services’ Green Neighbors program.

Dee-Williams-Tiny-House

Williams has been interviewed by networks and newspaper reporters and has addressed TED Conference audiences, telling her powerful story about selling her high-maintenance Craftsman house in Southeast Portland and gifting away most of her possessions after she was diagnosed with congestive heart failure.

We caught up with her days before she is to tug her tiny house to Vancouver.

Q: You’ve been on the road telling your story and reading from your book since April. What has been the biggest adjustment being on the book tour circuit?

Dee Williams: I think the largest adjustment has been traveling so much. I’m a homebody – a real “stick in the mud” is what my 20-something-year-old niece would say. But I’m perfectly happy to putter around in my garden, to scavenge wood out of the rubble pile down the street or to play firefighter in the backyard with the four-year-old boy who lives next door. I like being home and the book tour is a bit of a distraction from that normal, mundane, simple life.

The other adjustment occurred by seeing that the small house movement isn’t just people who want to build a tiny house (or already have), or people who like cute tiny houses; it’s not that simple. Instead, the tiny house movement seems to be a tapestry of openhearted people who are interested in community building; they’re interested in living more simply on the earth, investing in their neighbors (both human and natural); they’re rabble-rousers and non-conformists, and some of the most compassionate, inclusive thinkers that I’ve met in a long time. It was invigorating and humbling to meet so many awesome people.

The-Tiny-House-that-Dee-Williams-built

Q. What is the most common question you are asked and how do you answer it?

DW: “Is that legal?” has probably been the most common question. And I usually answer it by saying something like… “ah dang it, not that question!” And then I’ll wax on about how much I like rules; that I’m an enforcement officer with the State, and I once cried at a stoplight because the idea of civil law is so beautiful to me – the way we all learn how to stop on red and go on green, and thereby save ourselves from having to tow our cars away in a heap.

So, I’ll explain who I am and then launch into how most municipalities apply travel trailer restrictions to wheeled tiny houses. They might restrict where you can park (not on the front lawn, in front of a school, too close to the neighbor’s house, etc.) and how long you can recreate inside the unit. If you’re living in the space for longer than 30 days or six months, you might be asked to move along.

I’d also throw in that there are a lot of cities that are looking for ways to redefine codes to allow for longer stays in tiny houses on wheels. They’re looking at ways to create better urban infill, and to create more affordable, sustainable, safe housing and little houses are a part of that discussion.

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Tiny House Trend Hits the Scenic City

tiny-house-tiny-homeWind River Custom Homes provides small, mobile homes

By Chloé Morrison

Compliments: Nooga

Chattanooga carpenter and budding entrepreneur Travis Pyke is building a business around the idea that the American dream of homeownership doesn’t have to come with a lengthy, expensive mortgage.

“It really does make life simpler when you don’t have so many bills to pay,” he said.

Pyke and his wife, Brittany, live in a 200-square-foot home that Travis built. They spend $35 a month on water and power costs.

Tiny-House-Wind-River-Custom-Homes-Travis-Pyke

Their tiny home sits on an 18-by-8-foot trailer, so it’s mobile. It cost about $14,000 to build.

The Pykes and their business partner, Jeremy Weaver, are joining the tiny home trend with their business Wind River Custom Homes.

“I heard about [the trend] about three years ago,” Travis said. “My wife and I live here … [and] we both didn’t want to have a mortgage.”

Tiny House by Wind River Custom Homes cozy interiorThe tiny home trend has been growing in popularity over the last decade, according to a Country Living article that recently featured Wind River Custom Homes.

The movement is also making news because leaders in Portland, Oregon, are considering building tiny houses for homeless and low-income citizens. Closer to home, the trend has begun in Rhea County.

The benefits

Travis built his home for $14,000 because he got good deals on supplies, he said. For example, he purchased reclaimed wood for 75 percent off, and he bought a relatively inexpensive used trailer, which acts as the home’s foundation.

Without those deals, Travis estimates that other homes will cost between $15,000 and $18,000 to build. Add in labor costs, and customers could get a dream tiny home for between $30,000 and $40,000.

“You could pay for one of these in rent in about three years, depending on how much you pay for rent,” Travis said.

In addition to the low cost, there are other benefits of living in small spaces, Travis said.

For the Pykes, living in the smaller space means they spend more time outside in their garden. And Travis said a deep clean of the entire house only takes about 30 minutes.

The mobile homes can also make travel easier, he said.

They can be hooked up at campgrounds the same way RVs can, and, in many places, they can be parked on private property without special permits—although the rules vary depending on the area, he also said.

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